Over the weekend, Britain’s working women lost one of their most tireless champions. Dame Helen Alexander, a renowned businesswoman who made history by becoming the first female president of the Confederation of British Industry, passed away on Saturday. She was 60 years old.
To say Alexander had an illustrious career is an understatement. She was chief executive of The Economist Group (the parent of the magazine of the same name), and a board member or advisor to Northern Foods, British Gas parent Centrica, Rolls-Royce, Bain Capital and the British arm of Huawei, among others.
But she was perhaps best known for her work on behalf of the U.K.’s female workers. She and GlaxoSmithKline chairman Sir Philip Hampton joined forces to undertake the independent Hampton Alexander Review, which looked at increasing the representation of women in senior business roles. Last year, she and Hampton urged FTSE 100 companies to pledge to raise the share of women on their boards from 27% to 33% by 2020.
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The Economist published a beautiful obituary in Alexander’s honor on Sunday: