The ASX 200 will soon have another female CEO, following Fortescue Metals Group’s announcement it has appointed Elizabeth Gaines to role.
Once the last of the ASX 50 companies to appoint a female board member, the company now has a female-dominated board.
And as of early next year, a female CEO.
Meanwhile, Julie Shuttleworth has been appointed deputy chief executive.
Elizabeth will replace Nev Power at the top of the mining giant. She’s the former head of Helloworld, who took the CFO role of Fortescue in February this year.
Fortescue’s major shareholder Andrew Forrest said in a statement that Elizabeth will lead a period of change for the organisation, including significantly improving the quality of its product, a shift in its marketing focus and possibly some diversification for the company.
“Be it for iron ore, or any other products required for such a rapidly changing global market place, Fortescue’s growth is being planned to meet it,” he said.
“I will be calling on Fortescue directors to step in, on an occasional and part-time capacity, to further drive this product diversification and asset development.”
Elizabeth said on her appointment: “Fortescue is a unique company and a feature of our success is the strong relationship between the Chairman and CEO. I embrace the culture and values that truly set this company apart and I look forward to working with Andrew, the Board and the newly appointed leadership team of talented individuals to continue to deliver success and value for our shareholders.”
Elizabeth had previously expressed concern to the AFR about the push for board diversity creating a “vacuum” of women for senior executive roles.
Elizabeth is currently one of only ten CFOs on the ASX 200.
Andrew Forrest recently spoke to Women’s Agenda about the company’s female dominated board. Asked his advice for other business leaders, he said: “You need to be really careful to choose on merit but don’t forget that diversity is an extremely strong factor in merit. If you have no women on your board and you are looking at a new director with approximately equal skills, for the sake of your shareholders choose diversity.”