London: The proverb that behind every successful man is a woman may need to be reversed as there has been a rise of stay-at-home dads while their ambitious wives reach the top in their professions Helena Morrissey, a successful businesswoman, said that women who want to reach the top need a husband who is prepared to stay at home and look after the children.

The mother-of-nine is reliant on her househusband Richard as he runs the family home and cares for their children, while she manages nearly 50 billion pounds as chief executive of Newton Investment Management.

Morrissey, who has set a target for the 100 biggest companies to ensure women hold 30 per cent of directorships by 2015, went on to say that women could not have it all.

"The idea that a woman can have a family and friends and hold down a difficult, high-octane job when both partners work full-time - that is a very tall order," a daily quoted her as saying.

Morrissey also urged any ambitious woman with her heart set on a directorship to discuss with her husband the prospect of him giving up or scaling back his career.

And she claims she is just one of many high-powered women whose husbands have agreed to take a back seat to their successful wives.

The husband of the world's most powerful businesswoman Indra Nooyi, chief executive of PepsiCo, left his full-time job and became a consultant so that he could care for the couple's children.

When Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts needed to move to London to take up her post, her husband wound up his own business.