• Interview with Andrea Abt (Independent Non-Executive Director/Supervisory Board Member)

    LEAD Conference 2016

    Boot Camp Session for Senior Executives on How to Prepare for Seat on a Corporate Board

    More and more often, corporate boards are looking for the benefits that diversity and women can bring to the table. However, landing a seat on a corporate board isn't as simple as you may think. Openings are not posted like jobs and most appointments come through networking and building a reputation over years. If you’re interested to one day sit on a board, you need to start planning early and preparing the terrain. Join this session to hear the experiences and advice of Andrea Abt who is an independent non-executive director on several board. What is her story and how did she get to where she is today?

    Can you tell us a bit about your background and your role?

    A German national living in Munich, I currently serve on two UK boards and on the board of one Jersey-based company as non-executive director. In addition, I am a member of the supervisory board of Duesseldorf-based Gerresheimer AG, a constituent of the German MDAX. The companies' revenues range from 900 GBP up to almost 8 billion USD, they are active in the pharma and healthcare sectors, as distributors for maintenance and building materials as well as in the oil and gas service business.

    The foundations for these mandates were built in a 30 years executive career in the Daimler Benz and Siemens group of companies and in varying international and national functions in sales, finance, productivity and supply chain management. When the sector Infrastructure and Cities of Siemens AG was dissolved in 2014, and with it my role as Head of Supply Chain Management with responsibility for 9 billion purchasing volume and 2,000 employees worldwide, I left Siemens in order to focus on non-executive directorships. I have a degree in philology from the University of Bonn and obtained an MBA from Rotman School of Management at the University of Toronto. I am married and live with my husband in Munich and the German Allgaeu region. When I do not work, I spend my time reading or gliding.

    Why is diversity important for you?

    Diversity of background, opinion and thought has always been important to me. I my executive role, I took care that our regions were equally represented, and that we had a balance of different decision making styles. Decisions are inevitably better when a problem is discussed from different views and people affected are heard.

    How important is diversity within your organization?

    I do not think innovation is key to success when it comes to diversity management. All that needs to be said and written has been said and written. Managing diversity has to do about determination, consistency and implementation. Having said this, I try to make sure that the boards I sit on treat diverse candidates equally and that unconscious bias becomes visible.

    Tell us about something innovative you've done recently related to diversity?

    For all that I said above, it is clear that diversity is important for every organisation. It is up to us to bring the topic to the table and drive it top down.

    Executives on "How to Prepare for Seat on a Corporate Board"

    I will tell you how, why and where I obtained my board seats, what I had and still have to do to get there and about some of the differences between the German and the UK system.

    September, 2016