Family-controlled Swedish investment house Kinnevik is set to appoint Dame Amelia Fawcett as its new chairman at its AGM on 21 May.
The proposed election underlines the digital innovator’s tradition of female leadership that has seen female chairs helming it for 11 out of the past 13 years.
Fawcett, a former Morgan Stanley executive who chaired the Guardian Media Group for seven years, has been deputy chairman since 2013.
Cristina Stenbeck, the 40-year-old third-generation majority owner of Kinnevik, was chairman of the board during 2007-2016, after being elected vice chairman in 2003.
Stenbeck famously took over company leadership after the death of her father and set about a bold reorganisation of the business that saw it become one of the leading digital investors in Europe. She now sits on a number of boards, including Spotify.
Kinnevik is focused on four sectors: ecommerce and marketplaces; technology, media, and telecoms; financial services, and healthcare, including large holdings in German e-retailer Zalando.
Rising ranks of family business female leaders
Fawcett’s appointment comes as senior female leadership of family businesses continues to grow well ahead of other listed companies.
Consultancy EY found that women make up 22% of top management, and 16% of board membership in its 2018 annual survey of 589 of the largest family businesses from top global markets.
In addition, there was a 20% increase in the number of women in the C-suite since its 2014 survey on this topic.
This compared to a 2016 CS Gender 3000 report that calculated women make up just 13.8% of top management and 14.7% of board members at 3000 listed companies globally.
Fawcett joins a growing list of female chairs overseeing multi-billion dollar family enterprises including Marie-Christine Coisne-Roquette at French electrical supplier Sonepar, Ana Botin at Spanish bank Santander, and Diana Nelson at US hospitality and travel company Carlson.
Kinnevik is majority owned by the Stenbeck family who hold a 44% voting stake, with the Klingspor and von Horn family also holding significant voting rights.
It had a market capitalisation of SEK82 billion ($9.38 billion) as at 31 March 2018.