Women haven’t come such a long way after all — especially in the upper echelons of corporate America. In an analysis of new CEOs last year, Fortune magazine made a fascinating discovery: More men named Jeffrey — and Michael — than women were made CEOs.
The report found that the new crop of CEOs was pretty much the same as always: long-term insiders — which didn’t, as usual, bode well for women.
Boards promoted 20 of the 23 new CEOs (87%) from within the companies’ ranks, Fortune noted. Sixteen of those 20 insiders had spent an average of over two decades with their company.
Last year, just one of the 23 newly appointed CEOs was a woman — Michelle Gass of Kohl’s. She joined the retailer in 2013 from Starbucks and was fast-tracked to the top. That “sorry record,” as Fortune calls it, is even worse than the previous year, when two women were named CEOs.
Women account for over a fourth of all of America’s executive talent. Yet only 17 of the S&P 250 have female CEOs, according to Fortune.
Marc Feigen, founder of the company that produced the CEO report, blames corporations for failing to groom women for top posts. But he also slammed “male bias.”
“You can’t underestimate hidden bias by male bosses, who wrongly convince themselves that women won’t have the drive necessary to succeed,” Feigen told Fortune.