Hanneke Smits named Global Chair of 30% Club

February 9, 2023
by

The 30% Club is delighted to announce the appointment of Hanneke Smits, CEO of BNY Mellon Investment Management, as its fourth Global Chair, succeeding Ann Cairns.

Throughout her career, Hanneke has been a long-time champion of improving gender diversity in the workplace. In 2015, she co-founded Level 20, a not-for-profit organisation established to inspire women to succeed in the private equity industry. Hanneke also serves as Chair of Impetus, a venture philanthropy organisation that backs charities to transform the lives of disadvantaged young people.

At BNY Mellon, Hanneke is the Executive Sponsor of PRISM, the company’s LGBTQ+ employee group, and CEO of BNY Mellon Investment Management since October 2020, one of the largest asset managers in the world with $1.8 trillion in assets under management. Hanneke has championed numerous initiatives such as Newton Investment Management’s (Newton) work with the Diversity Project to ensure that returning female portfolio managers were able to maintain their investment track record, BNY Mellon’s partnership with Inspiring Girls through The Pathway to Inclusive Investment research in 2022, and being an early supporter of the UK’s #10000BlackInterns programme.

Hanneke succeeds Ann Cairns as global chair of the 30% Club. Ann, who retired as Executive Vice Chair of Mastercard at the end of 2022, joined the campaign in 2019 as Co-Chair, working with the late Brenda Trenowden before becoming sole global Chair in 2020.

Commenting, Hanneke Smits, CEO of BNY Mellon Investment Management, said: “It is an honour to succeed Ann Cairns as Global Chair of the 30% Club and to continue its mission of increasing the number of women at board and senior management levels. The role of the 30% Club is as vital now as it was at launch in 2010. Even today, the baseline target of reaching 30% women – either at board or senior management level – remains a stretch for many organisations throughout the world. Reaching the campaign’s ultimate goal of gender parity will take significant effort and investment. I look forward to continuing to grow the 30% Club internationally and tackle a wider range of diversity challenges, inside and outside the boardroom.”

Under the leadership of Ann, the 30% Club formed new chapters in Mexico, Colombia and Chile and welcomed Poland, Ecuador and an investor group in France to the campaign. Her involvement with UN Women’s Outstanding Women’s Leaders Group saw the 30% Club, Melinda French-Gates and the UN Foundation convene what is presumed to be the world’s biggest meeting of CEOs and company chairs to discuss gender equality in May 2021.

Cairns also broadened the UK chapter’s target to focus on racial equality, which included the launch of the Mission INCLUDE strand of the 30% Club’s world-leading and cross-company mentoring programme enabling individuals from all underrepresented groups to participate. She also launched the Leaders for Race Equity CEO development programme last year in partnership with Change the Race Ratio and Moving Ahead.

Ann Cairns, outgoing Global Chair of the 30% Club, added:“On behalf of the members of the 30% Club, we are proud to welcome Hanneke as our new Global Chair. It will be invaluable to have a respected leader of Hanneke’s experience and calibre join the global campaign at a time when many companies are still struggling to achieve diversity at board and executive levels. In the UK, for instance, we may have reached 40% women on the boards of the FTSE 100, but the majority remain in non-executive roles; there are just 25% women at executive committee level and just 8 female CEOs. Women of colour remain under-represented at every managerial and leadership level. We must continue to keep diversity and inclusion high on the agenda.”

This is the second time an individual from within BNY Mellon Investment Management has taken a leadership role within the 30% Club. The campaign was launched in 2010 by Dame Helena Morrissey, who was the then CEO of Newton, one of BNY Mellon Investment Management’s investment firms.

Newton and BNY Mellon Investment Management were early supporters of the campaign’s goals and helped encourage many chairs of Britain’s biggest companies to commit to the initial target of 30% women on their boards. This target was reached across the FTSE 100 in September 2019 and there are now 40% women on boards.

The 30% Club would like to thank UK steering committee member Karin Barnick, a partner at executive search and leadership advisory firm Korn Ferry in London, who led the search for the new global chair on a pro bono basis.

About 30% Club

The 30% Club is a global campaign led by Chairs and CEOs taking action to increase gender diversity at board and senior management levels of the world’s biggest companies. We set targets of a minimum of 30% female representation at the board and executive committee levels. This is the critical mass at which research shows minority voices are heard. However, the goal is parity.

The campaign’s international footprint unites more than 20 countries around the world, from Australia and Japan to Mexico, the US and Canada. We support diversity in its very broadest sense and while gender has been our starting point, we fully realise that considerations of ethnicity, disability, sexual orientation, socioeconomic background and beyond are all part of the journey – and that gender identities are themselves evolving rapidly. We believe that only those organisations that foster truly inclusive cultures – cultures that embrace women who look, act and, importantly, THINK differently – can reach their full potential to positively impact their people, their markets and their communities.

30% Club Global Target:

  • Beyond 30% women on boards of a nominated stock exchange

30% Club UK Chapter’s Targets:

  • Beyond 30% representation of women on all FTSE 350 boards, to include one person of colour. We support the Parker Review goals for at least one person of colour on every FTSE 350 board – in addition, we advocate for gender balance with half these seats going to women, creating 175 board seats for women of colour.
  • Beyond 30% representation of women on all FTSE 350 Executive Committees, to include one person of colour. We advocate for gender balance with half these seats going to women of colour creating 175 executive committee roles for women of colour.
  • Beyond 30% of all new FTSE 350 Chair appointments to go to women between now and the end of 2023.

About BNY Mellon Investment Management

BNY Mellon Investment Management is one of the world’s largest asset managers, with $1.8 trillion in assets under management as of December 31, 2022. Through an investor-first approach, BNY Mellon Investment Management brings to clients the best of both worlds: specialist expertise from seven investment firms offering solutions across every major asset class, backed by the strength, stability, and global presence of BNY Mellon. Additional information on BNY Mellon Investment Management is available on www.bnymellonim.com.

BNY Mellon Investment Management is a division of BNY Mellon, a global investments company dedicated to helping its clients manage and service their financial assets throughout the investment lifecycle. Whether providing financial services for institutions, corporations or individual investors, BNY Mellon delivers informed investment and wealth management and investment services in 35 countries. As of December 31, 2022, BNY Mellon had $44.3 trillion in assets under custody and/or administration, and $1.8 trillion in assets under management. BNY Mellon can act as a single point of contact for clients looking to create, trade, hold, manage, service, distribute or restructure investments. BNY Mellon is the corporate brand of The Bank of New York Mellon Corporation (NYSE: BK). Additional information is available on www.bnymellon.com. Follow us on Twitter @BNYMellon or visit our newsroom at www.bnymellon.com/newsroom for the latest company news.

Unless otherwise specified herein, all information sourced by BNY Mellon as of 7 February 2023. This press release is qualified for issuance in UK, Europe and Switzerland and is for information purposes only. It does not constitute an offer or solicitation of securities or investment services or an endorsement thereof in any jurisdiction or in any circumstance in which such offer or solicitation is unlawful or not authorised. Any views and opinions contained in this document are those of the manager, unless otherwise noted. Investment Managers are appointed by BNY Mellon Investment Management EMEA Limited (BNYMIM EMEA), BNY Mellon Fund Managers Limited (BNYMFM), BNY Mellon Fund Management (Luxembourg) S.A. (BNY MFML) or affiliated fund operating companies to undertake portfolio management activities in relation to contracts for products and services entered into by clients with BNYMIM EMEA, BNYMFM, BNY MFML or the BNY Mellon funds.

In the UK, this press release is issued by BNY Mellon Investment Management EMEA Limited (BNYMIM EMEA) to members of the financial press and media and the information contained herein should not be construed as investment advice. Registered office of BNYMIM EMEA: BNY Mellon Centre, 160 Queen Victoria Street, London, EC4V 4LA. Registered in England no. 1118580. Authorized and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority. A BNY Mellon Company.

In Europe (ex-Switzerland) this press release is issued by BNY Mellon Fund Management (Luxembourg) S.A. (BNY MFML) to members of the financial press and media and the information contained herein should not be construed as investment advice. BNY MFML is a public limited company (société anonyme) incorporated and existing under Luxembourg law under registration number B28166 and having its registered address at 2-4 Rue Eugène Ruppert L-2453 Luxembourg. Regulated by the Commission de Surveillance du Secteur Financier (CSSF). A BNY Mellon Company.

In Switzerland this press release is issued by BNY Mellon Investments Switzerland GmbH to members of the financial press and media and the information contained herein should not be construed as investment advice. BNY Mellon Investments Switzerland GmbH, Bärengasse 29, CH-8001 Zürich, Switzerland.

This press release is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute an offer or solicitation of securities or investment services or an endorsement thereof in any jurisdiction or in any circumstance in which such offer or solicitation is unlawful or not authorized. This press release is issued by BNY Mellon Investment Management to members of the financial press and media and the information contained herein should not be construed as investment advice. Unless otherwise specified herein, all information sourced by BNY Mellon as of 25/01//2023.

Hanneke Smits

Hanneke Smits is CEO of BNY Mellon Investment Management and a member of BNY Mellon’s Executive Committee.

With over 30 years of investment experience, Hanneke was previously CEO of Newton Investment Management, a BNY Mellon Investment Management firm, from 2016 to 2020. Prior to Newton, she served on the Executive Committee at private equity firm Adams Street Partners from 2001 to 2014, having been Chief Investment Officer from 2008 to 2014. She joined Adams Street in 1997 to build out its global investment capabilities, and successfully launched its presence in Europe and Asia. Before joining Adams Street, she was an investment manager at Pantheon Ventures, and worked for Philips China Hong Kong Group.

Hanneke is the Executive Sponsor for PRISM, BNY Mellon’s LGBTQ+ Employee Resource Group, and serves as Chair of Impetus, a venture philanthropy organization which backs charities to transform the lives of disadvantaged young people. As part of her role with Impetus, she is Trustee of the Education Endowment Foundation (EEF), founded in 2011 by The Sutton Trust in partnership with Impetus. Hanneke was also a Non-Executive Director to the Court of the Bank of England, and a co-founder and first Chair of Level 20, a not-for-profit organization set up in 2015 to inspire women to join and succeed in the private equity industry.

Originally from the Netherlands, Hanneke has a BBA from Nijenrode University and an MBA from the London Business School.

Ann Cairns

Ann is the lead Non-Executive Director at the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS), the chair of the Financial Alliance for Women and a member of the UK government’s AI Council. Until recently she served as chair of ICE Clear Europe, owned by the Fortune 500 company Intercontinental Exchange (ICE) and as executive vice chair of Mastercard, where she represented the company around the world, focusing on inclusion, diversity and innovation. Prior to that appointment, Ann was President of International Markets responsible for the management of all Mastercard customer-related activities in over 200 countries.

Ann has more than 20 years’ experience working in senior management positions across Europe and the U.S. Prior to joining Mastercard in 2011, Ann took Lehman Brothers through the bankruptcy process while head of the Financial Services Group at Alvarez & Marsal. She was also CEO of Transaction Banking at ABN-AMRO and held senior positions at Citigroup. She has a Pure Mathematics degree and honorary doctorate from Sheffield University and a M.Sc. with research into medical statistics and honorary doctorate from Newcastle University.

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