« What does becoming a parent mean for your career? | Main | International careers - the importance of role-modelling female assignees! »

04 November 2014

Where in the world are female CEOs?

A study earlier this year by our colleagues at Strategy& revealed some fascinating trends about women CEOs over the past 10 years. The findings have continued to resonate with journalists around the world, and have remained relevant due to the splash of articles on global women CEOs and women in the technology field.


The key findings of the study are as follows. Over the last 10 years:

More women are becoming CEOs slowly but surely. Over the past decade, there have been 75 percent more women CEOs in the incoming than outgoing classes. However, women still make up only 3.4 percent of CEOs around the world.

Women more often led in North America and least in Japan: most often led in IT and least in Materials.

Women were more often hired from the outside than men.

Women were forced out of office more often than men.

These findings all deserve further probing and we’ll explore them in a series of Gender Agenda Blogs. But the first thing I wanted to understand was: who and where are these female CEOs? We hear a lot about certain female CEOs – Marissa Mayer at Yahoo and Indra Nooyi at Pepsico immediately come to mind. But who are these other stellar woman and which countries do they lead in?

The number of female chief executives in the Fortune Global 500 rose to a record 17 this year. This deserves our attention. The study from Fortune reveals that Fortune 1000 companies with female CEOs recorded an average return of 103.4% over the course of the female CEO's tenure, much higher than the 69.5% average return for the S&P 500 Index, which looks at the combined performance of the largest companies on the market.

In addition to these encouraging numbers on average returns, the study also found that although only 5% of Fortune 1000 companies have female CEOs, they generate 7% of Fortune 1000's total revenue.

The following is a list of these stellar 17 women around the world, and the companies they lead:

1. Mary Barra, Chief Executive of General Motors Co., also the first female CEO of a major global auto manufacturer.

2. Maria das Graças Silva Foster, CEO of Petrobras-Petróleo Brasil (Petrobras); she is also the first woman in the world to head a major oil-and-gas company.

3. Meg Whitman, the president and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Company (HP).

4. Ginni Rometty, Chief Executive of IBM and the first woman to head the company.

5. Pat Woertz, the President and Chief Executive of Archer Daniels Midland Company (ADM)


6. Karen Agustiawan, the president and CEO of Pertamina, an Indonesian state-owned oil and natural gas corporation. 

7. Indra Nooyi, Chief Executive of PepsiCo Inc.

8. Marillyn Hewson, Chief Executive of Lockheed Martin, the aerospace and defense company.

9. Gail Kelly, Chief Executive of Westpac Banking.

10. Nishi Vasudeva, Chief Executive of Hindustan Petroleum, also the first woman to lead an Indian oil company.

11. Arundhati Bhattacharya, Chief Executive of State Bank of India, the country’s largest bank.

12. Ellen Kullman, Chief Executive of DuPont.

13. Irene B. Rosenfeld, Chief Executive of Mondelēz International .

14. Phebe Novakovic, Chief Executive of General Dynamics, American aerospace and defense company.

15. Carol Meyrowitz, Chief Executive of TJX, also the highest paid woman running an American Global 500 company.

16. Li Dang, Chief Executive of China General Technology, China’s state owned machinery and pharmaceuticals conglomerate.

17. Lynn Good, president and chief executive officer of of Duke Energy.

Watch this space for the next installment on the Women CEOs of the Last 10 Years Study … what we found, what was remarkable, and most important, what we can learn from the data.



TrackBack URL for this entry:

Listed below are links to weblogs that reference Where in the world are female CEOs?:


Interesting list and information, thanks.

This is right wave in the next 10 years to come. Women are more aggressive and well educated to give their counterparts (male) a run for their money. And since we are more profitable organisations should rethink their management styles and install more women in these positions. Kudos to all women CEOs out there.

Verify your Comment

Previewing your Comment

This is only a preview. Your comment has not yet been posted.

Your comment could not be posted. Error type:
Your comment has been saved. Comments are moderated and will not appear until approved by the author. Post another comment

The letters and numbers you entered did not match the image. Please try again.

As a final step before posting your comment, enter the letters and numbers you see in the image below. This prevents automated programs from posting comments.

Having trouble reading this image? View an alternate.


Post a comment

Comments are moderated, and will not appear until the author has approved them.