More international members on the boards of Finnish companies

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According to Tesi’s (Finnish Industry Investment Ltd’s) recent review of the composition of Finnish companies’ boards of directors, more international members are being appointed to Finnish companies’ boards than earlier. The proportion of women on boards has remained much the same, at slightly less than thirty per cent, with practically no change in this figure since the start of the millennium.

More international talent is being appointed to the boards of Finnish companies. The proportion of international members is currently seven per cent. This trend is on the rise, with non-Finnish citizens now accounting for some eleven per cent of new board appointments. Large corporations, growth companies and the information & communication technologies (ICT) sector have the highest proportion of international members on their boards.

Most international members appointed to Finnish companies’ boards come from Estonia and Sweden. In particular, the proportion of Swedes is increasing. Altogether 564 new members were appointed to boards of directors during the first half of 2023, of which 184 are Swedish.

“The ‘New Nordics’ – comprising the Nordic and Baltic countries – are also catching the attention of international investors. It’s splendid that cooperation is expanding also within companies’ boards of directors and that their focus is extending beyond Finland’s domestic market. I believe this will strengthen the framework for Finnish companies to compete in global markets,” comments Pia Santavirta, Tesi’s CEO.

”Growth orientation and an international mindset are linked. Generally speaking, the boards of companies that are strongly growth-oriented are younger and more international in composition,” says Klaus Majanen, Tesi’s analyst and compiler of the review.

Little change in gender diversity 

The proportion of women on Finnish companies’ boards has remained steady, slightly below thirty per cent, with not much change in this figure since the start of the millennium.

“Over the last few years, even slightly fewer women have been elected to companies’ boards of directors,” says Majanen.

The differences between sectors have also widened: for instance, women account for only 13 per cent of board members in the ICT sector, whereas around one-half of board members in both the public administration & defence sector and the human health & social work sector are women.

“In simple terms, it’s true to say that sectors with a preponderance of women, such as healthcare, also have more women board members. In the software sector, which is perhaps generally more male dominant, there are only a few women on boards of directors,” sums up Henri Hakamo, who heads Tesi’s strategy and research team.

Still today, very few women – only 15% – occupy a position as Board Chair.

The review covers all companies employing at least five people except for the Finnish subsidiaries of international companies; altogether some 27,000 Finnish companies and 84,000 board members. Companies employing less than five people and the boards of Finnish subsidiaries of international companies were excluded from the review because their boards of directors are typically composed of operative management.

You can read more here

More information:
Henri Hakamo, Chief Strategy and Research Officer 
+358 40 050 2721

Saara Vettenranta, Communications Manager 
+358 40 723 3516

Tesi (officially Finnish Industry Investment Ltd) is a state-owned, market-driven investment company that invests in venture capital and private equity funds and directly in Finnish startups and growth companies. | X (Twitter) | LinkedIn | Newsletter