EDITORIAL: How Many Women Run Major Companies? Not Enough

EDITORIAL
Chicago Tribune

WWR Article Summary (tl;dr) How many female CEOs would you guess are at the helm of Fortune 500 companies? At last count there were 32, including Ilene Gordon who is retiring from Ingredion and Irene Rosenfeld CEO of Mondelez who will also be leaving. That means just 6 percent of the nation’s highest-profile CEOs are women.

Chicago Tribune

Ilene Gordon announced her retirement Monday as one of the most important Chicago-area CEOs you’ve never heard of: Her west suburban company, Ingredion, makes ingredients for other food companies, so if you like your pop to taste sweet or your baked tortilla chips to be crunchy, you can thank her.

That’s one reason to take note of Gordon’s departure. The other reason is that she is a valuable role model, one of the few female leaders at the nation’s 500 largest companies.

Gordon will be succeeded by Jim Zallie, thus reducing the ranks of female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies.

This repeats the circumstances at another big food company, Deerfield-based Mondelez International, the maker of Oreo cookies and Ritz crackers.

At Mondelez, CEO Irene Rosenfeld also will be succeeded by a man, Dirk Van de Put.

How many female CEOs would you guess are at the helm of Fortune 500 companies? At last count there were 32, including Gordon and Rosenfeld. That means just 6 percent of the nation’s highest-profile CEOs are women.

That’s shockingly low representation, more so because Fortune said in June that 32 women in the top spots was a record high for the list. There were 21 female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies in 2016.

Women make up almost half the overall workforce. They do well in the white collar world, as long as it’s fields such as human resources (74 percent of positions) and marketing and sales management (46 percent).

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