A corporate high-flyer who leaves her job to look after her children has been named as the first female chairman of Aston Martin.
Penny Hughes will take over the James Bond car manufacturer when it arrives at the London Stock Exchange later this year.
But the 59-year-old will only be one of the seven female presidents in the FTSE 100 – if Aston Martin makes the index as planned – meaning that there are still more presidents named John than female bosses.
At the wheel: Penny Hughes will lead DB11-maker Aston Martin when it becomes public
Aston – which is owned by investment firms from Italy and Kuwait – plans to go to the public with an expected value of £ 5 billion, in what will be the first float for decades by a British car manufacturer.
Hughes found success for the first time when she was appointed head of Coca-Cola's operations in the UK and Ireland at the age of just 33, but she stopped with £ 250,000 a year to pay for her two to take care of children.
She has held a number of non-managerial roles at British companies since then and stepped down from the board of RBS in May, where she had previously set the remuneration of bosses, including a controversial £ 963,000 bonus for the then bank director Stephen Hester in 2011.
The Aston job will be the third current chairmanship of Hughes, along with The Gym Group, where she earns £ 130,000, and IQ Student Accommodation, where her salary is not announced. She also takes home £ 64,605 in the clothing company Superdry. Salaries at Aston Martin were not disclosed.
Ann Francke, chief executive of the Chartered Management Institute, said female presidents earn 77 percent less than men in the role. She added: "Penny Hughes is one of the few women who is the highlight of the & # 39; glass pyramid & # 39; in the United Kingdom. An impressive achievement. I just hope that she will be treated equally with her male colleagues when it comes to payments and conditions. & # 39;
Hughes' third chairmanship stems from concerns about a handful of highly qualified female bosses who are given top positions because companies are under pressure to appoint more women to senior positions. The trend is so pronounced that many investors fear that some female drivers become overburdened.
Cliff Weight, from shareholder group Sharesoc, said that "many presidents may be too much for the average person, but it's OK for someone of her caliber."
He added: & # 39; You do not find so many women with such a good track record, so there is unfortunately a limited offer. & # 39;
Hughes oversaw the merger of Coca-Cola and Schweppes in the 1980s before being promoted to leading its operations in the UK and Ireland. She was part of the Forward Strategy Unit of Tony Blair in 2001 and advised the then prime minister on policy. In an interview in 2012, she defended RBS & # 39; s decision to award Hester his bonus, saying that & # 39; the world's largest corporate folder & # 39; great talent required.
Hughes is accompanied on the board by former Fulham MEP Lord Carrington, 70.
Richard Solomons, the former boss of hotel giant IHG, becomes senior independent director, while Imelda Walsh will chair the Paying Committee.