The World’s Most Powerful Women: May 4

May 4, 2016, 4:56 AM UTC

Good morning, WMPW readers! Isabelle Kocher has become the only CEO of a CAC40 company, New Zealand’s Helen Clark has launched her bid for the UN’s top job, and Adele makes yet another list of powerful people. Need to spread some news about a powerful woman? Get in touch, at: or @laurascohn. Enjoy your Wednesday!


French woman cracks CAC40 ceiling

French energy exec Isabelle Kocher has just been annointed CEO of Engie, making her the only woman to head a company in the benchmark CAC40 stock index. Before her promotion, Kocher was deputy to former chief Gerard Mestrallet and also served as CFO. While the number of female CEOs in Europe has edged up a bit in recent years, it is still relatively rare. Kocher, one of Fortune's Most Powerful Women, is the first woman to head a CAC40 firm since Patricia Russo led Alcatel-Lucent eight years ago. Kocher is well known in the business community, and the French press says her early moves will be watched closely.Bloomberg


Adele, powerful mum
A list of the 50 Most Powerful Moms is out, and it includes a number of names well known by regular readers of WMPW. Naturally, the roster includes Adele, Beyonce, and Chelsea Clinton. But it also features members of Fortune's Most Powerful Women, such as Abigail JohnsonSheryl Sandberg, and Margarita Louis-Dreyfus.


Silicon Valley of Africa
Tunisian entrepreneur Leila Ben Gacem is trying to breathe life back into her country's economy by hiring artists and designers for her company Blue Fish, a consultancy that helps small creative businesses market and brand themselves. Despite a challenging geopolitical and economic environment, Tunis has been called the "Silicon Valley of Africa."
New York Times


Calling the nanny state
Has the workplace become less friendly for pregnant women and new mothers in the U.K.? A new study says such women increasingly face discriminatory practices such as reduced hours and the termination of contracts.


Shooting for the top job
Former New Zealand Prime Minister Helen Clark launched her bid to become the first woman to lead the United Nations by talking about gender. Clark, one of four women up for secretary general, said she "never asked for supporters because I'm a woman." Clark is expected to travel to each of the five countries on the UN Security Council to promote her campaign.


Spreading goodwill
In other UN news, Australian actress Cate Blanchett was named a goodwill ambassador for the UN refugee agency. Blanchett joins a list of Hollywood female stars, such as Mira Sorvino, Angelina Jolie, and Emma Watson, who've held such positions.


Carly Fiorina sets a record
Now that Ted Cruz has exited the U.S. presidential race, Carly Fiorina has set a record, albeit of a dubious sort. She just wrapped up the shortest vice presidential run in U.S. history.
Washington Post


A serious FLOTUS?
In the latest profile of Melania Trump, The New Yorker reports the potential First Lady is "privately pleasant," but never cracks a joke about her husband. Instead, she is loyal to a tee. Of his famous hairdo, she has said, "I like him the way he is."
New Yorker


Flexibility that built an empire
When Stella & Dot CEO Jessica Herrin started her company 13 years ago (while pregnant), she says her main goal was to create an "opportunity for women that was more flexible." Inspired by makeup company Mary Kay, Herrin has turned the accessories company into a multi-million dollar business. She has achieved her goal—and then some.

Apres un bebe
A new job marketplace called "Apres" is aimed at women who are re-entering the workforce after having a baby. The site, cofounded by Jennifer Gefsky and Niccole Kroll, is expected to launch today.
Fast Company


Early polls show Hillary Clinton would trump Trump in election
New York Times

New Bloomberg gender equality index reveals who's investing in women

How to put Marissa Mayer's potential $55m payout into context

Women in tech and finance have a harder time getting pregnant

The chief digital officer of New York's Metropolitan Museum of Art says he's boycotting all-male panels

Women's colleges are still competitive and attractive
New York Times


I really do not want to die before closing the pay gap, which stands, in our great and supposedly modern capital city, at 23%.
— actress Emma Thompson, referring to London