Lloyds boss Inga Beale has topped a leading LGBT power list and in doing so became the first female, and openly bisexual, list member to make the top 100.
Beale was Tuesday ranked first in the OUTstanding annual Top 100 list of LGBT executives, with Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg leading the way as top 'Ally Executive' - ahead of Sir Richard Branson in second - for his work "championing LGBT diversity both within his organisation and globally".
For the first time, the awards also named the Top 30 LGBT Future Business Leader role models, which was topped by Aritha Wickramasinghe, an associate at law firm K&L Gates LLP.
Beale's victory comes after Stonewall's latest Workplace Equality Index revealed that bisexual women are eight times less likely to be open with colleagues than lesbians and seven times less likely to be open with their manager.
OUTstanding founder and CEO Suki Sandhu said the list aims to "shine a light on positive role models to encourage more people to be open and authentically themselves in the workplace".
She said Beale and Zuckerberg were recognised for their "achievements in helping to smash negative stereotypes and bring greater diversity to boardrooms in Britain and beyond".
Top LGBT Executives - the top 10
- 1. Inga Beale - CEO, Lloyd's of London
- 2. Alan Joyce - Chief Executive Officer, Qantas Airways Ltd
- 3. Antonio Simoes - CEO, HSBC Bank plc
- 4. Martine Rothblatt - CEO, United Therapeutics
- 5. Claudia Brind-Woody - Vice President and Managing Director, IBM
- 6. Paul Reed - CEO, Integrated Supply and Trading, BP plc
- 7. Beth Brooke-Marciniak - Global Vice Chair, Public Policy, EY
- 8. Christopher Bailey - Chief Creative & Chief Executive Officer, Burberry
- 9. Anthony Watson - President & Chief Executive Officer, Uphold
- 10. Sander van ‘t Noordende - Group Chief Executive Products, Accenture
This year's list also celebrates its highest ever ranking transgender executive, Martine Rothblatt (CEO, United Therapeutics), who came fourth on the Top 100 list which Sandu said was "particularly important" as research showed 32% of transgender workers think coming out would have a negative effect on future promotions – and 90% report mistreatment or harassment at work.
Top LGBT 'Ally' Executives - the top 5
- 1. Mark Zuckerberg - Founder and CEO, Facebook
- 2. Richard Branson - Founder, Virgin Group
- 3. Andrew Liveris - Chairman and CEO, The Dow Chemical Company
- 4. Peter Grauer - Chairman, Bloomberg LP
- 5. Jamie Dimon - Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, JPMorgan Chase
Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas was second in the Top 100 list and 2014 winner, Antonio Simoes (CEO, HSBC) was third.
Beale said it was a "delight and honour" to make the Top 100, but said her victory was something the entire London insurance sector should take credit for.
She said: "I am proud of the commitment of Lloyd’s and the London insurance market to celebrate diversity and ensure we are an attractive, globally relevant and inclusive sector. Inclusion is the foundation of innovation, and having an open, accepting, and diverse workforce will enable us to succeed in a changing and challenging world.”
'Future business leader' winner Wickramasinghe, from the law firm K&L Gates, said being out at work meant he could "focus my energies on my career" rather than hiding.
He said: "People often underestimate the effort that's required to live a lie. Some people say that I am lucky to have been so well received as a junior lawyer who is out. But I disagree. There should be nothing lucky about being yourself. Whether it is because of your sexuality, ethnicity, religion, gender, disability or any other point of difference - no one should be made to feel out of place or treated differently because of who they are."
Antonio Simoes, who was in third place on the Top 100 list, said businesses needed a meritocratic culture, and to do this they needed "people with a mix of backgrounds and beliefs that reflect today's society".
While "honoured" to again make the list, Simoes said despite "genuine progress" being made, "we still have some way to go before everyone feels confident enough to express themselves in an authentic way".
Sandhu said since 2013 "far more" people wanted to be associated with the annual lists, with 42 new additions to the Top 100 list alone.
"This is fantastic news as I hope it shows people are both more comfortable about being their true selves at work, and also that they see the value of 'going public' in terms of inspiring the next generation of leaders," she said.
She added: Those featured are an inspiration to anyone who fears that they may have to be closeted at work, and waste valuable effort muting their authentic selves. Our LGBT and Ally Executives all deserve credit for the leadership they show in welcoming people of all backgrounds, sexual orientations and gender identities. And I look forward to the changes our Future Leader role models will carve in this on-going and vital campaign.”
To view all 160 winners click here