AGCO intends to add a woman to its board — meaning that all of Georgia’s Fortune 500 companies will have women on their boards

By Maria Saporta

It soon will be a complete sweep — all of Georgia’s Fortune 500 companies will have at least one woman on their board of directors.

Martin Richenhagen, CEO of the Duluth-based agricultural company — AGCO, told the Kiwanis Club of Atlanta today that he intends to invite a woman to join his board.

The woman is Mallika Srinivasan, CEO of Chennai, India-based TAFE Ltd.

AGCO has owned a 23 percent stake in TAFE (Tractors and Farm Equipment Ltd.) in India for several years. Srinivasan is the eldest daughter of industrialist — A. Sivasailam, who passed away in January.

Shortly after her father’s death, Srinivasan was named chairperson of TAFE and she continues as its CEO, a post she’s had for several years. She joined the company in 1986 after getting her MBA at the Wharton School at the University of Pennsylvania.

After his Kiwanis Club talk, Richenhagen said he intends to have Srinivasan join his board, and that she already has accepted.

“She will join our board when there’s an opening,” Richenhagen said, adding that he expects that will take place sometime this year.

Richenhagen said AGCO has wanted to have a woman join its board for years, but the agribusiness industry tends to be a male-dominated industry and qualified women directors are in high demand.

Upon hearing the news, leaders of the Board of Directors Network — an organization that encourages gender and racial diversity in Georgia’s corporate community — were delighted.

“BDN is always thrilled when a prominent company like AGCO adds a woman to its board,” said Ann-Marie McGaughey, a partner with the McKenna Long & Aldridge law firm who services as BDN’s president. “It reinforces the fat that diverse points of view are important and other companies often follow the example set by the Fortune 500 leaders.”

Rona Wells, BDN’s executive director, agreed.

“It sounds like an extremely smart business move on their part, and we are very pleased,” Wells said. “For the past several years, AGCO has been the only Fortune 500 company in Georgia without a woman on its board.”

AGCO is a leading and global manufacturer of farm equipment. It had $6.9 billion in sales in 2010. Richenhagen has been its CEO for seven years.

Maria Saporta, Editor, is a longtime Atlanta business, civic and urban affairs journalist with a deep knowledge of our city, our region and state.  Since 2008, she has written a weekly column and news stories for the Atlanta Business Chronicle. Prior to that, she spent 27 years with The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, becoming its business columnist in 1991. Maria received her Master’s degree in urban studies from Georgia State and her Bachelor’s degree in journalism from Boston University. Maria was born in Atlanta to European parents and has two young adult children.

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