OUTstanding in Business, a UK-based non-profit networking group that campaigns for LGBT rights in the workplace, has released its ‘Top 100 most influential LGBT executives’ ranking in the Financial Times. The list is topped by Christopher Bailey, Chief Executive of luxury retailer Burberry, and contains 12 professionals active in the professional services industry.
Over the past years focus on workplace diversity has become increasingly important. To recognise leaders that have had a large impact on progressing a LGBT workplace, both within their own organisation and in the broader UK business community, non-profit OUTstanding in Business last year launched the ‘Top 100 most influential LGBT executives’ ranking. The list ranks executives and senior managers, across a wide range of industries, based on the influence and impact they have had on welcoming LGBT individuals, as well as looking at their recent significant achievements.
Christopher Bailey, who earlier this year was appointed Chief Executive of Burberry, tops the list, according to OUTstanding in Business Suki Sandhu a testimony to his lifestyle. “He represents the ideal LGBT leader of the future: unselfconscious, successful and comfortable with his gay identity in public. He has not been held back by his sexuality nor has he been defined by it.” Antonio Simoes, Chief Executive UK of HSBC, ranks second and Beth Brooke-Marciniak, Global Vice Chair Public Policy at EY, completes the top 3.
In addition to the top 100, the researchers have also created a top 20 list of the most influential ‘allies’ – friends, colleagues and employers who make it their duty to create safe, inclusive workplaces. Richard Branson, founder of Virgin Group heads the list, while Steve Varley, Managing Partner of EY for UK & Ireland, stands at 13th spot. Sharon Thorne, who works for Deloitte, and Philip Clement, who works for Aon, also are included, at positions #14 and #15 respectively. Other big-names in the allies list include Facebook founder Marc Zuckerberg, Unilever CEO Paul Polman and Goldman Sachs Chairman.
Despite the progress booked over the past years, the researchers highlight that there still is a long way to go. “It is disappointing to see women filling only 24% of the list and Black, Minority Ethnic nominees wildly underrepresented,” says Sandhu, to add that the ranking ‘only’ has three transgender representatives (all of whom transitioned from male to female).