2016 marks progress in hiring female CEOs

After stunted progress in 2015, North American companies took a small, but significant, step toward gender equality in the C-suite, according to an annual study conducted by Strategy&.

The study tracks the gender of incoming executive appointments at the world's 2,500 largest public companies, Spencer Herbst, campaign manager for Strategy&, wrote in a company blog. Last year, companies in North America included in the global list of 2,500 hired just one female CEO, Andrea Greenberg of MSG Networks, a sports and entertainment company, meaning companies actually regressed in improving gender parity at an executive level.

However, this year Strategy& data shows companies are starting to head in the right direction again in three ways. First, the year is on pace to blow 2015 out of the water. Five female CEOs were hired at large North American companies as of Oct. 31, according to the blog. Second, four out of five of these hires were in industries that have historically hired few women as CEOs: financial services and energy. Third, a majority of the women were company insiders. Women CEOs tend to be outside hires and outside hires are also forced out at a higher rate, according to the report. This means companies have been able to retain women leaders and could mean those leaders will stick around longer, both trends that could help improve gender parity at the top.

Here are the five incoming female CEOs in North America's largest public companies, as presented by Strategy&.

  • Ellen Alemany, CEO of CIT Group
  • Shira Goodman, CEO of Staples
  • Tricia Griffith, CEO of Progressive Corporation
  • Vicki Hollub, CEO of Occidental Petroleum
  • Patricia Poppe, CEO of CMS Energy

 

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