Skip to Content

Redstone Suit, Cannes, Amazon’s Rooney Rule: Broadsheet May 15

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Shari Redstone’s being sued, Amazon is (finally!) implementing the Rooney Rule, and Helena Foulkes gives Fortune her first interview as CEO of Hudson’s Bay. Have a terrific Tuesday.


A Foulkes first. Last night, Fortune hosted our annual Most Powerful Women dinner in New York City, an event that celebrates the Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women’s Mentoring Partnership. While these gatherings are always exciting, this one was particularly so, as we were paid a special (virtual) visit by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau. The Canadian PM addressed the MPW crowd via video, announcing the first-ever Most Powerful Women International Summit in Canada, which will be held Nov. 5-6 in Montreal. Bundle up and meet us there!

Another highlight of the evening was Fortune’s Pattie Sellers’ on-stage interview with Hudson’s Bay Company CEO Helena Foulkes. It was the executive’s first sit-down conversation since leaving CVS Health, her home for 25 years. Foulkes spoke at length about her career at the retail pharmacy—and her decision to leave. One deciding factor? “I felt like the path [to CEO] would take too long at CVS.” As president of CVS/pharmacy and EVP of CVS Health she ran a $81 billion operation (and earned the No. 12 spot on Fortune‘s list of Most Powerful Women). Now, her job entails overseeing retailers Saks Fifth Avenue, Lord & Taylor, and Gilt Groupe.

Foulkes didn’t exactly get to ease into her new role. In March—just a little over a month into her tenure as chief—hackers claimed they had gained access to five million credit and debit card numbers of HBC’s customers. The team moved quickly to contain the security breach—so much so that the Foulkes says the FBI told her that HBC had “the fastest response to a breach they’ve ever experienced.” Moving fast is exactly what Foulkes intends to do to right the HBC ship, which is experiencing the same struggles as other department store operators. The silver lining? She doesn’t have to do much convincing: “The company knows it needs a turnaround.” Fortune


• CBS civil war. CBS Corp. is suing Shari Redstone and her family’s National Amusements holding company in an effort to block the merger of CBS and Viacom—both of which are controlled by the Redstones. In the suit, the company alleges that “Ms. Redstone has acted to undermine the management team, including, without board authority, talking to potential CEO replacements, deriding the chief operating officer and threatening to change the board.” A National Amusements spokesperson says the company is “outraged” by the action and “strongly refutes” the charges. Fortune

• Winning isn’t everything. While we’ve all read dozens of stories about the wave of women running for office in the wake of the 2016 presidential election, this analysis from the NYT and the Center for American Women and Politics at Rutgers warns that “the November elections may not produce a similar surge in the number of women in Congress.” It’s worth checking out the story’s simple yet powerful interactive graphic that explains the political realities at work. Still, the lesson here is not to give up, says She Should Run founder Erin Loos Cutraro. Instead, supporters of female candidates should “be prepared that a number of them will lose and also remind people that is not the end of the story, it is the beginning of the story.”  New York Times

• When less is more. Speaking at Cannes Film Festival this weekend, Salma Hayek provides some Real Talk for the men in attendance. If men are serious about helping to fix the gender pay gap, she said, they may need to take a pay cut. The math is simple, she noted: “If the movie’s budget is $10m, the [male] actor has to understand that if he is making $9.7 million, it is going to be hard for equality.” Fortune

• Amazon’s about-face. Amazon says it will adopt a policy requiring that women and people of color are included in the pool of candidates for all board openings (a.k.a a Rooney Rule). The news comes after the company had initially opposed a shareholder proposal to institute such a rule—a position that had reportedly angered some employees. (Amazon’s 10 board members are all white; three of the 10 are women.) Recode

MOVERS AND SHAKERS:  Thrive Global has hired Laurie Weisberg as chief revenue officer, Anne Sachs as chief content officer, and Amy Vezzetti as chief people officer. Julia Shullman has been promoted to chief privacy counsel at AppNexus.


• Brits mind the gap. With new laws forcing British companies to reveal their gender pay gaps, some employers are experimenting with fresh ways to equalize comp and move more women into higher-paying senior roles. This NYT story takes a look at how four U.K. companies—in four different industries—are tackling the challenge. New York Times

• 82 ain’t enough. In other Cannes news, top representatives from the film festival have signed a pledge to bring more work by filmmakers to the high-profile event. The move follows a protest in which 82 female actors, writers, directors, and producers protested on the red carpet on Friday. Why 82? That’s the exact number of women who have competed in the festival during its 71 years—vs. more than 1,600 men.  The Wrap

• Don’t quote me. The NYT‘s David Leonhardt is the latest journalist to own up to a habit of quoting mostly male sources—and to vow to do something about it. With the help of sources and readers, he put together a group of Twitter lists featuring female experts in national security, politics, econ, health care, and Russia. Check them out here.  New York Times

• Going corporate. While women account for a fraction of decision makers at Silicon Valley’s biggest VC firms, The Information notes that female investors are making serious inroads in another part of the industry: corporate venture capital.  The Information

Share today’s Broadsheet with a friend.
Looking for previous Broadsheets? Click here.


Margot Kidder, actress who found movie stardom in Superman, dies at 69 New York Times

Netta Barzilai of Israel wins Eurovision Song Contest  CNN

Is your script gender balanced? Take this test  New York Times

Whitney Wolfe Herd doesn’t care what she’s supposed to do  TechCrunch


That’s good.
Lessie Brown, age 113, on being told that she is now believed to be the oldest person in the United States