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Qatar to Nominate a Woman to VW Supervisory Board | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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A VW sign is seen outside a Volkswagen dealership in London, Britain November 5, 2015. REUTERS/Suzanne Plunkett

At the request of the Emirate of Qatar, Volkswagen group investor Qatar will nominate a woman to represent the emirate on VW’s supervisory board, two sources said aware of the mater said.

This step allows the automaker to comply with a new law reserving 30 percent of seats for women ahead of its annual shareholder meeting.

The appointment of Chairman Hans Dieter Poetsch to the helm of Volkswagen’s (VW) supervisory board last October needs shareholder approval, which is dependent on VW assigning 30 percent of the board’s 20 seats to women.

Germany, where there is not a single female chief executive among the 30 largest firms on the blue-chip DAX index, introduced quotas in January requiring major companies to assign 30 percent of seats on non-executive boards to women.

Qatar will send a woman, most likely to fill the place vacated by Minister of State Hussain Ali Al-Abdulla, a board member of the Qatar Investment Authority (QIA), one of the sources close to VW’s supervisory board said. The sources did not name the woman.

QIA, Volkswagen and Lower Saxony, VW’s second-biggest shareholder, declined to comment.

At VW, the shareholder representatives, who share equal representation on the carmaker’s 20-member supervisory board with labor officials, currently allot two seats to women.

Qatar, VW’s third-largest shareholder with a 17 percent stake, has two seats on the broader board. Frustrated with the pace of reform at VW, the QIA has also asked the carmaker for a seat on the board’s executive committee which sets the agenda for the wider board.

The nomination of a female Qatari candidate, plus other issues, will be talked over by the board at a meeting due to start at 1500 GMT on Tuesday, one of the sources said.

Though women will still have only four of the 20 board seats after the Qatari nomination, VW will meet legal requirements as the number of female shareholder representatives is rising to three out of 10 members.