Women on boards
Female directors hold 26.9% of seats across the boards of
SMI companies. In 2020, Switzerland’s National Council approved an amendment to
board gender targets (30% women) and executive committees (20% women) for
publicly listed companies with more than 250 employees. As we approach the
target being met, we are seeing a flattening of the trend towards rising female
representation across both board and executive committee appointments.
Female representation (2015–2021)
Fewer than half (42%) of the companies in the sample have
reached the target for female representation in the boardroom, but all of them
have at least one female director. GAM Holdings is the only company where
female directors outnumber their male counterparts, although both chair and vice-chair
positions are occupied by men.
Only three companies—Swiss Prime Site, Lonza Group, and
Zurich Insurance Group—have met both board and executive committee targets.
We define foreign directors as having a nationality that
differs from that of the company. On this basis, boards in Switzerland remain
highly diverse — 57.9% of directors are non-nationals. This figure is even
higher if one looks only at the SMI 20, where it reaches 59%, consistent with
the past four years. The Swatch Group remains the only board to have no foreign
When looking at chairs, foreign chairs represent 33.3% of
the SMI and are up to 40% in the SMI Mid. The same trend can be observed among
the CEO role in the SMI, where 55.6% of CEOs are foreign. The proportion is
even higher in the SMI Mid, at 64%.
Nationality of board directors in the SMI