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The World’s Most Powerful Women: January 17

One of the most notable endorsements in the U.S. presidential race last year came from Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman. Her support for Hillary Clinton—which included co-hosting a campaign event—made waves because Whitman is a longtime Republican.

At the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland this morning—just days before Donald Trump takes office—Whitman touted the gathering’s theme—”responsible and responsive leadership.” So I asked Whitman if she thinks Trump exudes these traits.

Whitman acknowledged the obvious outright: “[T]he election in the United States did not turn out as I hoped it would,” she said. She went on to say that the incoming commander-in-chief deserves the benefit of the doubt. “He will now have a chance to prove that he can demonstrate responsive and responsible leadership,” she said.

Like it or not, that opportunity starts Friday.

@clairezillman

EUROPE/MIDDLE EAST/AFRICA

A switch in SwedenAfter 11 years in the role, Annika Falkengren is stepping down as chief executive of Swedish lender SEB to join Swiss private bank Lombard Odier as managing partner. Falkengren successfully guided the bank through the financial crisis, which solidified her reputation as one of the most powerful women in finance. She’s considered the only real independent director on Volkswagen’s supervisory board.Financial Times

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Left behind
Zaha Hadid, the British-Iraqi architect, who designed the London Olympic aquatics center, left a fortune worth some 67 million pounds when she died suddenly last March. She bequeathed large sums of that to her business partner, her brother, and nieces and nephews. The will also shows that Hadid left her architecture practice, of which she was the sole owner, in a trust.
Guardian
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Deutschland defense
After Trump criticized the EU and the trans-Atlantic alliance in weekend interviews with German and British newspapers, German Chancellor Angela Merkel called for solidarity among EU members. “I think we Europeans have our destiny in our own hands,” she said.
Wall Street Journal

 

THE AMERICAS

On second thought
Republican foreign policy advisor Monica Crowley said yesterday that she will relinquish the job of senior director of strategic communications at the National Security Council that Trump had tapped her for. Since her role was announced, Crowley had been accused of plagiarizing her 2000 dissertation.
Washington Times
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What’s next?
First Lady Michelle Obama has repeatedly talked about getting back to “normal life” after Inauguration Day, but she’s also laying the groundwork for the next chapter of her advocacy work. Key to the transition will be Melissa Winter, a longtime aide who will serve as the first lady’s chief of staff as she embarks on her post-White House career.
Washington Post
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Diversity deficit
With Ursula Burns officially stepping down as the CEO of Xerox Corporation and Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer announcing that she will be leaving her post, Fortune‘s Valentina Zarya examines why there are no black women running Fortune 500 companies.
Fortune

 

ASIA-PACIFIC

X-rated water bottle challenge
A seven-second video from a Tencent work party has prompted backlash against the Chinese tech company that runs the WeChat messaging service, and reveals the pervasive sexism in the wider Chinese tech culture. The disturbing clip shows two women, identified as Tencent employees, attempting to use their mouths to open bottles of water held between male workers’ legs. The company says the employees involved are being disciplined.
Fortune
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Playing favorites
In the on-going contest that will determine Hong Kong’s next chief executive, former principal official Carrie Lam is considered the favorite since she’s assumed to be Beijing’s preferred candidate. But the short history of such elections has shown there is only so much Beijing can control.
South China Morning Post

IN BRIEF

Martha MacCallum on the men of Fox News, Donald Trump, and her new show
Fortune

Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg unveils ‘startup garage’ in Paris
Bloomberg

Why this Indian woman tried—and failed—to take on her groper
BBC

Why your ‘men can’t be feminists’ argument makes zero sense
Bustle

Taylor Swift’s Beverly Hills home might become a landmark
Mansion Global

This pioneering fashion photographer captured complicated women
New York Magazine

PARTING WORDS

“If I turned down every candidate who objectified women, I’d vote for no one.”
--Rebecca Gregory, a nurse from Michigan, explaining why she voted for Donald Trump.