Professional WomenThe European Parliament passed a resolution to adopt, with certain amendments, the Commission’s proposal for a directive on gender balance among non-executive directors (“NEDs”) of listed companies on 20 November 2013 (the “Resolution”). The Directive would not apply to small and medium-sized enterprises (“SMEs”).

The Resolution confirms the Article 4(1) obligation that listed companies, where the under-represented sex represents less than 40% of NED board positions, should make appointments on the basis of a comparative analysis of the qualifications of each candidate in order to obtain 40% representation by 1 January 2020 (or by 1 January 2018 for public undertakings). The Resolution obliges companies to give priority to a candidate of the under-represented sex if that candidate is equally qualified (subject to an objective assessment tilting the balance in favour of the other sex). If companies do not meet the objective by the target date, they must provide an explanation. Companies are also required to set a voluntary target for the number of executive directors.
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