Percentage of female CEOs at highest level since 2013!

Ernst&Young, which is active in the areas of auditing, tax consulting, transaction consulting, risk advisory, financial advisory and management consulting, has published a “Mixed Leadership Barometer January 2018” in which the proportion of female board members in German listed companies was determined. The figures are surprising!

The members of the Management Boards of companies listed in the DAX, MDAX, SDAX or TecDAX on January 1, 2018 were examined. The following numbers of companies were listed:


> in the DAX 30 Companies

> in the MDAX 50

> in the SDAX 50

> in the TecDAX 30 companies


For each company, the number and function of female Executive Board members were also included as of July 1, 2013, January 1, 2014, July 1, 2014, 2015, 2016 and 2017. The sources are based on annual and quarterly reports as well as company homepages.

Percentage of female board members increased

The proportion of female board members is at its highest level since 2013! Of the 686 current members of the Executive Board in the DAX 30, MDAX, SDAX and TecDAX companies, 50 are women – which means that a good 14th member of the Executive Board is currently female. The proportion of women on the Management Board has thus risen for the fifth time in succession and climbed to a record high in the period under review. However, this still needs to be treated with caution, as more than seven out of ten companies continue to have a Management Board composed exclusively of men.

New high in DAX

According to E&Y, the DAX companies currently account for the highest proportion of female board members with almost 13 percent, followed by SDAX companies, where only a good one out of every 19th board member is female. The proportion of companies in which at least one woman is a member of the Executive Board is also by far the highest among the 30 DAX companies at 70 percent. It is currently lowest among the MDAX companies with only 16 percent.


Among the 201 DAX board members there are currently 26 women – more than in any previous survey since July 2013. Compared to the beginning of 2017, the proportion of female board members at DAX companies has risen from 11.3 to 12.9 percent. At present, 21 of the 30 DAX companies have one woman on the Executive Board, but only five companies have more than one woman. The figures should therefore continue to be treated with caution.

Kernergebnisse der E&Y Studie. Quelle: E&Y

What are the responsibilities of female board members?

E&Y has also examined the areas of responsibility of female board members and found out that women are most often responsible for operations. The second most common area of responsibility is human resources. Around one in six female Executive Board members is responsible for finance. Only four of the 160 companies surveyed have a female CEO. There is definitely still room for improvement. The industries with the most female board members were also examined and identified: Most of them can currently be found in the telecommunications industry, where every seventh board member is a woman, followed by the financial industry, where around every eighth board member is female. The proportion of women on the boards is particularly low in the commodities and retail sectors.

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