Gender Diversity, More Women Please

Nonso Okpala
2 min readOct 30, 2023

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Our board appointed Nneka Okekearu and Rashida Saleh to the Board of Directors last week. In addition to Lola Bolusire, another female director who was appointed a few months ago. We currently have three female directors, with one more on the way as an Executive Director for Treasury and Business Development. Despite these advances, it is clear that a significant amount of work has to be done in the pursuit of gender diversity in our corporate leadership.

The following observations are a distilled considerations on our current situation:

1. Two of the early 35 visionaries that contributed to the formation of VFD Group were women. Notably, one of these individuals emerged as a prominent early investor, with a substantial 5% share in the company though this has been significantly reduced to less than 0.2% due to divestments.

2. Regrettably, we are yet to recruit noteworthy female investors since our company’s inception. This is significant because individuals or groups of shareholders owning 10% or more of our outstanding shares have the right to nominate Non-Executive Directors (NEDs). As a result, the absence of female investors with such clout is a noticeable gap.

3. Although we have been fortunate to hire competent female senior executives, the post of Executive Director has so far eluded women in our organization.

4. To resolve this disparity, we hired a consultant who conducted a thorough review because we understand a thorough assessment of our business culture is critical to address this issue. We are currently working with outside experts to investigate the strategies and activities required to drive senior executives into executive directorship posts.

5. As the CEO, I must bear responsibility here. It is my responsibility to guarantee that more talented women are given the opportunity to engage at the highest levels of leadership.

We are acutely aware of the transforming impact of female participation in decision-making processes, and it is critical to foster a varied array of decision-makers who mirror our own society. VFD is steadfast in our resolve to examine our blind spots and accept responsibility for improving the issue.

In the future, we intend to take a more deliberate and methodical approach to nominating women to corporate boards, informed by a better understanding of the unique obstacles they face. We are steadfastly committed to the promotion and empowerment of women in corporate leadership; we recognize the critical role women play in transforming the face of corporate governance while moving our companies forward.

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Nonso Okpala

A visionary and serial investor. Managing Director/CEO of VFD Group Ltd and Father-In-Chief.