Penny James, Chief Executive Officer named in top 10 of HERoes List 2020

Direct Line Group are excited to announce that Penny James has been named as number 9 on HERoes Woman Role Model List 2020.

The HERoes list recognises women who champion women in business and drive change for gender diversity in the workplace. Each nominee actively works to create an environment where women can comfortably bring their best professional selves to work. The list represents women from multiple sectors and industries who have achieved not only success in their own careers but have used this to actively drive for more inclusive workspaces. The list is produced by INvolve a global network which champions diversity and inclusion in business.

As one of the few FTSE 250 female CEO’s, Penny has actively strived to increasing inclusion of women in business in her time as CEO at Direct Line Group. The Group are signatories of the Women in Finance Charter and Tech Talent Charter that encourages more women into male dominated tech jobs. Penny is also the sponsor for initiatives such as gender balanced shortlists within senior recruitment and development programmes for women in middle and senior management roles. Penny is a strong supporter of the internal employee network ‘Thrive’ and personally mentors several women in Direct Line Group. 

On hearing the news of the nomination Penny James, CEO, Direct Line Group commented:

“I’ve been aware, throughout my career, as a woman in finance, a woman in insurance, a CFO, and now a CEO, the responsibility I carry. Not just to do my job well, but to be seen, to be visible and to support the female talent pipeline. I’m incredibly grateful to be recognised as a change agent. Being a real model, as well as a role model is important to me.”

“When I joined Direct Line Group I was the only female on our executive committee. Alongside new Board chair Danuta Gray, I am part of a rare female duo at the top of a leading UK company and I am one of a handful of FTSE 250 Female CEOs. Things are improving, but we should all strive to do better."

“Three of the 10 members of the Direct Line Group executive committee are women, with a strong pool of female leaders just below. I’ve sponsored a number of initiatives including language decoders, gender balanced shortlisting and female leadership programmes – increasing the proportion of women hired into senior roles. This type of action is making a real difference."

“As a company, alongside my diversity network and leadership team, we have created a new era of openness for the business. Authentic leadership, our culture and our vision to ‘create a world where insurance is personal, inclusive and a force for good’ has cemented the foundation to attract, grow and retain talented women.”

We are also pleased to announce that Claire Foster, Senior manager – Corporate and Financial has been named as one of the HERoes future leaders 2020. The award recognises her work to drive for an inclusive workforce for women in business. Claire has contributed to increasing gender inclusivity through her work with Women in PR.

If you’d like to know more about how Direct Line Group are driving for gender equality in the workplace please take a look at our gender pay gap report here and our work with the Women in Finance Charter here.