We keep hearing that companies will be more successful if they appoint more women to their senior teams, regardless of the compelling evidence to the contrary. Some even claim that having more female CEOs will improve companies’ performance. So what’s the evidence? About four months ago we reported that Cynthia Carroll, CEO of Anglo-American (a FTSE100 company) had presided over a drop in the company’s value of £9 BILLION in just five years:
Now we wouldn’t want to be accused of cherry picking examples to support our arguments – we’ll leave such tactics to our opponents – so what’s the bigger picture of the performance of female CEOs? A comment has just been left on ‘A Voice for Men’ in response to my article about forming a new political party, and I thank the writer warmly. Enjoy:
in response to Mike Buchanan:
Hey, Mike – I just finished a bit of research you might find useful in your Campaign for Merit in Business. Hope this helps:
In the year 2010, according to a list compiled by CNN/Money, there were 15 women CEO’s in the Fortune 500 Companies, and this number grew to 21 women CEO’s by 2012. But I was curious – how had the original 15 high-powered women of 2010 fared in two years as leaders of their superpower companies?
Two years is admittedly not too high a bar – I mean, hell, Sarah Palin lasted over two years and seven months out of her four-year term as governor of Alaska before she gave up and bolted away – so these talented women probably did at least as okay, right? I mean, feminism, for all of its faults, can’t be THAT wrong, can it?
Oops – sorry, ladies. The two-year results for the 15 gal CEOs of 2010 were not so good at all.
Of the original 15, only 5 women were still in their same top jobs by 2012 (Burns at Xerox, Kullman at DuPont, Meryowitz at TJX, Nooyi at PepsiCo, and Woertz at ADM). Kraft Foods broke up into smaller companies in 2012, and their former CEO Irene Rosenfeld still leads one of the child companies now called Mondelez International, so we can sort of count her as survivor #6.
Now, of these 6 survivors, 2 of them saw their companies decline in the Fortune rankings – TJX fell from #119 to #125, and ADM fell from #27 to #28. 3 women CEO’s saw their companies move up the list, and of course, in the case of #6, it is easy to guess that when Kraft broke up, the ranking of their offspring companies is likely lower than their former #53 rank.
So after just 2 years, only 3 of 15 women CEOs (20 percent) were successful, in that they both kept their jobs and their company rankings grew within the Fortune 500. But don’t despair – I’m sure the other 12 lasses have amassed large shoe collections, and now that they are, or will be, employed as lorry drivers, they can transport their shoes with relative ease.