DUESSELDORF, Germany, (Reuters) — German retailer Metro set a target on Friday of increasing the number of women in its top management roles to 25 percent by 2017 from a current 18.5 percent.
Metro, Europe’s fourth-biggest retailer which runs 2,200 stores in 30 countries, said the target would apply to the top three tiers at the company. That includes the management board, currently made up of four men.
The move comes after Chancellor Angela Merkel’s governing coalition agreed a draft law last November requiring Germany’s top listed companies to give women 30 percent of seats on non-executive boards from 2016, despite conservative misgivings and opposition from business.
Metro said it would reach that target for its supervisory board after the company’s annual meeting next year.
“A diverse composition of personnel is decisive for the success of our company,” Heiko Hutmacher, Metro’s human resources boss, said in a statement issued as the company held its latest annual meeting.
There are currently five women on the 20-seat supervisory board, including former Sainsbury’s manager Gwyn Burr who was due to be approved by the AGM on Friday to replace Lucy Neville-Rolfe.
Women occupy only 7 percent of executive board seats among the 30 largest companies on Germany’s blue-chip DAX index. They occupy barely 25 percent of non-executive board seats, according to the DIW economic think-tank although that is above the 20 percent European average for women, according to EU data.