Justine Belton succeeds Robert Overend in EY's UK leadership

26 June 2019 Consultancy.uk 2 min. read
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Following sustained efforts to improve its gender gap, EY has boosted the proportion of women on its UK board to 60%. Justine Belton, who has been with the firm for close to three decades, will join the board as of July 1, 2019.

Since the initial release of EY’s gender and ethnicity pay gap data in late 2017, the firm has been making a concerted effort to improve its diversity and representation. EY had largely attributed its gender pay gap to the higher number of men at senior levels and fewer in less senior positions, and at the time, 40% of its UK board were women and 6% were BME. EY’s partnership in the UK meanwhile stood at currently 20% women, and 9% BME.

EY quickly established parity on its board. By September 2018, the appointment of long-serving EY members Christabel Cowling and Sue Dawe took the gender balance to 50:50, and now EY has gone one better with the announcement that Justine Belton will also join the board from the start of July, taking the total number of women on EY UK’s board to six out of 10 members. In her board capacity, she will work with board member Hywel Ball, who is UK managing partner of assurance and UK head of audit.

Justine Belton, EY UK Partner & Board Member

Belton, who will replace Robert Overend on EY’s board, will also take on the role as Professional Practice Director and UK Audit Compliance Principal for EY. She has been with the firm for more than 27 years, having joined in 1991. By 2002 Belton had become a Partner, and has since built extensive experience in the oil and gas sector as Audit Engagement Partner across a range of companies. She is also a chartered accountant and sits on the audit and assurance faculty committee and the practice committee at ICAEW. Belton has a degree in Economics from Newnham College, Cambridge.

Commenting on the appointment, EY UK Chair Steve Varley said that it comes “at a significant time for the profession”, adding Belton would "bring the challenge and insight needed to further strengthen our UK leadership, governance and how we run our business.”

Over the last 20 years, the consulting industry has hired women at the third fastest rate in the UK economy. While its female headcount has improved by more than 190% in that time, however, the industry has seen its gender balance become 5% less equal, meaning that proportionally fewer women have found themselves in leadership positions in the industry.