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Helga-Stödter-Preis 2019 © Handelskammer/Ulrich Perrey

Mixed leadership: Chamber of Commerce honours efforts

Prize Ceremony in Hamburg: Helga Stödter Prize for Beiersdorf, Commerzbank and Dentsu Aegis Network - focus on gender equality

Beiersdorf AG and Commerzbank AG received Monday (April 8, 2019) the Hamburg Chamber of Commerce’s Helga Stödter Prize in the “Large Company’” category for its commitment to mixed leadership. The Hamburg subsidiary of Dentsu Aegis Network Germany GmbH, an international communications agency and media-consulting group, won this year’s award in the “SME” category. Launched in 2012, the Helga Stödter Prize honours Hamburg-based companies that go to exemplary and sustainable corporate efforts towards gender balance in management positions.

Initiative for gender balance and global goals

Beiersdorf AG, headquartered in Hamburg, has raised the proportion of women in its top two management levels from 36 per cent to 43 per cent since 2015, the jury said and praised its “encourage” initiative launched in 2018. The initiative aims to bundle all measures towards greater gender balance and enshrines this objective firmly in the company. Géraldine Weilandt, Corporate Diversity Officer at Beiersdorf AG, noted: “We have also enshrined global goals. We want to increase our proportion of women in senior management positions from 30 per cent at present to 35 per cent by 2022.”

Quality – not dependent on gender

At Commerzbank AG, the jury found the “Courage” women’s network, which is independent of segments and hierarchies, particularly worthy of an award based on its efforts towards promoting careers and networking women. The network has around 170 Hamburg-based members and 650 members across Germany. Emphasis is on regular exchange with senior management through events such as business lunches and evening meetings e.g. Ladies Talk. Commerzbank also aims to fill 35 per cent of management positions with women by late 2021.

On the other hand, women account for 55 per cent of staff at all management levels of Dentsu Aegis Network Germany GmbH and 33 per cent in top management. “For our company, equal opportunity is the driving force behind successful co-operation. For us, quality does not depend on gender,” said Gitta Blatt, Managing Director Human Resources, Dentsu Aegis Network Germany.

Mixed leadership as a success factor

During the ceremony, Diana Rickwardt, Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce, stressed: “Management levels in Hamburg’s companies are internationally diverse, but still dominated by men.” Women account for only a quarter of managers across all industries and in companies of different sizes. “Mixed leadership is a success factor for the individual companies and the business location as a whole. Politics and business must continue to drive this issue forward,” said André Mücke, Vice President of the Chamber of Commerce.

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