A former boss of the FT and ex management consultant Rona Fairhead has been named as the new chair of the BBC Trust. Rona is the first female chair of the BBC and is an experienced non-executive director of large companies including HSBC and PepsiCo and has been described as “a numbers based business woman”. As seems usual with the news reporting of women taking on highly visible roles, there was some surprise and thinly disguised questioning: ‘Is she up to the job’? Also, the ‘low down’ on her personal circumstances including where she lives, her hobbies, her medical history and references to her personality. At least this time, I saw no references to Rona’s outfit when she was appointed.
On a serious note, the nature of this reporting illustrates that Rona is different. In her case, she is one of a minority of businesswomen in very senior roles in the UK. As humans it is the tendency of ‘the many’ to pay attention to ‘the few’, we subconsciously single them out, notice the difference and watch what they do, we have a tendency to treat ‘the few’ differently. There will be a day when talented and successful women are no longer ‘the few’ and The Glass Lift aims to speed up the arrival of that day! In the meantime we wish Rona every success in her new role.