BGN’s Swiss Head Talks Diversity at Geneva Women in Leadership Event

June 12, 2024
BGN’s Swiss Head Talks Diversity at Geneva Women in Leadership Event 

Global business leaders must be aware that the world needs to allocate more explicit attention, and dedicated resources, for gender equality. After all, research has shown that companies are typically more profitable under female leadership. 

Men are nonetheless still dominating decision-making and not enough women are invited to sit on companies’ boards of directors, according to Demet Ozdemir, BGN’s Managing Director in Switzerland. 

“When I started out in the early 90s it was a tough challenge for a young woman to make her way through a company and receive meritocratic recognition,” Demet said on a panel hosted by Geneva’s Commodity Trading Alumni Association. “Things have improved a bit, but we absolutely need more women in C-level positions and, most importantly, at board level,” she said, adding that research has shown that less than one quarter of the world’s corporate board seats are held by women. 

BGN’s Swiss Head Talks Diversity at Geneva Women in Leadership Event 

After rising to Senior Partner at professional services advisory firm EY, Demet was the founding member of the Women on Board Association in Türkiye, before she relocated to Switzerland to help grow BGN’s global commodities trading activity. Industry bodies, also including WISTA (Women’s International Shipping & Trading Association), can help to stimulate change through specific initiatives and valuable opportunities for women to network, Demet noted. 

BGN, which is led globally by Mrs Rüya Bayegan, is intensifying its efforts around diversity and inclusion, while recognizing that more must be done to tackle the challenge in the workplace. The company is seeking to balance gender across its workforce through special recruitment initiatives and by ensuring diversity and inclusion is reflected in its values, code of business conduct and ESG framework.  

BGN has a majority female board and has empowered senior women with managerial roles. Other trading companies may take some inspiration from this, although it’s likely that the energy & commodities sector would benefit from inviting women from other industries on to boards and into C-level (CEO/CFO etc.) roles, to import their experiences, according to Demet.  

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