Friday, January 2, 2009

Women CEOs slowly gain on Corporate America

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"The year 2008 knew no gender in its devastation. The S&P 500 fell 38.5%, its worst year since 1937. But the S&P 500 performed 4 percentage points better than the average large company run by a female CEO, down 42.7%. The best-performing of the firms led by women was Kraft Foods (KFT), down 18% under Irene Rosenfeld. Sunoco (SUN) fell 40% for 2008, but lost just 4% since promoting Lynn Elsenhans to CEO on Aug. 8 (the S&P 500 fell 30% that same period).

The year was bad enough to obliterate career performance. Nine of the 12 companies have now lost money for any shareholder who invested on the day the women got the job. The only exceptions: Susan Ivey at tobacco company Reynolds American (RAI) and the two most-tenured women, Andrea Jung at Avon (AVP) and Anne Mulcahy at Xerox (XRX). Avon is up 65% during Jung's nine years, and Xerox is up 1% during Mulcahy's 6 1/2 years. Reynolds is up 21% since Ivey began in 2004."

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