With a highly successful internal training program, Deutsche Telekom has created a pool of female candidates for supervisory board positions at its subsidiaries and affiliated companies in Germany and abroad.
Some 250 seats on the Group's internal supervisory board bodies come up regularly for appointment. Currently, only about 25 percent of the seats on those bodies are held by women.
For our company, this was reason enough to launch a special program, with the participation of all company units, to prepare women for supervisory board positions. Since the end of last year, a total of 29 senior female managers, including managers from Germany and throughout Europe, have participated in the new program and its three extensive modules. On July 1, in Berlin, 24 of those participants – five, for professional reasons, were unable to complete the third module, and to attend the "graduation" ceremony – received their certificates of completion from the European School of Management and Technology (ESMT), a renowned business school. The program, which is currently unparalleled in Germany, is the brainchild of Claudia Nemat, Management Board member with responsibility for the Board areas Europe and Technology. Nemat is also serving as the program's sponsor.
While the program prepares women for supervisory board roles, we should not only look at gender, as Nemat explains. "I'm convinced that we need leadership teams with a highly diverse range of backgrounds and experience, i.e. with many different specializations, nationalities and ages represented. The key to any good business decision is to look at it from different perspectives," Nemat explained.
"We're creating a Europe-wide talent pool for future supervisory board positions – to help us put more women on our internal supervisory boards, and to add more international expertise to those bodies," she added. She also noted that the requirements for supervisory board members have grown significantly over the past few years. For example, law and compliance issues have been playing an increasingly important role in such bodies' deliberations. Nemat also pointed out that international perspectives and structures are especially important for Deutsche Telekom's internal supervisory boards in light of the emerging pan-European high-speed network.
The program is the first of its kind for the ESMT, Deutsche Telekom's partner for the effort. The second round of the program, which will begin in the fall, will be open to both men and women. The five participants who were unable to be present on July 1 will complete their third module in the next round of the program.