The incidents of sexual harassment that occurred in the summer of 2015/2016 have had a profound effect on the women involved and we remain extremely upset they occurred. They have our heartfelt apologies as do any others who may have been subjected to any form of harassment.
We are committed to ensuring that such incidents do not happen again and have announced our intention of undertaking an independent and external review. We need to ensure we understand if, how, and where errors were made so that learnings can be applied and embedded into our firm's culture for the future.
I'm pleased to share with you that we have now appointed Dame Margaret Bazley ONZ DNZM, Hon DLit. to head this external review of our firm, which will include the incidents of 2015/16 along with a wide ranging review of our culture. We have been very conscious, in making this appointment, to appoint a person who is truly independent as well as someone who has experience in such work. We want the assurance of a thorough review and believe Dame Margaret’s significant experience and work reviewing police conduct and culture resulting from the Louise Nicholas case will provide that assurance.
We have a zero tolerance for harassment of any kind and where we have become aware of incidents, we have taken action. We have focused on making sure we encourage a truly speak out culture. We support the intent of the #metoo campaign, yet we do not support trial by media and we do not condone any action that has the potential to undermine the confidentiality of complainants. This simply serves to undermine a fundamental aspect of having a speak out culture.
Russell McVeagh has led the way on empowering women, working with many organisations and initiatives promoting diversity and gender inclusion. Women comprise 30% of our partners and in some areas that number is significantly higher. Women represent the majority of our Board.
But we can do better. This review will leave no stone unturned. We fully expect some of the findings to be challenging as well as supporting some of our actions. We want to assure you we will face these challenges.