This blog is no longer updated but it remains open as an archive.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


Videos

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.

Women at the Top blog: a guide

Comment: To comment, please register with FT.com. Register for free here. Please also read the FT's comments policy here.
Contact: You can write to our authors using this email format: firstname.surname@ft.com
Time: UK time is shown on our posts.
Follow the blog: Links to the Twitter and RSS feeds are at the top of the blog.
FT blogs: See the full range of the FT's blogs here.

Tags

Archive

« DecNovember 2014
M T W T F S S
 12
3456789
10111213141516
17181920212223
24252627282930

Blog

Liz Bolshaw

’Tis the season, not of mists, but of lists: 12 days of Christmas; three kings; 10 most valuable chief executives.

George Paz (chief executive of St Louis-based pharmacy benefit manager, Express Scripts), Steve Jobs (the late chief executive of Apple) and Louis Camilleri (Philip Morris International) all feature in the top 10 of an end-of-year ranking of chief executives (rated by how much wealth they have created for their companies). There are no prizes for guessing what is missing.

In fact you have to scroll down to number 111 before you find a female chief executive – Carol Meyrowitz, of TJX, the discount retailer, and 14th in the FT’s top 50 women in business.

The list, compiled by Chief Executive, the US magazine, ranks chief executives of Fortune 500 companies by a set of financial performance metrics including total shareholder return, for the 36 months to June 30 2011 and ranks only those who have been in post for the whole three years.

In spite of all the efforts to support women’s careers, and all the research that shows diversity to be a performance advantage, the fact remains that too few women are making it to the top.

Research by Catalyst, a non-profit organisation focusing on women and work issues, discussed here, reveals that only 3.2 per cent of the chief executives of Fortune 500 companies are women – 17 of the 500. In fact the percentage of female chief executives of Fortune 500 companies has increased only from 0.2 per cent in 1995 to 3.2 per cent today.

Change takes time. In 1890 no woman on the planet had a vote, and it took a century for universal suffrage to spread to 96 per cent of countries (1994).

This is my 168th post for this blog since we launched on October 13 last year. In that time I have written some 60,000 words on the general subject of diversity and women in leadership and interviewed academics, researchers, chief executives and policymakers. There is far more consensus than disagreement: only the question of compulsory quotas has engendered real debate.

We have learnt that even in countries that have significantly broadened women’s access to high-paid positions, this does not necessarily translate into the boardroom. According to the US Bureau of Labor Statistics (2010), women occupy more than 50 per cent of high-paying management and professional positions, but just 16.1 per cent of board seats.

We have also discovered there is no correlation between economic development and diversity. In Europe, where not quite 12 per cent of board members are female, women hold 17 per cent of board positions in Bulgaria and Latvia.

As I watch the mounting excitement of my sons and daughter as Christmas approaches, I hope that by the time they make their career choices a decade from now, this blog will appear a quaint irrelevance.

Happy holidays to all our readers.

 

Rebecca Knight

With the recent financial crisis helping to push board accountability into the spotlight, Lucy P. Marcus, professor of leadership and governance at IE Business School in Madrid, is urging companies to be more open to non-traditional candidates for their boards. (more…)

Liz Bolshaw

A new study shows that diversity has flatlined in America’s largest companies.

Catalyst, a US-based think-tank,  tracks the composition of supervisory boards, executive teams and high earners in Fortune 500 companies to give an annual snapshot of diversity progress in some of the world’s largest and best-known organisations.

(more…)

Liz Bolshaw

A recent study by Washington-based Corporate Women Directors International shows the impact of quotas on increasing the diversity of company boards in Europe. (more…)

Liz Bolshaw

US-based membership organisation Women Corporate Directors (WCD) yesterday announced the winners of its 2012 WCD Awards. (more…)

Liz Bolshaw

“We are good at looking at what potential looks like – this man, this woman has got the right stuff. We are also good at identifying traits and behaviours that make good leaders. But we are less good at identifying the experiences, the key job assignments that a career needs to have.”

(more…)

Liz Bolshaw

It is not the first time that the diversity debate has moved from the executive to the owners of the UK’s largest companies, but this week’s launch of an investor action group adds muscle to that discussion. (more…)

Liz Bolshaw

Irene Rosenfeld rises to head the Financial Times’ list of the top 50 women in world business in a year defined by her decision to split Kraft Foods into two separate entities. (more…)

Rebecca Knight

Janice Reals Ellig, the co-chief executive of Chadick Ellig, the New York City-based executive search firm, has made it her life’s work to get more women on corporate boards. (more…)

Rebecca Knight

Niall FitzGerald, former chief executive of Unilever and chairman of Thomson Reuters, spoke last week at Brandeis University’s International Business School, just outside of Boston, about the qualities of good, strong leaders. (more…)

RSS News