Skip to Content

The World’s Most Powerful Women: July 25

Did the IMF make the right call when it re-appointed Christine Lagarde to a second five-year term as managing director in February? It’s a question that’s raising eyebrows, now that a French court has ruled Lagarde must face trial for alleged negligence over a €405 million government payout to French tycoon Bernard Tapie.

Lagarde, whose lawyer said allegations in the long-running dispute are “without merit,” failed last Friday in her attempt to have the case dismissed. At issue is the payment made to Tapie, a backer of former President Nicolas Sarkozy, to settle a dispute with Credit Lyonnais in 2008. Lagarde was France’s finance minister at the time.

While the IMF said in a statement its board has “confidence” in Lagarde’s ability to “effectively carry out her duties,” others aren’t so sure. As Stephane Bonifassi, a criminal lawyer in Paris, told Bloomberg: “Being accused of negligence in handling public funds when at the head of an organization that regularly lectures states” is “a bit contradictory.”

It would seem the case, which does not have a trial date yet, threatens to draw a dark cloud over Lagarde’s second term at the helm of the IMF, which, after all, is an organization that prides itself on having a strong moral authority.

Laura Cohn

@laurascohn

Check out Fortune’s new podcast, Fortune Unfiltered with Aaron Task, launching today. It features in-depth conversations with the brightest leaders in business. Today’s podcast includes Beth Comstock, vice chair of GE, and No. 50 on Fortune‘s Most Powerful Women list.

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

Theresa May’s growing to-do list
The Women’s Equality party of Britain has high hopes for Theresa May’s first 100 days. The party is asking the new prime minister for a series of female-friendly acts, including universal childcare and gender parity in parliament.
Guardian

.



Another Le Pen pushes Frexit
Marine Le Pen isn’t the only French politician pushing for “Frexit.” In an interview with the Telegraph, Marion Marechal-Le Pen, the MP and niece of the French far-right leader, says “Brexit opens an avenue for us.” She adds Frexit will happen “if” her aunt becomes president. But that’s a big “if.”
Telegraph

THE AMERICAS



Marissa Mayer, $57 million woman?
It appears that Marissa Mayer will get that massive $57 million severance payout after all, now that Verizon has won the drawn-out bidding war for Yahoo’s core internet business. The roughly $5 billion deal, expected to be announced by tomorrow, is likely to mark the end of Mayer’s four-year tenure as CEO of Yahoo.
Fortune

.



Hillary picks Tim
As expected, Hillary Clinton named a “safe” pick to be her running mate: Tim Kaine, the mild-mannered Virginia senator considered more workhorse than showhorse. Kaine, who is fluent in Spanish, has a history of standing up to the Gun Lobby, which could help Clinton win over suburban female voters. If you want a behind-the-scenes look at Clinton, I recommend reading this Guardian piece. Meanwhile, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz has decided to step down in the wake of the publication of hacked emails showing the organization favored Clinton over Bernie Sanders in the primaries.
Fortune

.



FLOTUS takes the podium
It’s the DNC’s turn. Michelle Obama is scheduled to speak at the Democratic confab tonight in Philadelphia and could talk more about race and gender than she did when she spoke to the DNC in 2008. Speaking of that speech, I wonder whether she will address the kerfuffle over Melania Trump’s remarks, too.
Wall Street Journal

.



Speaking up about harassment
There are a couple of updates to the big story last week about the downfall of Roger Ailes of Fox News. Fortune‘s Claire Zillman reports that the high-profile resignation of Ailes amid claims of sexual harassment could encourage more women to speak up about the issue. And the New York Times ran a piece over the weekend based on interviews with nearly 20 women at the network and the Fox Business Network who said they either were victims of harassment or observed it.
Fortune

ASIA-PACIFIC



Making progress in Vietnam
Female entrepreneurs are making inroads in Vietnam, where they now make up roughly one quarter of those who start businesses. Women are hosting events to support startups such as the recent “Sogal Vietnam Summit,” and have received funding from top investors such as Warburg Pincus and veteran Mark Mobius.
Deal Street Asia

.



Aiming for equality
Female archers in Mongolia hope to pave the way for other athletes at the country’s Olympic-like sports competition, called Naadam. The women, who were only allowed entry to the sport in the 1960s, say they find competing in the annual event empowering.
Broadly

IN BRIEF


Michael Bloomberg to endorse Hillary Clinton at the DNC
Fortune


How Clinton’s campaign plans to go after Trump
Time


Airbnb tapped former mayors, including Houston’s Annise Parker, to fight regulations
Fortune


Meet Deidre Dinnigan, the archivist of the Waldorf Astoria
New York Times


Sallie Krawcheck on why women should invest
Denver Post


U.S. hurdler Kendra Harrison breaks world record
Wall Street Journal


Ivanka Trump’s RNC speech had a powerful tactic you can use in your next presentation
Fortune


Marvel’s first female superhero to be played by Brie Larson
Harper's Bazaar

 

PARTING WORDS

When you talk as a woman, you will face challenges from men here. You will be accused of speaking against men. They will always try to stop you from speaking on behalf of women.
—author Zahra Yaganah, whose book about abuse, Light of Ashes, is one of the fastest-selling books in Afghanistan