Gender equality in the workplace is one of our hot button issues. We’ve talked about the “glass cliff,” the Paycheck Fairness Act, and work-life balance, among other topics. How have female executives fared in recent months? Here are some women professionals in the news:
Abigail Johnson will succeed Ned Johnson as Chairman of Fidelity Investments. The Boston investment firm made the announcement in October. While this has been a long-term succession plan, Johnson will inherit some challenges. Fidelity is no longer the top mutual fund company – Vanguard took on that mantle in 2010. The core of Fidelity’s business, active investment products, has been bruised by investors moving money into passive investments and fixed income. Known for her quiet approach and low profile, it will be interesting to see how she tackles these challenges.
Melanie Healey, who heads Proctor & Gamble’s North America business, will be out next year. The company is struggling with flagging sales and it seems the change is an effort by CEO A.G. Lafley to streamline and cut costs. On the upside for the gender issue, Healey’s successor will be another P&G executive, Carolyn Tastad.
Marissa Mayer has been under the microscope since taking over as CEO of Yahoo In 2012. Yahoo had been weak for years and had seen a revolving door of embattled CEOs. Another example of a woman brought in to save an ailing company? In October, Yahoo reported strong financial performance for the third quarter, which is hopeful, but some doubts remain about Mayer’s long-term strategy and leadership style.
Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) recently announced the appointment of COO Lisa Su as the new CEO, replacing Rory Reed. Along with Intel, AMD is the only other maker of processors for PCs. While good news for gender representation in the C-suite, it’s bad news for equal pay: Su’s annual salary will be $850,000, compared to Reed’s $1 million annually. The company’s explanation? Su is a current employee and subject to a smaller increase.
In more technology appointments, Oracle announced that Larry Ellison would hand the reins to Mark Hurd and Safra Catz as co-CEOs. Catz holds both a JD and MBA and worked in investment banking and corporate merger and acquisitions divisions. She is perhaps best known for being one of the highest paid female executives, an accomplishment we can all get behind.
Denise Morrison, CEO of Campbell Soup Company, is putting talk into practice. In her recent blog post, Morrison emphasizes the need for gender and racial diversity in the C-suite, and talks about her plans to do that at Campbell’s. The post also talks about her interesting upbringing, and it is clear that preparing our daughters for executive positions begins at home. Her mother told her that “ambition is part of femininity” and her father, an executive with Bell and AT&T, would sit down in the evenings and provide tutorials on profit margins, marketing, and sales.