Monthly Archives: October 2011

In a business environment where competition, employees and teams are becoming more global, and stakeholder groups are more diverse, what are the characteristics of an effective business leader in the 21st century? And where do women fit into this picture?

Rebecca Knight

Catalyst, the non-profit group that aims to expand opportunities for women in business, has published a new study on October 13 that looks at the obstacles male and female high-potential employees experience as their careers advance.

On October 12, the Financial Times published the next Women at the Top page as part of its flagship project on female business leadership.

Liz Bolshaw

Last week, 31-year-old Chelsea Clinton joined the board of internet giant IAC/InterActive Corp, the parent of and CitySearch. This has sparked a lot of interest from right-leaning op-ed columnists, bloggers and tweeters, who have been quick to throw up their collective hands in horror. Her appointment is easy prey to accusations of cosiness: Barry Diller, high-profile media mogul and IAC senior executive, is known to have supported both Bill and Hillary Clinton’s independent runs for the US presidency.

Rebecca Knight

Kristin Forbes has experience at the top of two professions: academia and policy. She is a tenured professor at MIT’s Sloan School of Management and used to serve as a member of the White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, where she was the youngest person to ever hold that position. The mother of three has also recently been honoured as a “Young Global Leader” as part of the World Economic Forum at Davos.

So another tribute to women: the first Nobel peace prize for any woman in seven years goes to three women. It seems the Nobel committee in Oslo has done a broad sweep of female achievement since it gave the prize to another African woman in 2004.

Liz Bolshaw

A new study by Hay Group, the management consultancy, reports that male non-executive directors in Europe’s largest companies are paid an average of 7 per cent more than female non-execs.

Rebecca Knight

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, last year, women made up less than a third of personal financial advisors, 35 per cent of financial analysts and 39 per cent of workers in the securities, commodities, and fund management business. Similarly, the 2010 Catalyst Census of Women Executive Officers found that women comprised less than a quarter of all senior officers in the financial services and insurance industries. It is an imbalance that many companies are keen to rectify.

Rebecca Knight

How does a woman respond when she’s being recruited for a top job that may prove to be just too much of a stretch? And how is that different from how a man reacts in the same circumstances?

Liz Bolshaw

Meg Whitman, who was appointed chief executive of Hewlett-Packard on 22 September 2011, last week announced that she would be drawing a salary of only $1. Her severance package, meanwhile, is just $1.50. Contrast this with outgoing boss Leo Apotheker’s severance package, which is estimated at $13.5m. This is a man who has presided over a fall of 46 per cent – worth about $40bn – in his company’s share value during his 11-month tenure.

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.

For more Women at the Top news, video interviews and other features, visit


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.