Women of the Fortune 500
Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Video game giant Activision Blizzard is making a play for women, Uber fires more than 20 people over HR violations (and makes another big hire), and female CEOs set a new Fortune 500 record. Have a great Wednesday.
• 32 reasons to cheer. The 2017 Fortune 500, which we unveiled this morning, is a milestone for women in business: This year’s list includes 32 female CEOs—the largest number since Fortune began compiling the ranking in 1955. It’s a particularly cheering stat given 2016’s dismal showing, when women held only 21 of the top jobs, a drop from previous years.
This year’s newbies include PG&E’s Geisha Williams—the first-ever Latina CEO to appear on the 500—Hershey chief Michele Buck, Mattel’s Margo Georgiadis, Synchrony Financial CEO Margaret Keane, and Progressive chief Tricia Griffith.
Of course, it’s not all rainbows and unicorns: Female CEOs still account for a mere 6.4% of the total list. And there are just two women of color: Williams and PepsiCo chief Indra Nooyi. But while corporate America still has a long, long way to go, it’s always worth taking a moment to celebrate progress.
Here’s the full list of women CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies: Fortune
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Making a play for women. Fortune’s Michal Lev-Ram has a fascinating profile of Activision Blizzard, which is only the third gaming company ever to appear on the Fortune 500. The game-maker is also notable for its hit Overwatch, which includes a number of female superheroes and has attracted some die-hard female gamers. What remains to be seen: whether Activision can parlay that interest into a broader, more diverse customer base and whether women will flock to its forthcoming esports league. Fortune
• Uber fires... Yesterday, Uber updated employees on the results of its probe into harassment claims—which were promptly leaked to the media. Sources say the company hired Perkins Coie, which reviewed a total of 215 claims related to harassment, discrimination, retaliation, and other HR matters. As a result, the company has fired more than 20 people, some of whom were apparently senior executives. Bloomberg
• …and hires… In a telling piece of related news, Uber has made its second big female hire in as many days: Bozoma Saint John. The former Apple Music exec is joining the company as chief brand officer—i.e. its new face. “Quite frankly, what has happened in the past is nothing that I can control, but I do think there is a real opportunity for the future of Uber and what the vision is going to be,” Saint John told Business Insider. “Having a real seat at the table to be able to do that is really important at this moment in time.” Fortune
• Real deal. The RealReal, the consignment company led by CEO Julie Wainwright, has raised $50 million from PE firm Great Hill Partners in the biggest round led by a female-founded company this year, according to PitchBook. The new funds bring the startup’s grand total to $173 million. Fortune
• Vote of confidence. GM shareholders signaled that they’re still backing CEO Mary Barra—despite the carmaker’s languishing stock price—rejecting hedge-fund manager David Einhorn’s proposal to split the company’s stock into two classes. WSJ
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• Her reality. The Justice Department is charging Reality Leigh Winner, a 25-year-old federal contractor from Georgia, with leaking top-secret government information to the media. Time runs down what we know about the accused leaker so far. Time
• Quitting the Council? U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Nikki Haley says the United States is “looking carefully” at its participation in the U.N. Human Rights Council, arguing that it displays anti-Israel bias and ignores violations by certain countries. NPR
• The clock is ticking? CNN chief political correspondent Dana Bash writes about how an interview with Elaine Chao—in which the transportation secretary spoke candidly about regretting that she did not have children—prompted Bash to open up about her own fertility issues and to encourage women to talk honestly about the realities of the biological clock. Cosmopolitan
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ON MY RADAR
In defense of The Skimm CJR
Ashley Graham shares her run-ins with sexual harassment and abusive relationships Fortune
A very manly Vladimir Putin says he doesn’t have bad days “because I am not a woman” New York Magazine
Amal and George Clooney welcome daughter Ella and son Alexander People
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