The list was first introduced by Cranfield School of Management in 2009, and showcases the broad and deep female talent pool for ‘UK plc’ to consider as nominees for non-executive director (NED) positions in FTSE 350 companies.

Dr Patricia Pryce, Director, Beauwest Consultancy Ltd, and Jacey Graham, Director, Brook Graham (in association with Pinsent Masons), both Visiting Fellows at Cranfield School of Management produced the report. The report has become a reference point for search firms, nomination committees and others with the opportunity to influence shortlists for NED positions in FTSE 350 companies.

Although not an exhaustive or a definitive list, it identifies 100 women from a broad range of backgrounds, those who hold senior executive roles in FTSE 350 firms, large non-listed companies, major charities, professional services firms, educational institutions and those in the Civil Service.

Different disciplines and functions are also included and, this year, they have identified several women with a STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) background and experience, who are poised and ready for a Board position.

Dr Pryce says: “We are always delighted to see the success of those identified in previous reports. Our research shows the benefits women can bring to the behaviour, culture, and performance of boards. We would also like to see those appointed then progress into senior roles on the board.”

There have been six women who have gained a FTSE 350 Board position in the last year who appeared on previous 100 Women to Watch lists: Sylvia Metayer, NED at PageGroup, from 2016 and an additional five women – Andrea Blance, Yasmin Jetha, Professor Nazneen Rahmah, Debbie White and Mary Reilly, from the 2015 list.