We Should All Take Action to #BreakTheBias

Australia | International Women's Day - Editorial

Marc Vincent
Global Head of Mergers & Acquisitions
Natixis CIB

I am delighted to once again be celebrating International Women’s Day – and specifically in the context of our M&A franchise, and for the second time since we established our M&A Pulse in APAC.

 

Those who know me know well that I am passionate about diversity and that my personal conviction is that an inclusive and diverse workplace is a major driving factor behind our success. Countless research has proven that companies with greater diversity in their teams and leadership are more likely to substantially outperform.

 

Through the Covid-19 pandemic too, we have seen that diversity and inclusion have been one of the critical components of recovery.

 

Greater recognition of the importance of diversity and diversity of thought is what will power organizations into the future. 

 

This year, the theme for IWD is #BreakTheBias, and it is an opportunity for all of us to reaffirm our commitment to combat stereotypes and prejudice and develop our collective intelligence. 

 

As I discussed in our last IWD issue, M&A has historically been and continues to be male dominated. This remains the case too in our organization, although we do have significant exceptions. More than half of the total staff at Vermilion Partners are women, and this includes ~40% of their front office team. Our M&A leaders like Miranda Zhao in Hong Kong and Angela Liang in Shanghai (Vermilion), are providing strategic advice across Greater China and the Asia Pacific region. As another example, Solomon Partners, in the US, has launched several diversity initiatives led by Tammy Sheffer, Chief People Officer, with the full support of Marc Cooper, CEO of Solomon Partners.

 

Across our network, women across all levels of seniority are leading the charge on some of our most prominent deals, and encouragingly, we are seeing a very strong pipeline of developing talents working their way up the ranks. 

 

Anneka Shah and Geena Kang supported the team at Fenchurch Advisory acting as financial advisor to Cinven on the acquisition of life insurer International Financial Group Limited.

 

Phenome Chan (Azure Capital) and Amy Cheuk (Natixis Hong Kong) supported the team at Azure Capital and Natixis advising BlackRock Real Assets on the sale of the Gretel Solar Portfolio to Atmos Renewables.

 

Alexandra Dubar supported the team at Clipperton, acting as sole sell-side financial advisor to Packlink on its sale to Auctane. Anne-Sophie Luo at Clipperton advised Ardian Expansion on its acquisition of Artefact SA.

 

Jami Goodman supported the team at Solomon Partners which served as financial advisor to Körber in the sale of a significant minority stake in its supply chain software business to KKR.

 

Benedetta Roselli (Natixis Dubaï) and Miao Zhang (Vermilion) supported the teams from Natixis, Vermillion Partners and EFG Hermes advising the consortium led by China Three Gorges South Asia Investment Limited on its acquisition of Alcazar Energy Partners.

 

Paola Botero, Corporate Development Officer within the Strategy team, and Charlotte Mauger, M&A Business Manager, successfully participate in the structuration of the legal documentation with our M&A Boutiques.

 

With successes such as these being delivered continuously, I strongly believe that we must continue to recruit women across all levels of our M&A network.

 

Unfortunately, many women still face these issues today, and bias makes it harder for women to get hired and promoted and can negatively impact their day-to-day work experiences. We each hold the key to making a change and breaking these biases, though sustained actions.

 

Through our International Women’s Day focus this year, you will hear from members of our M&A team, who have written letters to their younger selves, sharing advice on the biases they may have faced, whether deliberate or unconscious, as they have progressed through their careers.

 

I hope that the advice will serve as inspiration for our younger colleagues as they build their careers. Drawing attention to the success that our female colleagues achieve and the more that we celebrate their contributions and highlight the challenges that they face, the more we are able to help others in similar situations find their voice and find their inspirations to pursue careers and options that they may otherwise have felt were not open to them.

 

As male allies, we also play an important role in championing this positive recognition and a change. Remaining passive is not good enough.

 

Back to the matter in hand, I do hope you will enjoy this special focus.