Boss Betty Brief: The FT gets its first female editor-in-chief, a ‘she-build’ is a thing & moreA roundup of the biggest female-powered news across major industries
Here’s the BB breakdown of the biggest female-focused news by industry. Have news to share? Email us at email@example.com.
ADVERTISING & MEDIA: The Financial Times (you know, the pink one) named Roula Khalaf as its new editor-in-chief, the first woman to lead the paper since its founding in 1888. She’s replacing Lionel Barber, who’s stepping down after 14 years in the top newsroom job and 34 years at the paper [FT]. Goodby Silverstein & Partners president Derek Robson wrote a piece titled, “How Putting Women in Leadership Positions Changed Our Agency for the Better: The future is female, and men need to get over it.” In it, the ad man discusses how female leadership was key to Goodby’s growth and positive transformation. It’s pretty insane that this sentiment still needs to be expressed — and backed up with data — but it does, so good on him for doing it. A fave line referencing a down period for the agency when it was primarily led by males partners: “It was like The Hunger Games, but with middle-aged white men” [AdWeek]. Liquor giant Diageo is putting up the funds to bring to New York the Creative Comeback program, which helps female creatives in the ad industry rejoin the workforce after extended leaves [Ad Age]. Hi’s and bye’s: Following the completion of the merger between Viacom and CBS engineered by Shari Redstone, Viacom Media Networks chief operating officer Sarah Levy will exit [THR].
FINANCE: Apple Card, a joint venture between Apple, Mastercard and Goldman Sachs, is getting blowback for what appears to be gender bias in the way credit is awarded to its customers. Following a widely-circulated tweet by a prominent software developer saying that the fairly new-to-the-U.S. Apple Card awarded him a credit limit 20x what it gave his wife, who has a better credit score than he and with whom he shares all of his assets (he lives in a community-property state), New York State launched a bias investigation into the card. A representative for Goldman said, “Our credit decisions are based on a customer’s creditworthiness and not on factors like gender, race, age, sexual orientation or any other basis prohibited by law.” The issue of unintentional bias in banking, which could be at play here, is not new to the financial industry — in recent years the use of algorithms to make lending decisions has not always played out as objectively as bankers (and consumers) had hoped [NYT & Bloomberg]. Nasdaq, led by CEO Adena Friedman, announced that it is selling its faltering energy futures business [WSJ]. President of Northern Trust Asset Management Shundrawn Thomas was the first person of color in a top-tier executive position at the investment management firm and is using his platform to advocate for women and minorities in the financial industry [InvestmentNews]. Hi’s and bye’s: Morningstar chief product officer Tricia Rothschild is leaving the company after 26 years to pursue other unspecified opportunities [Investment News].
LAW: Women made up 41.3 percent of lawyers promoted to partner in 2019, up from 38.9 percent last year, according to a new report surveying 138 major U.S. firms. Fifty-one of those firms had an even gender split in promotions or more women promoted than men [Bloomberg Law].
MANUFACTURING & RETAIL: A week after McDonald’s CEO was fired because of an inappropriate relationship with a subordinate, an employee filed a suit against the burger chain alleging that a manager sexually assaulted her and that the company promotes a culture of sexual harassment. McDonald’s employees in Michigan are set to strike soon in protest of its handling of such allegations and to demand a labor union [NYT]. Gwyneth Paltrow said that a line of food products could be next for her wellness company, Goop [NYT]. Hi’s and bye’s: Le Tote chief merchandising officer Ruth Hartman was named president of Lord + Taylor, which Le Tote acquired in a deal that just closed last week [Retail Dive]. Siemens named Hanna Hennig as its next chief information officer, effective in January. Hennig currently serves as CIO at the lighting manufacturer Osram, which used to be part of Siemens [WSJ].
REAL ESTATE: “She build” is a thing, according to developer MaryAnne Gilmartin, and we’re super on board with it. As defined by Gilmartin, who was chief executive of Forest City Ratner before founding the real estate development company L&L MAG, a she-build is a commercial real estate project entirely led by women. In Toronto, Urban Capital’s Taya Cook and Spotlight Development’s Sherry Larjani put together an all-women team to develop a 200-unit condo building. A she-build. Women had a paltry 4 percent of senior investment roles at big real estate firms back in 2011 and those numbers purportedly have changed little in the years since — hence the need for she-builds [NYT]. WeWork is selling its stake in the female co-working company The Wing as it seeks to rights its seemingly sinking financial ship. It was recently revealed that WeWork’s Chief Legal Officer and President Jennifer Berrent, who serves on The Wing’s board, was named as a defendant in a pregnancy discrimination claim filed against WeWork. As part of WeWork’s divestiture, Berrent is expected to leave The Wing’s board [Bloomberg]. In the latest chapter in a two-year legal battle, real estate agent Natasha Page is suing Douglas Elliman broker Jason Walker for discrimination, alleging that, when the two worked together at CORE, Walker “repeatedly made derogatory and offensive comments” to her [TRD].
SCIENCE & HEALTHCARE: Health insurance provider Anthem, led by Gail Boudreaux, landed at No. 7 in the top 100 list of most “just” companies in the U.S. based on criteria ranging from fair pay and ethical leadership to customer privacy and environmental impact, according to a report by Forbes and Just Capital. Anthem was awarded first place for shareholder treatment [Forbes].
TECH & ENGINEERING: #AlgoProblems, amirite? But actually, this is no laughing matter: Following a widely-circulated tweet by a prominent software developer saying that the new-to-the-U.S. Apple Card awarded him a credit limit 20x what it gave his wife, who has a better credit score than he and with whom he shares all of his assets (he lives in a community-property state), New York State launched a bias investigation into the card. Other Twitter users, including Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, took to the platform to share similar issues of what appeared to be gender bias in how spending limits were set. The card is a joint venture between Apple, Mastercard and Goldman Sachs [NYT]. Following that news, the New York Times took a look at how bias is being baked into A.I. systems that rely on digitized books and articles for learning, mimicking the way children often take on the same bad behaviors as their parents. The very 21st century threat that this poses cannot be overstated — we risk undoing the progress we’ve made against discrimination of all kinds (no matter how slow and incremental it’s been) and falling into the trap of repeating terrible episodes of history ad infinitum [NYT]. Microsoft, which is facing a pending proposed class-action gender discrimination suit, released data breaking down its racial and gender diversity numbers by levels of management for the first time. Here are a handful of important data points: women make up 27.6 percent of employees companywide; women have 19.3 percent of executive positions; women make up 25.4 percent of all jobs with management responsibilities; and women make up 28 percent of employees with no management responsibilities. That last point is interesting since it shows that the largest representation of women is in lower-tier roles [Fortune]. Esteemed computer security expert Dawn Song is building a platform that would enable individuals to control their own data and decide whether to sell it to companies for compensation [NYT]. Ex-Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, infamous for the toxic, brotastic culture he sowed at the ride-hail company, sold half a billion dollars worth of his Uber shares last week, just another dude in the long line of ousted tech execs profiting off the messes they made [Guardian]. Female-founded companies take “substantially” less time to exit and the number of exits for startups founded by women is growing at a faster rate than those founded by just men, according to a new report from PitchBook and All Raise. Show us the money!!! [PitchBook]. Eight tech companies made it into the top 10 of a list of the 100 most “just companies” in the U.S. based on criteria ranging from fair pay and ethical leadership to customer privacy and environmental impact, according to a report by Forbes and Just Capital. Given what we write in this space every day, that’s … interesting. Perhaps that says more about the relative level of just-ness being considered than it does about the companies who made the cut [Forbes].
If there’s no relevant news of note to share in a given sector, we skip it for the day. Did we miss something? Let us know at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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