The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) and the Center for International Private Enterprise (CIPE) have launched a joint corporate governance training initiative  that will promote female participation on boards.

The training, developed by Deloitte in Croatia as part of a previous EBRD collaboration in 2020 and 2021, will be adapted to three new markets: BulgariaGreece and Romania. It will be provided to business leaders irrespective of their gender.  

CIPE and the EBRD will work together to support emerging business leaders in Croatia, Bulgaria, Greece and Romania with a wide range of training courses on topics related to board effectiveness. The topics will include advisory services, business coaching, mentoring and networking.

CIPE is a global organisation that works to strengthen democracy and build competitive markets in around 80 countries. CIPE’s mission is to advance the voice of business in policy-making, promote opportunity and develop resilient and inclusive economies.

CIPE’s Jeff Lightfoot said: “One of CIPE’s priorities in Europe is to advance leadership by women in the commercial sector to support the wider goal of economic inclusion. We are delighted to partner with the EBRD and its rich legacy of promoting gender inclusion in the region to strengthen corporate governance training among women entrepreneurs in south-eastern Europe.”

The EBRD’s Victoria Zinchuk added: “Engaging female talent is one of the smartest things a company can do. In Croatia we have already implemented training for women on boards. Interest from the business community was so high, and the training was so successful, that scaling it up both in Croatia and in other countries came as a natural step. We are very happy to continue this journey in partnership with CIPE.” 

The initiative was announced today at a jointly organised conference in Zagreb on “Corporate Governance and Gender Diversity on Boards”, which discussed the requirements of recently adopted European Union legislation on mandatory targets for women on corporate boards.

The event was opened by Irena Weber, Director of the Croatian Association of Employers; Biljana Šcekić, EBRD Regional Head of SME Finance & Development; and Jeffrey Lightfoot, Programme Director, Europe, at CIPE. EBRD participants also included Victoria Zinchuk, Regional Director for Central Europe; Pavle Djuric, Principal Counsel; and Visnja Mrakovcic Supek, Principal Manager, Advice for Small Business.

Speakers from Deloitte, the developer of the original training, were Tarja Krehić, Maurizia Anderle Hauke and Corinne Sheriff.

Aurora Volarević (Infobip), Martina Verović (Rimac Automobili), Luka Orešković (MPlus Group),  Maja Mandić (Hrvatski Telekom), Tarja Krehić (Krehic and Partners), Deloitte Legal and others provided the corporate perspective on female representation on boards to over a hundred participants from the corporate and NGO sector.