Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Get the scoop on GE’s new TV show, meet the woman who took on McDonald’s, and check out a protestor armed only with confetti. Plus, TIME’s annual list of 100 Most Influential People in the World is out–and 40 women made the cut. Have a great Thursday.
• The influencers. TIME‘s annual list of the 100 most influential people came out this morning. Women make a strong showing this year, accounting for nearly half the list. A few who made the cut: Elizabeth Holmes, CEO of Theranos, Fed chair Janet Yellen, actor Reece Witherspoon, Mellody Hobson, president of Ariel Investments, and Supreme Court justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Of course, part of the fun of the TIME 100 is seeing which famous name wrote the essay describing each winner. My personal favorite this year: Kim Kardashian, who was written up by none other than Martha Stewart.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Behind the screens. Fortune‘s Pattie Sellers talks to GE CMO Beth Comstock, the woman behind Breakthrough, the company’s new branded documentary series about science and technology. Comstock explains how the show came to be, taking Fortune all the way back to her first brainstorming meeting with Brian Grazer, the super-producer behind box-office hits like A Beautiful Mind and TV smash Empire.
• Dumping on Draghi. If you followed the coverage of the European Central Bank’s press conference yesterday, you definitely saw Josephine Witt. She’s the woman who attacked ECB president Mario Draghi with a bag of confetti, causing chaos but no injuries. The 21-year-old, who says it was easy to gain access to the conference by pretending to be a journalist, was protesting the lack of democracy at the ECB.
• The exec-ed gap. Harvard’s recent ad for its executive education program featured a professor addressing a class full of students. What’s the big deal? Everyone in the ad is male. While there’s been lots of discussion about whether women are adequately represented in traditional MBA programs, exec-ed programs haven’t faced the same scrutiny. So, Fortune reached out to several big schools to ask about their gender ratios. The results aren’t pretty.
• The First Lady’s body woman. Meet Kristen Jarvis, Michelle Obama’s right-hand woman. Jarvis has worked for the First Lady for seven years, in a jack-of-all-trades role similar to that of President Obama’s “body man.” The bond between Obama and Jarvis is clearly a close one, with Jarvis handling everything from scheduling and travel arrangements to coordinating care for Malia and Sasha. This year, Jarvis is leaving the White House for a new job at the Ford Foundation in New York.
• Super-sized activism. Kathryn Slater-Carter owned two McDonald’s franchises in Daly City, Calif., for nearly 35 years. When McDonald’s didn’t renew its lease with the mall where one of her restaurants was located, she took up the cause of franchisees’ rights. Thanks to her, the California legislature has introduced a bill to protect franchisees from predatory practices by franchisor companies.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Spread the wealth, Meg. And the wealthiest woman in tech is—drumroll!—Meg Whitman. The Hewlett-Packard CEO came in at No.1 in a new ranking from Wealth-X. The firm estimates Whitman’s net worth to be $1.3 billion. No. 2 is Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg with $1.22 billion, followed by Alibaba co-founder Lucy Peng at $1.2 billion.
• A rare sighting. North Korea’s first lady, Ri Sol Ju, has made her first public appearance since last December. While the photos don’t reveal much, the country’s state news agency released images of her laughing and clapping at a soccer match alongside husband Kim Jong Un.
• A bankruptcy break. A bankruptcy court yesterday handed GM CEO Mary Barra some good news amidst its crisis involving its defective ignition switches: The automaker is protected from dozens of legal claims filed before 2009, when GM exited Chapter 11.
• The woman taking on Google. Margrethe Vestager, the EU competition commissioner who has brought antitrust charges against Google, possesses a no-nonsense demeanor, has inspired a character on a hit Danish TV show, and knits elephants (yes, elephants) during meetings.
• Beauty backlash. Dove’s new ad campaign shows women being offered the option to enter a building through a door labeled “beautiful” or a door labeled “average.” While Unilever, Dove’s parent, intended the ad to be empowering to women, it’s proved controversial, with some critics calling it manipulative and patronizing.
• Warren weighs in. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-MA) says Wall Street banks should face new tax penalties to keep them from engaging in risky practices. Speaking at a financial regulation conference in Washington, Warren laid out a broad agenda to rein in Wall Street.
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|There are just some people who are born skinny and with a great metabolism--that is not me... But someone else probably wishes they could walk into a room and make friends with everyone like I can.|
| -- Singer Kelly Clarkson, responding to recent Internet comments on her weight |