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The World’s Most Powerful Women: October 27

Oct 27, 2016

I've written here before about the increased likelihood of a female CEO being targeted by an activist investor. Turns out women chief executives are getting the short end of another stick: They are more likely than their male counterparts to be personally blamed for a company's poor performance.

A new study commissioned by the Rockefeller Foundation found that 80% of press reports about female CEOs involved in a crisis cited the chief executive as the source of the problem. But when a man was in charge, only 31% of stories blamed him.

As Fortune's Valentina Zarya writes, the disparity could be the result of the much-discussed "glass cliff" phenomenon, in which women are often hired to take over already-troubled companies. Research shows that, in a given window of time, 42% of female CEOs were appointed during a period of crisis versus 22% of men.

Whatever the cause, the media's habit of blaming women chief executives for company mishaps could have prolonged consequences. Case in point is the glaring stat unearthed in this Fortune feature about women in corporate America: that since 2004, not a single female Fortune 500 chief who was fired from her job has landed another CEO gig.

clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Swept up

Gultan Kisanak, the female mayor of Turkey's largest and most symbolically important Kurdish-majority city, was detained on charges of belonging to the separatist PKK group that is demanding autonomy for the country's southeast. She's the highest-profile Kurdish political leader to be arrested since the Islamist-rooted government gave itself emergency powers after the failed coup in July.

Bloomberg

About time

U.K. retailer John Lewis has named its first female boss in its 152-year history. Paula Nickolds will become its new managing director in 2017. She started with the company as a graduate trainee in 1994.

BBC

THE AMERICAS

Fox's $20 million woman?

Fox News star Megyn Kelly is in the process of renegotiating her contract with the network, and she's reportedly asking for $20 million a year, which would put her on par with Fox host Bill O’Reilly. Keeping Kelly is a priority for chief executive Rupert Murdoch, who said money isn't an issue in the talks.

Wall Street Journal

A cure for everything

Cori Bargmann's new job has a lofty objection: "to help cure, prevent or manage all disease by the end of the century." The neuroscientist is the president of science for the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative founded by Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his wife Priscilla Chan, a pediatrician. Bargmann talked to NPR about how she's tackling the organization's ambitious goal.

NPR

What not to do

Three marketing gurus swapped horror stories at the Fortune MPW Summit last week. Gail Tifford, Unilever's VP of media and digital engagement, reflected on her ill-fated foray into antibacterial Q-tips. "It was probably the dumbest thing,” she said, and an example of what happens when you become obsessed with marketplace trends rather than the needs of consumers.

Fortune

See you there

Fortune just wrapped up its annual MPW Summit last week, but it's not too soon to look toward what's next. Mark your calendars for the MPW Next Gen Summit on November 29-30, featuring rapidly rising business stars like Apple's Bozoma Saint John, SoulCycle's Melanie Whelan, and designer Rachel Roy.

Fortune

ASIA-PACIFIC

The other woman

South Korean President Park Geun-hye, who recently called for longer presidential terms, is embroiled in a scandal about her relationship with a woman named Choi Soon-sil. Park has admitted to turning to Choi during "difficult" times, but there's speculation that Choi, who has no official government post, may have meddled in state affairs. Opposition lawmakers are demanding that all of Park's presidential advisors and cabinet members resign.

Associated Press

Going all in

There's speculation that India's startup scene could be headed for a crash. If that happens Vani Kola could be the biggest loser. With $650 million raised and stakes in 60 startups, the co-founder of Bangalore-based Kalaari Capital is one of the nation's largest venture investors. “I will never underestimate these entrepreneurs’ ability to think their way out of a problem," she says.

Bloomberg

IN BRIEF

How CST brands’ CEO went from lawyer to C-suite

Fortune

Meet the only female general partner at Alphabet's VC arm

Fortune

Women over 60 are the new "it girls" of fashion and music

Quartz

Why women aren’t making it to the top of financial services firms

Harvard Business Review

How social media is driving the plus-size fashion revolution

Fortune

The Afghan woman on an iconic National Geographic cover was arrested in Pakistan

Buzzfeed

Why it's so dangerous to be a bridesmaid in China

Quartz

Fewer than 1 in 4 women say they would buy Ivanka Trump's clothes

Fortune

PARTING WORDS

"You know what Mr. Speaker, I’m not fascinated by sex. But I am fascinated by the protection of women, and understanding what we’re getting in the Oval Office."

--Fox News host Megyn Kelly, firing back at Newt Gingrich after he said her coverage of Donald Trump's treatment of women indicated her obsession with sex.

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