Deutsche Bank Takes the Lead in Gender Diversity Here

GREAT BALANCE Bank now has 6 women leaders in executive committee against just one female exec in top management 3 years ago

Three years ago, Deutsche Bank India CEO Ravneet Gill faced the diversity challenge that haunts most Indian companies. About 48% of Deutsche Bank’s global 107,000 strong workforce were female, but there was only one woman in the India executive committee, the top decision making body in the bank.

Since then, Gill has managed to do what hardly any Indian company has done. Get five more topnotch women leaders onto the executive committee, raising top management diversity to 40% women.

Other banks, even those led by Chanda Kochhar and Shikha Sharma, lag behind in this. At Axis Bank for example, Sharma is the only woman on the executive committee. Similarly, Kochhar is the only woman on the ICICI Bank board.

“This is a rare feat by any organisation in any industry. This would be the best ratio anywhere…doubt you would find this in any other bank,“ said Naina Lal Kidwai, executive director on board of HSBC Asia-Pacific and chairman of HSBC India.

The six women at the top at Deutsche Bank are Sandhya Vasudevan, COO; Anjali Mohanty, head of global transaction business, Radha Dhir, head of corporate banking, Anjaallee Paatil, head legal, Radhika Kamat, head taxation and Madhavi Lall, head, human resources.

“A lot of this was driven not because it is globally fashionable, but out of enlightened self-interest,“ says CEO Gill. “Study after study shows that organisations that have a good gender mix in senior management tend to be much more efficient, cohesive and productive.“ In India, 33% of the bank’s 11,000 workforce is women.

“There is also a co-relation between diversity at the top and value creation. Also, women generally are believed to be better team players, can be more empathetic to employees and large customer base is women,“ says Kidwai. She recently put together a narrative of 30 of India’s greatest women achievers in a book “30 Women in Power“.

Every time Deutsche Bank does a recruitment, it ensures there are enough women on the slate, whether internal or external.During promotion processes, leaders aggressively ask why there are not enough women on the slate to ensure that no unconscious bias creeps in. “We are very strongly driven by meritocracy but we try to make sure that barriers are eliminated,“ said Sandhya Vasudevan, COO at Deutsche Bank.

The bank wants more women in the trading room, technology, and several other roles, generally dominated by men.

“For us gender diversity is a business led initiative and not an HR led practice,“ said Anjali Mohanty , who runs one of the largest businesses global transaction banking. She was the first woman on the executive committee, when she joined the bank four years back.

Anjallee Paatil, who heads of the legal team at Deutsche Bank, is the latest entrant into apex club of the bank. Paatil, who joined as a vice president legal, was recently elevated to head the bank’s legal function and inducted into the executive committee 10 days ago.

“If I did not have the requisite support from seniors and colleagues, I would possibly have been happy doing a desk job 9am-5pm,“ said Paatil.

Radha Dhir, who runs the corporate banking coverage for the bank, joined in 1995 as management trainee from IIM Bangalore campus and became the first woman managing director of the bank in 2008. She joined the executive committee a year ago. “The culture that the bank promotes is collaborative, inclusive and diverse and that has had multiple benefits,“ said Dhir. At one point of time, she was the only woman n the dealing room.

Radhika Kamat, head of tax, and a part of the EXCO, said it is the lexible work culture, consistent enrichment and recognition that has kept her engaged with the bank for 17 years.

The practice of mentoring has helped the bank. It identifies women going down to the vice president level and works with hem with the objective of coach ng and mentoring to build the eadership pipeline. Senior leaders, including members of the executive committee, mentor some of these people.

Other initiatives to remove gender barriers include building sen sitivity through training and also unconscious bias training for managers to avoid gender stereotyping and a sponsorship programme for women leaders.


Choose Women on Merit

We welcome more women in top positions at the bank. Unlike in the West, where women are seriously under-represented in banks, in India they have broken the glass ceiling in the financial services sector. Diversity improves the quality of decisionmaking. Many countries in Europe have quota laws due the lack of progress in achieving gender diversity through other means. But that’s patronising. Be it inside corporate boards or other professions, women should be chosen on merit and performance, not on their gender. First, Indian society needs to value and respect its women more.

Source : Economic Times

Date : 08-08-2015


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