In praise of political correctness. Ivan Glasenberg’s Glencore mining company today announced it has finally appointed a woman, Patrice Merrin, to its Board of Directors and independent Non-Executive Director of the company. As the only member company of the FTSE top 100 companies which had yet to do so, the news probably resonates in a wider frequency range than really it should.
Yes this is something long overdue, and today’s initial press reactions accordingly seems to be very favorable, but perhaps we should focus more on Ms. Merrin’s own qualifications, which are pretty impressive, than just on her gender.
The Glencore announcement states that, following initial roles with top Canadian companies Molson and Canadian Pacific, she worked at Sherritt, the Canadian diversified miner, for 10 years until 2004, latterly as Chief Operating Officer.
Subsequently Patrice Merrin became CEO of Luscar, Canada’s largest thermal coal producer. She is currently a non-executive director of Stillwater Mining. She was elected as a Director of Stillwater after being proposed by activist investors in a proxy contest, and has been proposed for other mining company boards by activist groups as well.
Tony Hayward, Chairman of Glencore, commented with the news of the appointment, “On behalf of the Board I am delighted to announce the appointment of Patrice Merrin. Patrice’s in depth experience of operating across the resources sector will help strengthen the Board’s ability to work with the opportunities and challenges presented by the global extractive industry. Her record of non-executive director appointments, activist involvement and industry advisory board service is also an excellent complementary skill set to our Board.”British Government Cabinet Minister, and Secretary of State for Business, Vince Cable, also got into the act saying the announcement is “a historic day for the FTSE”, adding, ”Businesses with diversity at their top are more successful.”