The tone from the top


Take a close look at the photo above, it’s taken from a Morningstar conference yesterday.

The gentleman on the left is asking the question, the women on the right are listening and the gents on the right – well – they’re just staring each other out.

Why I like working with women and for women can be summed up in this photo- to use a rather out of fashion phrase, it’s about “emotional intelligence”.

The woman in black is Katherine Garrett-Cox who won the Veuve Clicquot Business person of the year this week. the woman in the blue is Helen Morrissey of Newton, I won’t embarrass the gents.


Katherine Garrett-Cox

Garrett-Cox was on the radio this morning, waking me up to money. She talked about the tone at the top of British organisations, it is clearly predominately a male tone though that’s changing fast in some industries (fund management seems to be one of them).

The tone in my household is set by my boss, Stella, who is a successful business woman. The career path ahead of her is clearly laid out. She will very soon hit the glass ceiling and will find solace in a plethora of non-executive directors where she will fill a large organisation’s diversity target but be kept from the top jobs – CEO, CFO ,COO etc.

It is very important that the next generation of brilliant women do not get shunted into sidings. They need to be on the mainline. I’m pleased and proud to point out that the pensions mainline sees women at every station!

Yesterday I wrote about the new female-led pension hierarchy. Ros Altmann, Michelle Crachnell, Lesley Titcomb, Charlotte Clark – to whom can be added Joanne Segars of the NAPF and the all-female executive of MAS headed by Caroline Rookes. They set a tone from the top that is likely to be quite different from what we have seen in my generation.

Gender Equality was being held back , according to  Garrett-Cox by “dinosaurs” in the industry. Clearly the dinosaurs that roamed planet pension policy, are either in hibernation of extinct. It is quite nice to work in such a female dominated environment.

michelle cracknell

Michelle Cracknell – TPAS and Pension Wise


Joanne Segars -NAPF

catherine rookes

Caroline Rookes – Money Advice Service


Ros Altmann – Pensions Minister

charlotte clark

Charlotte Clark – DWP

lesley titcomb

Lesley Ticomb – the Pension Regulator

The tone from the top is changing. I am happy as a 53 year old public school male to stand aside and see this happen. Whether the female hegemony continues will depend on the support for this new political management team  not just from us men, but from fellow women.

When Katherine Garrett-Cox was asked on FiveLive this morning what defined the difference in tone with a female at the top, she suggested that women asked the hard questions that men didn’t.

Like why we don’t have more women like those mentioned in this article -as Executive Directors?

About henry tapper

Founder of the Pension PlayPen,, partner of Stella, father of Olly . I am the Pension Plowman
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1 Response to The tone from the top

  1. Suz says:

    Charlotte Clark is my sister and she isn’t involved in this. I believe you have the wrong person.

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