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Fortune 500, Royal Wedding, Theranos: Broadsheet May 17

May 21, 2018, 12:01 PM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Britain had a big fat feminist royal wedding over the weekend, Elizabeth Holmes might not be to blame for all of Theranos’ problems, and the Fortune 500 is out—and just 24 female CEOs are on the list. Have a marvelous Monday.


The Fortune 24. Fortune's annual ranking of the 500 largest companies in the United States is out—and includes just 24 female CEOs. That's a 25% decline from last year, when 32 women made the list (an all-time high). The drop is due primarily to the number of powerful women who've vacated their corner offices. In the past year alone, more than a third of those women (12) have left their CEO jobs, including a few long-time veterans of the ranking.

Just last week, Cambell Soup Co. CEO Denise Morrison announced she was retiring, effective immediately. Another veteran who recently stepped down is Hewlett Packard Enterprise CEO Meg Whitman—the only woman to have run two Fortune 500 companies (HPE and [f500link]eBay[/f500link]). Irene Rosenfeld, who was CEO of snack food giant Mondelez for six years, announced her retirement last August. Avon CEO Sheri McCoy stepped down that same month after running the cosmetics company for five years.

Happily, there were also some newcomers to the—far too exclusive—club this year: Ulta Beauty's Mary Dillon, [f500link]Kohl's[/f500link] Michelle Gass, Yum China's Joey Wat, and Anthem's Gail Boudreaux. Dillon, who appeared on Fortune's list of Most Powerful Women for the first time last year (No. 48), has been running the cosmetics company since July 2013, though this year marks Ulta's debut on the Fortune 500. The other three women were appointed in the past year. Fortune


Markle-style marriage. Fortune's Claire Zillman spent the weekend covering the royal nuptials from London, and describes the ceremony planned by Meghan Markle and Prince Harry as "a big, fat, feminist wedding." The evidence: The bride walked herself down most of the aisle, omitted a promise to “obey” from her vows, and Harry will break with male royal tradition and wear a wedding ring. But even more significant, writes Claire, is that the ceremony made clear "that Markle’s cultural background—the child of an African-American woman, Doria Ragland—was on level footing with the traditions of Harry’s family, arguably the most prominent and storied on planet Earth."  Fortune

The plot thickens. While Theranos founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes often gets most—if not all—of the blame for the blood-testing startup's alleged fraud, a new WSJ profile of Ramesh “Sunny” Balwani suggests some of Theranos’ worst sins weren’t Holmes’s doing at all, but rather the machinations of Balwani, her mentor-turned-COO-turned-lover. (He has left the company after the fallout and is no longer in any of those roles.) Fortune

If you can't stand the heat... Mario Batali is under criminal investigation by the NYPD for sexual misconduct, according to a new 60 Minutes report. In the Sunday program, host Anderson Cooper spoke with multiple Batali accusers, one of whom (anonymously) alleges the celebrity chef of drugging and sexually assaulting her while she was unconscious in 2005. Batali "vehemently" denied the allegation. People

Battle of the Staceys. Georgia voters, who go to the polls tomorrow, are witnessing the Battle of the Two Staceys: Stacey Abrams, an African-American former state House minority leader who lives in Atlanta, and Stacey Evans, a white former state representative from the city’s northern suburbs. Both are Democrats vying for the role of governor. (The state has never elected a woman or an African American.) Wall Street Journal

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Wayfair has announced that Andrea Jung, the former chairman and CEO of Avon Products, has been elected to its board of directors.


Inequity's expensive. Bloomberg's Kate Smith argues that "the old boy's network is costing universities money," as investment committees dominated by women are outperforming those controlled by men. Bloomberg

From RTR to WMT. Rent the Runway co-founder Jenny Fleiss is leading Jetblack, a "members-only" personal shopping service for affluent city moms that was incubated inside of Walmart's startup incubator Store No. 8. The service is currently being beta tested in Manhattan. Recode

Dream duo. Jennifer Aniston is set to play the first U.S. president and Tig Notaro her first lady in First Ladies, a new Netflix political comedy written by Notaro and Stephanie Allynne. Deadline

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