Aviva group CEO reveals misogynistic question thrown at her during WRU stint

"Nobody else was asked that question," she recalls

Aviva group CEO reveals misogynistic question thrown at her during WRU stint

Diversity & Inclusion

By Terry Gangcuangco

With an impressive career spanning three decades, you’d think nobody doubts Amanda Blanc’s (pictured) capabilities anymore – but during her March 12 guest slot on BBC Radio 4’s Desert Island Discs, the Aviva group chief executive revealed how she was questioned while sitting on the Welsh Rugby Union (WRU) board.

Blanc automatically became a WRU board member when she was named independent chair of Welsh rugby’s Professional Rugby Board (PRB) effective January 2020.

She left after less than two years, with a “very, very surprised” Peter Thomas saying in December 2021 that “to lose someone of that calibre is a huge backward step” – at the time, Blanc’s resignation letter was not publicly disclosed. It wasn’t until the middle of last year that the Aviva boss talked about not being listened to while at WRU.

“What do you know?”

Now it’s been revealed that Blanc was a target of misogyny, the same way she was during an annual general meeting (AGM) of Aviva.

She told Desert Island Discs host Lauren Laverne during Sunday’s episode: “There was one [misogynistic comment], which was ‘what do you know about governance?’

“Well, quite a lot, actually. I’ve got 32 years of experience, and I operate in a regulated business. Nobody else was asked that question, but I was. I got an apology for that, actually – a written apology for it.”

In 2022, Aviva’s AGM made headlines after certain shareholders said Blanc wasn’t “the man for the job” and asked whether she should be wearing trousers.

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