Lord Leitch, Chairman, Bupa,

The importance of diversity and inclusion within business

Bupa has come a long way from its beginnings in the UK as a health funding organisation. We are now an international healthcare company serving millions of customers through insurance, our clinics, dental centres and hospitals, and in our care homes and villages worldwide.

Core to this growth and success is, and always has been, our open and diverse culture. There has been a lot of attention paid to diversity and inclusion in the workplace as of late, and rightly so.

We pride ourselves on being an inclusive organisation, welcoming everyone from all talents and backgrounds and embracing our differences. These differences make us stronger and reflect the needs of our customers – and meeting the needs of our customers is what enables us to grow as a business and ensure we are helping people live longer, healthier, happier lives.

I’m delighted that we offer all our people opportunities to grow and develop in a positive, open environment, which of course includes promoting gender equality. This isn’t just ‘talking the talk’ – Bupa is putting this into action worldwide. We have strong female representation at every level of our organisation, right up to our senior executives.

Almost half (45%) of our Board is female, including our Group CEO and CFO, which exceeds Lord Davies’ recommendation of 33% female representation by 2020 for the third year in a row. Meanwhile, 38% of our Group Executive Team is female, while women make up 69% of our total workforce worldwide – and 41% of our senior managers.

We are fortunate to attract such talented, driven women to our roles within Bupa. It says a lot about our open, diverse culture that great female employees actively seek out opportunities to work for Bupa around the world.

What’s more, Bupa is a proud signatory of the 30% Club, a CEO-led initiative which advocates for a minimum of 30% female representation in senior leadership teams – something we already comfortably surpass. We firmly believe that gender balance on Boards and within leadership teams not only encourages better leadership and governance, but contributes to better all-round business performance. We very much agree with the 30% Club’s slogan of growth through diversity.

Bupa recently published its gender pay gap, ahead of the UK Government’s April deadline. While, like almost all organisations, there is still work to be done, I am pleased to say our gender pay gap is lower than both the UK national average and the financial and insurance activities sector average.

Of course, diversity and inclusion is not just about gender equality. We are equally focused on how we welcome and develop people across the whole spectrum of diversity, including race, disability, sexual orientation, religion, belief and age, as well as culture, personality and work style. Whilst we are proud of our commitment to this, we are not complacent about our progress. We will continue to strive to be as diverse as the communities we serve.

In the spirit of celebrating Bupa’s leadership diversity, Bupa UK CEO David Hynam was recently named in the top 10 of the Financial Times’ HERoes list, which recognises business leaders who support or ‘champion’ women in business. David was also named in the 2017 OUTstanding top ten global leaders list, celebrating LGBT executives who are successful in their careers while also creating supportive workplaces for other LGBT people.

While we are very much on a continuous journey, I have a huge amount of pride in the work we are doing to ensure our employees are empowered to deliver exceptional experiences for our customers in a diverse, open and authentic culture.


About Lord Leitch

Lord Leitch was appointed Bupa’s Chairman in November 2006, having joined the company’s Board in May the previous year. He is Chair of Bupa’s Nomination & Governance Committee and a member of the Remuneration Committee. He is also currently Group Chairman of FNZ Group.

With a deep and broad knowledge of insurance and financial services gained over 50 years as a senior executive in a number of major international businesses, Lord Leitch is also a Life Peer and has been a Member of the House of Lords since 2004.

Growing up in Dunfermiline, Scotland, Lord Leitch began his career in London as a computer programmer, creating the first ever life assurance search engine programme in 1967. He remained in the insurance industry throughout his career, becoming Chief Executive of Allied Dunbar before it merged with Zurich Financial Services in 1998.

Lord Leitch brings with him an unrivalled breadth of experience as a leader in business with wide-ranging interests across societal issues. Among other roles, he has held positions including: Chairman of Intrinsic Financial Services; Chairman and Chief Executive of Zurich Financial Services UK, Ireland, South Africa and Asia Pacific; Deputy Chairman of Lloyds Banking Group plc; Chairman of Scottish Widows plc; Deputy Chairman of the Commonwealth Education Fund; and Chairman of the Association of British Insurers. He has also served on a number of plc Boards and in various Non-Executive Director roles.

In 2006, he undertook the Leitch Review of Skills and Productivity, advising the UK government on how to define the UK’s optimum skills mix in order to maximise economic growth and productivity. The recommendations became public policy.

A firm campaigner and champion for workplace diversity and passionate supporter of organisations that aim to make a positive difference across a wide range of areas. Lord Leitch has received the Prince of Wales Ambassador award for charity work. In 2017 he created the What Is More? Foundation, encouraging spiritual and multi-faith debate, while he remains a patron of the Stroke Association and the Medical Aid Films Charity, where he was formlerly founding Chairman.