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The World’s Most Powerful Women: May 23

Good morning, WMPW readers! Corporate America is about to lose its only African-American female CEO, Sophia Coppola is giving Rome’s opera house a boost, and a Nepalese woman climbed Mount Everest for a record seventh time. Want to share some buzz on a powerful woman? You can find me on Twitter at @laurascohn. Have a great Monday!


A blow to Fortune 500 diversity Companies are leaning toward more diversity in the C-suite, but occasionally there will be setbacks. Soon Corporate America will no longer have a female African American CEO. Xerox announced that Ursula Burns, the first such woman to head a Fortune 500 company, will become chairwoman of the company’s hardware business when it divides in two later this year, but she won’t serve as either unit’s CEO. That means the number of female CEOs in the S&P 500 will drop to 19. Burns, for her part, said it was “a sad day for me, but a happy day as well.” Washington Post


An unexpected kiss
Former Fiat CEO Lapo Elkann won an auction prize at the Cannes Film Festival last week and celebrated by kissing auction host Uma Thurman on the lips. But a rep for Thurman says the actress “wasn’t complicit” in the kiss and felt “violated.” A simple “thank you” would have killed him?


Gratzi, Sophia
The city of Rome should thank Sophia Coppola. The Italian capital’s down-and-out opera house is getting a big lift from Coppola’s “La Traviata,” which has costumes by Valentino. It became the venue’s highest grossing opera before it even opened over the weekend.


A new take at the Tate
Frances Morris, the first female director of London’s Tate Modern museum, has overseen ground-breaking exhibitions of women artists such as abstract painter Agnes Martin.
Financial Times


Mounting Everest
Talk about endurance. Lhakpa Sherpa, a Nepalese woman who works in a 7-Eleven in the U.S., just climbed Mount Everest for the seventh time—a record.


Barred in Vietnam
Vietnamese singer Mai Khoi has been barred from running for her country’s legislature by the powerful Communist Party. The singer held concerts in secret to rally support for gender equality just ahead of President Barack Obama’s state visit.
Wall Street Journal


A missing word
Sometimes what you don’t say says a lot. When Tsai Ing-wen, Taiwan’s first female president, gave her inaugural address and spoke about the sensitive “cross-strait relationship” with China, she did not mention the word “consensus,” which irked Chinese officials.


Warren’s woman
A top lieutenant to Warren Buffett characterized exec Kara Raiguel as “high energy, collegial and fast thinking.” And now Raiguel has been named chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway’s General Re unit.
Wall Street Journal


Candid Randi
Randi Zuckerberg, founder and CEO of Zuckerberg Media (and sister of the Facebook CEO), echoed the sentiments of other women and conceded it’s “very difficult” to be a woman in Silicon Valley. “When they got an email from Randi, they thought it was a guy!” she said. “People would be visibly disappointed when they came into the room.”


Back on pointe
Returning to work after maternity leave was a challenging experience for Maria Kowroski, the principal of the New York City Ballet. In an insightful piece about Kowroski’s journey, The New York Times tracks her progress as she tries to cope with an ankle injury and get back in shape physically and emotionally.
New York Times


Poll shows Hillary Clinton’s lead against Trump has shrunk
Wall Street Journal

Director Andrea Arnold wins her third Jury Prize at Cannes

Nasdaq president and COO Adena Friedman on success and managing work-life balance
New York Times

Ousted Thai Prime Minster Yingluck Shinawtra says her country is “suffering” under military
Straits Times

How teenage girls are breaking into competitive chess

Master brewer Kristi McGuire to launch “High Heel” beer brand for women
USA Today


Well, it’s preferable to being dead, isn’t it? I don’t think it’s something you can bother much about. I’m here, I’m reasonably healthy and I’m having fun.
—actress Helena Bonham Carter, who turns 50 this week, on aging.