The World’s Most Powerful Women: October 7

October 7, 2016, 6:44 AM UTC

Jennifer Reingold’s latest feature for Fortune is a dive into the ousting of Italian-born Federica Marchionni as CEO of U.S. clothing retailer Lands’ End. Marchionni was a flashy and wholly unorthodox choice for the sometimes frumpy, always practical retailer given her background: roles at luxury brands Dolce & Gabbana and Ferrari. But that was the point. Lands’ End’s board wanted an outsider with fresh ideas to remake the struggling company known for its coats, bathing suits, and monogrammed carry-all bags, and so in 2015, she became its sixth CEO in 13 years.

But the board’s out-of-the-box selection ended up backfiring in a culture clash reminiscent of J.C. Penney’s hiring of Ron Johnson, head of Apple retail stores, in 2011. Marchionni’s upscale ideas—a $50 artisanal cheese collection, a $600 men’s jacket, popup stores—initially gained the board’s approval, but her approach didn’t resonate with the company’s customer base or its employees who liked the brand for its durable clothing and renowned customer service.

Marchionni ended up being a sort of fish out of water, but she’s also another example of a woman who took over a company that was struggling or in crisis; another female CEO who was perched atop that precarious glass cliff.



Losing altitudeYesterday was a rough one for CEO Carolyn McCall whose budget airline EasyJet spelled out just what effect Brexit and terrorism threats would have on its bottom line. It warned that its annual profit had fallen by more than a quarter—its first decline since 2009. The news sank shares more than 6%.Fortune


In my favorite story of the week, Norwegian PM Erna Solberg—who last month made a new pen pal in Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg—was caught playing Pokemon Go during a session of Parliament. Even better was the response of a fellow politician who's also fond of the game: "We ladies can do two things at the same time, you know."

Talk it out
Activist Bogaletch Gebre has helped all but eliminate female genital mutilation in her part of Ethiopia and beyond, and she's brought about such change through small group "community conversations." She says: "When you listen to them, they listen to you."
Financial Times


Just for show
Donald Trump has attempted to defend the derogatory remarks he's made about women by saying they were for the sake of "entertainment," and that nobody "has more respect for women than I do." But Politico notes that his sexist remarks have not been limited to his pre-political career.

Early coordination
New emails obtained by the Republican National Committee show that Hillary Clinton's nascent campaign was in communication with White House officials in early 2015 about the potential fallout from her use of a private email server as secretary of state.
Wall Street Journal

Nice moves?
U.S. Senate candidate Loretta Sanchez of California made the puzzling decision to "dab"—a popular dance move—in her closing remarks of a debate Wednesday night. Her campaign said it was a nod to her popularity among millennials, but my theory is that she was responding to all the stories about how the race was a total bore.
L.A. Times



A pressing question
The BBC takes a look at why the female nominees for UN secretary-general like Helen Clark of New Zealand and Kristalina Georgieva of Bulgaria didn't win the position. Former Portuguese PM Antonio Guterres is the Security Council's unanimous choice.

"Get out of the rigmarole"
India's commerce and industry minister Nirmala Sitharaman is optimistic her nation can reach a sustainable 8% growth in coming years, but she told a economic summit yesterday that India must still work to remove hurdles to doing business within its borders.
Live Mint


These women journalists are risking everything to report from Russia's frontlines

Actress Emma Thompson on what you learn from living a week in the Arctic

The women of Egypt’s Parliament are uniting to get a sexist colleague kicked out

Poland's Parliament has rejected a near-total ban on abortion

Sarah Jessica Parker is launching a book publishing imprint
New York Magazine


"Some consider a hijab part of culture. But, I know that a lot of Iranian women are bravely protesting this forced law daily and risking a lot by doing so. That’s why I will NOT wear a hijab and support women's oppression."
--Chess player Nazi Paikidze on why she's boycotting the Women's World Chess Championship in Iran.