By Daniel Hunter

Businesses must keep up the momentum for representation of women on their boards, according to Business Secretary Vince Cable, as he revealed the top 10 most improved companies.

A new ‘Inspirational Women in Business’ report highlights a number of inspiring business women at different stages in their careers and their views on leadership, and provides advice and guidance to those women aspiring to senior business positions.

Yesterday (Wednesday), Julie Deane, founder of The Cambridge Satchel Company and 2013 Great British Entrepreneur of the Year, listed her female entrepreneurs to watch in 2015.

The top 10 most improved FTSE 100 boards between 2010 and October 2014:

Old Mutual - +38.5%
Aggreko - +30%
Glaxosmithkline - +28%
Wolseley - +27.3%
Land Securities Group - +25%
Associated British Foods - +22.2%
Capita - +22.2%
Petrofac - +22.2%
Weir Group - +22.2%
HSBC - +20.8%

Business Secretary Vince Cable said: "Seeing the enormous progress made by these 10 top FTSE 100 companies demonstrates that the UK’s voluntary, business-led approach is working. Our target of 25% women on boards by 2015 is in sight. However, the threat of EU mandatory targets remains a reality if we do not meet it.

"Businesses must not take their foot off the pedal during the final stretch - if we are to avoid action from Brussels we must continue to demonstrate that our voluntary approach is the right one and is working.

"I congratulate those FTSE chairs here today and those that have taken action to promote talented women, like those featured in our case study report published today. British businesses must keep up the momentum and alarm bells should be ringing in the ears of those FTSE chairs who are not yet doing their bit to improve gender diversity."

Patrick O’Sullivan, chairman of Old Mutual said: "Old Mutual aims to recruit and retain staff, at all levels, from as wide a background as possible. Our guiding principle is that successful candidates should be the best qualified for that role and for our business to succeed, our culture has to be one of inclusion and opportunity for all our staff.

"I am pleased to say that we now have a board which reflects substantial diversity in terms of skills, experience, geography and gender."

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