The World’s Most Powerful Women: February 16

February 16, 2017, 7:53 AM UTC

As Donald Trump’s administration started to take shape in December, Time‘s Charlotte Alter pointed out that his presidency could usher three men accused of abusing women into the highest echelon of U.S. government. She wrote at the time:

Andrew Puzder, President-elect Donald Trump’s pick for Secretary of Labor, was accused of punching, hitting and pushing his ex-wife in the 1980s. Steve Bannon, Trump’s chief strategist and senior counselor, was charged with misdemeanor domestic violence and battery against his now ex-wife in the 1990s. And Trump himself has been accused of sexual assault and harassment by more than a dozen women.

(It should be noted that all three men have denied any wrongdoing and none of them have been found guilty in court.)

The claims against Bannon and Trump—of course—did not derail their journey to the White House. But the third man, Puzder, who’s CEO of CKE Restaurants, won’t end up in the administration. He withdrew his name from consideration yesterday as it became obvious that he didn’t have enough Senate votes to clear the confirmation hurdle. Support for his nomination waned as abuse allegations from his ex-wife—which she has since retracted—received new scrutiny. She’d appeared in disguise on a 1990 episode of Oprah Winfrey’s talk show and said her ex-husband (whom she does not name in the tape) “vowed revenge” when she made the abuse allegations public, according to a copy of the tape obtained by Politico. Senators reportedly reviewed the video this week.

There were other factors that helped sink Puzder’s candidacy. He employed an undocumented immigrant to clean his house. Workers at restaurants under the CKE umbrella have filed myriad complaints against their employer for wage theft, sexual harassment, and unfair overtime practices. And his nomination had prompted questions about conflicts of interest since, in order to serve, he would have had to step down as CEO of CKE and divest from more than 200 companies and funds.

Nevertheless, when news of his withdrawal hit, my inbox was flooded with emails from advocacy groups hailing the move as win for women.



Seek, and ye shall findAlexandra Van Houtte launched her fashion search engine Tagwalk largely out of frustration. She'd spent her early career sifting through images of fashion shows for her editors at magazines like Vogue and Glamour. Paris-based Tagwalk, launched in January 2016, lets its 7,500 subscribers search collections by brand, season, fabric, style, city, and trend. "I basically created what I would’ve loved to have," she says.Fast Company


Damage control
General Motors CEO Mary Barra flew to Germany as Berlin fumed that it received no prior notice that the automaker planned to sell its ailing European business Opel to French rival PSA Peugeot Citroën. Germany is concerned the deal will lead to heavy job losses there. France's prime minister apparently knew of the deal ahead of time, but did not mention it to Chancellor Angela Merkel when he met with her Monday. 
Financial Times

Picking his replacement?
Bloomberg reports that in selecting Charlotte Hogg as deputy governor for markets and banking, Bank of England Governor Mark Carney has put her in a prime position to succeed him. If she does, she'll become the first woman to lead the BOE.


Cutting off Conway
Morning Joe co-host Mika Brzezinski said yesterday that Trump advisor Kellyanne Conway is no longer welcome on the program. MSNBC's decision comes after Conway referenced the nonexistent "Bowling Green Massacre" while defending Trump's immigration order and endorsed Ivanka Trump's fashion brand on-air. Conway is "not credible anymore," Brzezinski says. "Every time I’ve ever seen her on television, something is askew, off, or incorrect."

Bucking the Big Food trend
CEO Indra Nooyi is attributing the strong fourth quarter results PepsiCo reported yesterday, in part, to its recent health kick. Fortune's John Kell reports that the pipeline of innovation at PepsiCo—including new Tropicana Essentials Probiotics, expanding the Sabra hummus brand into other food categories like salsa, and Quaker Breakfast Flats—is helping boost sales in the U.S. 

We interrupt this programming
The National Geographic Channel is "radically changing" its programming in an effort to modernize its 128-year-old brand. Courteney Monroe, the channel's CEO, says the forthcoming Genius starring Geoffrey Rush as Albert Einstein is one example of the network's departure from lower-budget reality shows that targeted male viewers. “I don’t think people come to National Geographic for that,” she says. “I think there’s a higher expectation.”


Carrie's contradiction
Carrie Lam, a candidate for Hong Kong chief executive, has issued contradictory statements on her stance on same-sex marriage, leading some constituents to question her integrity. Earlier this month, Lam, a devout Catholic, said she would “not rule out consultation” on legalizing same-sex marriage. Then her spokesman said Lam had no intention to push for it. To be fair, other chief executives candidates have not staked well-defined positions on the issue either. 
South China Morning Post

Sisters in the act
Nuns in the Philippines led thousands of students and school workers from St. Scholastica's College in a huge dance event in Manila to express their support for the "One Billion Rising" campaign. U.S. author Eve Ensler launched the global effort in 2013 that aims to end violence against women. This year's theme focused on solidarity against the exploitation of women.



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People are furious model Karlie Kloss dressed like a geisha for the 'Vogue' diversity issue

Life as a young female photojournalist in the Middle East

Your pain is not real: How doctors discriminate against women

Little Caesars founder quietly paid Rosa Parks' rent for years


"You don’t have to be modest in order to be respected.”
--MJ Day, the editor of this year's Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue that launched yesterday.