Allyson Stewart-Allen announces support of WeQual Awards

Awards recognise women one level below the Executive Committee

Aimed at tackling slow progress in appointing women in FTSE 100 & 250

For Immediate Release - 20 May 2019, London

Allyson Stewart-Allen has announced her support of the WeQual Awards, aimed at women who are one step away from executive committee level – the ‘ExCo minus one’. The awards have been launched to recognise the contribution that women make at this level and highlight the talented women aspiring to become future executive committee members. The awards are the first of its kind to target women at this level across the entire FTSE 350.

Founded by Katie Litchfield, formerly of the Financial Times, and backed by [Dame Inga Beale, former CEO of Lloyds of London, Melanie Richards, Deputy Chair of KPMG and Ron Kalifa, Executive Board Director of Worldpay], the awards honour women who are on the cusp of leadership at a time when FTSE companies have yet to significantly increase representation of women on executive committees. The government-backed Hampton-Alexander Review revealed that despite growing calls for change, women still represent only 25% of the Combined Executive Committee and Direct Reports across the FTSE 250. A majority (60%) of new appointments to senior roles continues to be men.[1]

The WeQual Awards categories are mapped against nine roles on the Executive Committee, celebrating women working in Financial, Procurement, Digital, Operations, Diversity & Inclusion amongst others who are ordinarily hidden one level below the Executive Committee. Women are encouraged to self-nominate for the awards.

To remove any bias during the initial judging process, finalists will be selected through a blind assessment procedure developed by organisational psychologist, John Amaechi OBE, removing identification details from candidates.

Katie Litchfield, CEO and Founder of the WeQual Awards, commented: “Reaching 33% representation of women across Executive Committees and Direct Reports by 2020 is currently looking to be more of a dream than a reality, so it has never been more important to spot and celebrate the women waiting in the wings who are often overlooked.  We hope that the WeQual Awards will help show the potential of talented and committed businesswomen and encourage businesses to facilitate their progression to the very top of UK businesses.  We are delighted to have Allyson as a judge, as she’s been heavily involved from the start in helping us expand our reach both in the UK and the US.”

Allyson Stewart-Allen, CEO of International Marketing Partners and judge of the Awards said “Being part of this important initiative means getting the chance to recognise the incredible contributions of the many talented women to the companies that employ them and, as significantly, the UK economy.  At last, that chance has come with the creation of these important WeQual Awards and Katie Litchfield’s intelligent initiative to achieve this.”

Entrance to the WeQual Awards is open throughout May and individuals may self-nominate.  The Awards ceremony will take place at The Savoy in London on 26 September 2019.

The awards’ charity partner is Crisis, a UK national charity for homeless people.

Full information and details of how to enter are available on the website:


Notes to editors:

Founder and CEO, Katie Litchfield, launched the WeQual Awards to help aspiring women in business make that final step to the ExCo, and plans to bring the awards to other markets.

Having worked alongside FTSE 100 senior leaders throughout her 18-year career at the Financial Times, Katie has witnessed first-hand the challenges companies are facing in developing people into senior roles.

The WeQual Awards have been created to identify and recognise world-class female executives one level below the executive committees (ExCo) in businesses across the FTSE.

The awards aim to go further than current targets for female representation at the top of businesses, driving a change in the ExCo appointment rate from 30% to 50% women, recognising women reporting into the Executive Committee and proving to the business world that they can make at least as important a contribution as the man next to them.

Award judges:

Allyson Stewart-Allen, Chief Executive, International Marketing Partners Ltd.
Dame Cilla Snowball, Former CEO & Chair of AMV BBDO and Chair, Women’s Business Council
Dame Inga Beale, Former CEO, Lloyd’s of London
Maria da Cunha, Non-Executive Director, De La Rue
Amanda Cusdin, Chief People Officer, Sage
Peter Flavel, Chief Executive, Coutts
Rachael Legg, Group Chief Procurement Officer, Johnson Matthey
Rita Clifton CBE, Chairman, BrandCap and NED of Nationwide, ASOS & Ascential plc
Rob Guyler, Chief Financial Officer, EDF Energy
Ron Kalifa, Executive Board Director, Worldpay
Sarah Gregory, Inclusion & Diversity Partner, Baker McKenzie
Shahzad Saleem, CEO, Cost Transformation Consultancy
Sharon Doherty, Chief People Officer, Finastra
Sir Ian Cheshire, Chairman, Barclays UK
Steve Holliday, Former CEO of National Grid, Chairman, Senvion
Deborah Lee, Chief People Officer, Yoox Net-A-Porter Group
Yasmin Diamond, EVP Global Corporate Affairs, InterContinental Hotels Group

Award categories:

Financial and Commercial
Procurement and Supply Chain
Customer and Marketing
Digital, Cyber Security and Technology
Corporate Communications
People and HR
Diversity and Inclusion


Andy Rivett-Carnac
Partner, Headland PR
Tel: +44 (0)20 3805 4822

Allyson Stewart-Allen
CEO, International Marketing Partners Ltd.
Tel: +44 (0)20 7828 9400

[1] Hampton-Alexander Review, 2018

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