Monthly Archives: September 2011

Liz Bolshaw

Social democrat Helle Thorning-Schmidt has become Denmark’s first woman prime minister, bringing the total number of female world leaders to 21.

The appointment of the leader of the left-of-centre party ends ten years of centre-right political leadership in the country.

Liz Bolshaw

Most of us have grown up with the idea of a permanent job.

But for many women, an interim career can offer a professional experience that being on the payroll may simply not deliver.

Kathryn Riley has been filling board-level roles in human resources since 2000. Before that she had a successful career in the City of London.

Liz Bolshaw

Weili Dai is the co-founder of Marvell Technologies, a semi-conductor company that has grown from a three-person start-up in 1995 into one of the world’s largest chipmakers, with 6,000 employees internationally. As the vice-president of a company with a market capitalisation of $9bn, Weili is often cited as the only female entrepreneur to have created a multibillion-dollar technology company from scratch.

Born in Shanghai, Weili Dai moved with her family to San Francisco in 1978, completing high school there before studying computer science at the University of California, Berkeley. Between the ages of 9 and 14 she played semi-professional basketball in China, and the sport remains her passion. She spoke to Women at the Top:

Rebecca Knight

As countries around the world set targets to increase the number of women directors in public companies, new research suggests that meeting those goals might be complicated by the fact that male and female board members do not agree on whether board diversity will improve a board’s performance.

According to the research, women and men on corporate boards disagree on the need for quotas and the reasons why fewer women are represented on boards, and whether or not a diverse board matters for good corporate governance.

Rebecca Knight

Bess Truman once famously quipped that her job as first lady entailed little more than sitting “quietly on the podium next to her husband” and making sure “her hat was on straight”.

Times are different, of course, and while the position of first lady comes with no pay and no official responsibilities in most countries, a new fellowship programme developed by the Rand Corporation, the non-for-profit research organisation, is trying to change that. The programme, which is held at Rand’s office in Arlington, Virginia, aims to help African first ladies and their staff develop analysis skills that will enable them to exert a bigger role in health and social policy across the continent.

Liz Bolshaw

There is an undeniable truth expressed in Masters of Nothing the latest mischievous book about the financial crash published earlier this week.

In the book, subtitled The Crash and How It Will Happen Again Unless We Understand Human Nature, authors Matthew Hancock and Nadhim Zahawi claim that unless we recognise how human behaviour affects the ways that companies operate, we will make the same critical errors that caused the banking crisis.

Liz Bolshaw

“I am very sad to tell you that I’ve just been fired over the phone by Yahoo’s chairman of the board. It has been my pleasure to work with all of you and I wish you only the best going forward,” Carol Bartz wrote to Yahoo staff on Tuesday night to inform them of her sudden departure as chief executive.

While Bartz’s contract still had 16 months left to run, which suggests she will leave with generous severance pay, her exit has not come as a surprise to Silicon Valley insiders.

Liz Bolshaw

Rebecca Knight has written for this blog about a US study that proved what we all knew to be the case: despite the fact that jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics attract up to 33 per cent higher salaries than those in other industries, women still are not choosing them.

The rot, says Leslie Sobon, corporate vice-president of product marketing at AMD, the microchip maker, sets in early.

Rebecca Knight

Once upon a time, female entrepreneurs were hard to come by. Women were not all that interested in starting their own businesses, or so the theory went. They were seen as risk averse, lacking access to start-up capital and saddled with biological timelines that made it difficult to start a business and a family.

But in recent years, female entrepreneurs have become a powerful force in the US economy. Today, more than 9m women own businesses there, representing about 40 per cent of all enterprises in the country, according to data from the US Census Bureau.

Rebecca Knight

The public relations industry is dominated by women. In 1970, according to Ragan’s PR Daily, women comprised only 27 per cent of the US public relations workforce. Today, close to three-quarters of the members of the Public Relations Society of America are female; in the UK, about 64 per cent of those employed in PR are female.

Also, women in the US with bachelor’s degrees in journalism or mass communication disproportionately specialise in advertising and PR, which have more opportunities for full-time employment than other parts of the industry.

But unlike many fields where women dominate at entry level and in the junior ranks but are noticeably absent at the managerial and principal levels, in PR they are increasingly seen in managerial roles.

This blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.
 

The 'Women at the Top' blog is part of a series of online and print publications that focuses on women's achievements in business. With up-to-date news and incisive analysis, the blog will provoke discussion on the role of the world's most prominent businesswomen. www.ft.com/womenblog

For more Women at the Top news, video interviews and other features, visit www.ft.com/womenatthetop

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About our bloggers

Liz Bolshaw

Liz Bolshaw is a business journalist and editor. She has been a successful book publisher, online editor, magazine editor and publisher.

She was launch editor of the Europe-wide online community Entrepreneur Country, has published magazines for PwC, 3i, dunhill and Bafta, and launched The Sharp Edge, a magazine for and about entrepreneurs, with Duncan Bannatyne. She is a regular contributor to Thomson Reuters’ Venture Capital Journal.

Her last project for the Financial Times was as editor of the paper’s Business Education magazine.

Rebecca Knight

Rebecca Knight is a freelance journalist based in Boston. She writes regularly for the FT on business education, entrepreneurship, and management.

Andrew Hill

Andrew Hill is an associate editor and the management editor of the FT. He was City editor of the FT and editor of the daily Lombard column on British business and finance from September 2006 to December 2010.

He was the FT’s financial editor from June 2005 to September 2006, with overall responsibility for coverage of companies and markets. Before becoming financial editor, he was the FT’s comment & analysis editor, in charge of the paper’s opinion and features pages.

From 1999 to 2003, he was the FT’s New York bureau chief. He joined the FT in 1988 and has also worked as foreign news editor, UK companies reporter and correspondent in Brussels and Milan.

Pino Bethencourt

Pino Bethencourt is a professor and leadership expert at IE Business School in Madrid. She is also an author and executive coach.

Lynda Gratton

Lynda Gratton is professor of management practice at London Business School.

Linda Tarr-Whelan

Linda Tarr-Whelan, former ambassador to the UN commission on the status of women, is a Demos distinguished senior fellow.