by Patricia Sellers
Here we are in 2011, and how odd is it that only a dozen Fortune 500 companies have female CEOs?
This despite plenty of evidence that placing women in key positions pays off for investors.
Maybe it's coincidental -- at least it's worth noting -- that two of the Dow 30 companies that delivered the best stock-market gains in 2010 are run by women.
One is Dupont (DD), whose CEO, Ellen Kullman, was profiled by my colleague Carol Loomis in last year's Fortune 500 issue. Since taking charge at DuPont in January 2009, Kullman has reversed decades of moribund performance and dismal results.
Indeed, the 48.1% pop in DuPont's shares last year was second-best, behind Caterpillar's (CAT) 64.3%, on the Dow. (Tractors and backhoe loaders, you can't get more macho than that.)
Kullman and the bosses at Caterpillar (CEO Douglas Oberhelman succeeded Jim Owens as CEO last July) have been at their companies for decades. (Hmm, maybe outsider CEOs are overrated.) The Dow's other winning woman, by measure of 2010 stock-market performance, is almost a lifer at Kraft Foods (KFT). But Irene Rosenfeld needed a brief stint at PepsiC0 (PEP), running Frito-Lay, to collect the cred to become Kraft's chief executive in 2006.
Revamping Kraft has been a mighty challenge for Rosenfeld. For one thing, a shareholder named Warren Buffett threw cold water on her $19 billion acquisition of candy maker Cadbury a year ago. But she persisted and prevailed. Kraft shares rose 15.9% last year (vs. the Dow's 11% average gain). Investors who reinvested dividends got a 20.5% return.
Meanwhile, No. 1 on Fortune's Most Powerful Woman list, PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, eked out a 6.4% stock-market gain. More work to do in 2011. One tactic up her sleeve: paying big money for Pepsi to sponsor The X Factor, the Simon Cowell-backed talent competition show that will go up against American Idol -- starring Coke (KO) -- this fall.
Leadership, essentially, is about inspiring others to carry on a mission. The leadership opportunity compounds in a connected, viral, global community.
Here's how leadership can spread: In 2006, Fortune and the U.S. State Department launched the Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership. Every year since then, we've selected two dozen or more of the best and brightest young women leaders in developing countries and invited them to the U.S. to shadow women MOREPatricia Sellers - Aug 10, 2009 12:43 PM ET
The ouster of Bank of America's (BAC) chief risk officer, Amy Brinkley, was inevitable, as I wrote in "Behind the shakeup at BofA" on Friday.
And as I mentioned in that piece, two years ago, Fortune featured Brinkley and five other execs in "One Step Away," about rising-star Most Powerful Women on track to be CEOs of Fortune 500 companies someday. So what's happened to the other five?
One woman made it MOREPatricia Sellers - Jun 8, 2009 12:31 PM ET
by Patricia Sellers
Procter & Gamble (PG) lost its president today: Susan Arnold, a 29-year veteran who drove the company's high-margin beauty business to $20 billion in sales and went on to oversee all of P&G's brands, stepped down one day after her 55th birthday.
"My dad retired at 62," Arnold said, phoning this afternoon on her way to a Walt Disney (DIS) board meeting. "Then he got really sick. You know MOREPatricia Sellers - Mar 9, 2009 2:57 PM ET
My Fortune colleague Geoff Colvin writes in our March 2 issue that a few companies--DuPont (DD) and Colgate-Palmolive (CL) and McDonald's (MCD), to name three--are working overtime to preserve their brand equity in this downturn. Instead of discounting, they are, in some cases, actually raising prices.
Another company loathe to cut prices: Starbucks (SBUX). As I've noted on Postcards, CEO Howard Schultz told me last year that the smartest decision he MOREPatricia Sellers - Mar 3, 2009 2:31 PM ET
On Friday, I left you with a promise: that I'd find something new and proactive to do to answer President Obama's call to "responsibility"--which seems to be the buzzword of his Administration.
I found my "to do" this weekend--but before I tell you what I decided on, let me share briefly what I spent yesterday working on. Carrie Welch, my onetime Fortune colleague and former Most Powerful Women Summit co-chair, and MOREPatricia Sellers - Mar 2, 2009 2:10 PM ET
This year started off with a bang - at least in terms of coming and goings of powerful people. Which Postcards is largely about.
This week, I told you about Liz Dolan, once Nike's (NKE) global marketing boss, joining Oprah Winfrey to be CMO of her new venture, the OWN cable network. And yesterday, my colleague Jessica Shambora wrote about Ellen Kullman, No. 15 on the Fortune Most Powerful Women list, MOREPatricia Sellers - Jan 9, 2009 2:56 PM ET
by Jessica Shambora
When Ellen Kullman stepped into the CEO role at DuPont (DD) this month, she became the 13th female Fortune 500 CEO. That's a milestone. But Kullman's ascension passed with little fanfare. She addressed employees in a year-end video on DuPont's intranet site but has yet to address them as a group or to send out a company-wide email since the start of the year.
Why so quiet? Well, unlike MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Jan 8, 2009 2:31 PM ET
We've spent the last three months slicing and dicing the accomplishments and career histories of the most powerful women in business -- far too many facts and figures to fit into our Most Powerful Women package in the magazine. Here are 10 intriguing facts that we couldn't find space for in print:
Youngest woman to ever appear on the list: Marissa Mayer, VP of Search and User Experience at Google (GOOG). MOREJessica Shambora, Writer-Reporter - Sep 30, 2008 12:11 PM ET
Men think about power vertically -- and focus on rank and status and size. Women think about power horizontally -- it's largely about influence. I know I'm in trouble already. This is a stereotype, indeed. But in more than a decade of asking women leaders -- and the men they work with -- how they define power, I've discovered this to be an remarkably consistent truth. My favorite definition of MOREPatricia Sellers - Jul 10, 2008 10:51 AM ET
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