Promoting a culture of inclusion, tolerance and empowerment for women in business sectors hitherto mostly unreceptive to women
Alessandra Perrazzelli has made her professional mark in quite a significant manner, in the worlds of banking and law, two leading business sectors (namely, fields of merger and acquisitions and banking law), and still firmly in the grip of male-dominated professions.
Alessandra is the Head of International Affairs at Intesa Sanpaolo and CEO of IntesaSanpaolo Eurodesk, and is is based both in Brussels and Milan, working with European Institutions on the application of EU banking and financial services law to the internal market. IntesaSanpaolo Eurodesk is the leading italian company dedicated to assist the corporate clients of Intesa Sanpaolo to access EU funding in the fields of research, SMEs, education and infrastructures.
Within the Intesa Sanpaolo Group she is also responsible for the compliance of all antitrust matters at national and international level. Recently, Ms Perrazzelli was asked by the CEO of Intesa Sanpaolo to coordinate the project “Gemma”, aimed at implementing within the Group strategies and positive actions to foster and develop the talent of women in the Bank.
She has really contributed to promoting a culture of inclusion, tolerance and empowerment for women. In addition, she has contributed to encourage Italian women to step away from the current role models portrayed in the Italian media, promoting, through her own personal history.
The Gemma Project
This Project changed the attitude of the Bank towards its women employees, fostering the talents of women and promoting their skills within the Bank. The Project has become one of Italy’s best practices in gender diversity programs to promote women at top positions and in the area of banking services, and with regards to products addressed to women customers. The project raised, by 30 per cent, positions for women in decision-making within the company. Alessandra went on to become the President of Valore D - an association of 50 among the largest and more powerful companies in Italy - aimed at fostering and empowering women in companies and organisations. She took a personal stand in support of the new law and in a large number of initiatives aimed at improving the Italian rules and culture regarding the presence of women, in decision making positions.
Women in Top Roles in Banking in the EU
In 2011, Michel Barnier, EU internal markets commissioner, issued a draft directive, wanting to impose mandatory quotas to dictate the number of women sitting on bank boards. None of the banks listed on the London Stock Exchange would currently meet the requirement as set out in the draft. Other banks across Europe would also have to comply with the directive. To place this in context, Ana Patricia Botín of Santander UK is the only female chief executive of a major bank.
Women on Boards - February 2011 figures (.pdf): In 2010 women made up only 12.5 percent of the members of the corporate boards of FTSE 100 companies. This was up from 9.4 per cent in 2004. But the rate of increase is too slow. At the current rate of change it will take over 70 years to achieve gender-balanced boardrooms in the UK (access the report in pdf format)