Good morning, Broadsheet readers! New Zealand gets a new type of paid leave, we learn how SpaceX’s Gwynne Shotwell contends with Elon Musk’s Twitter persona, and the Fortune 500 gets a new female CEO. Have a fantastic Friday.
• Breaking a new barrier. The Fortune 500 is getting its 25th female CEO after Land O’Lakes yesterday announced Beth Ford as its new president and chief executive.
Ford, who’s served as Land O’Lakes COO, takes over the top role as the agricultural company contends with tariffs on U.S. dairy goods that were put in place as retaliation for President Donald Trump’s trade war.
When Ford spoke with my colleague Beth Kowitt yesterday, she said Land O’Lakes is navigating the tariffs “quite well” but cited the importance of obtaining “some level of certainty on trade agreements.”
“It allows businesses to understand what the rules are and playing field is so that they can manage their business and invest appropriately,” she said.
In addition to entering the all-too-exclusive club of female chief executives, Ford is breaking another barrier: she’ll be the third openly-gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company and the first woman.
Ford told Beth that that point didn’t come up in her discussions with the board. But she acknowledges that “it’s not nothing.”
She can recall a time earlier in her career when she felt as though she couldn’t be her full self at work, and recognizes that it’s “incredibly difficult” for people who feel that way.
She says she wasn’t necessarily seeking to be a role model as one of the few openly gay Fortune 500 CEOs, but she adds “if it gives someone encouragement and belief that they can be their authentic self and live their life…[then] that’s a terrific moment.” Fortune
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• The gift of time. New Zealand on Wednesday night passed legislation granting victims of domestic violence 10 days of paid leave that will allow them to move away from their partners, find new homes, and take protective measures for themselves and their children. The country has one of the highest rates of domestic violence in the developed world, and MP Jan Logie, who fought for the law for seven years, says it’s the first step in tackling the endemic and “horrifying” trend of abuse. She urged other countries to follow suit. Guardian
• Bad medicine. Relying on a half-million pages of internal hospital quality records, USA Today investigated why the U.S. is currently the most dangerous place in the developed world to give birth. It found that one factor is medical professionals skipping known safety measures—weighing bloody pads to track blood loss, administering medication within an hour of spotting dangerously high blood pressure—leaving women to bleed until their organs shut down or to suffer strokes. USA Today
• Making her mark. Gregg Renfrew, the CEO of Beautycounter, is the latest advocate to push for additional regulation of the beauty industry. She recently met with lawmakers to discuss legislation like the Personal Care Products Safety Act, introduced by Sens. Dianne Feinstein (D–Calif.) and Susan Collins (R–Maine), which would give the FDA the power to review cosmetics for potentially dangerous ingredients. “We have a $62 billion industry that’s highly—I would say woefully—under-regulated,” Renfrew says. Politico
• Flying high. Mary Ellis, one of the last surviving British female pilots from WWII, has died at age 101. After joining the Air Transport Auxiliary in 1941 following its appeal for female pilots, Ellis flew about 1,000 planes over four years, including 400 Spitfires and 47 Wellington bombers. At a surprise party for her 100th birthday, Ellis said she was especially fond of the Spitfire. “I think it’s a symbol of freedom,” she said. BBC
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Australian investment bank Macquarie Group has appointed Shemara Wikramanayake, head of its asset management arm, as its first female CEO.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• All of the above. In June, Barbara Humpton became the U.S. CEO of Siemens, the Germany-based industrial manufacturing company. The promotion capped the 57-year-old’s mission to buck early advice from a male mentor who told her to choose between being a mother and an executive. She decided to be both. Time
• SpaceX’s secret weapon. Bloomberg has a new profile of SpaceX COO and president Gwynne Shotwell, who’s worked with Elon Musk since the rocket company’s founding in 2002—longer than almost any executive at any Musk company. Shotwell, Bloomberg reports, “manages about 6,000 SpaceX employees and translates her boss’s far-out ideas into sustainable businesses—whether it means selling customers on a rocket” or telling them not to read too much into Musk’s active Twitter feed. Bloomberg
• Startup mentality. Bridget van Kralingen has built IBM’s blockchain business essentially from scratch, using the ledger technology to execute and track transactions for tasks like authenticating diamonds and digitizing global supply chains. It’s akin to running a startup within IBM, which, van Kralingen says, requires no fear of failure. “People have to feel like it’s OK to make mistakes and learn from them because that’s how we actually move forward.” Wall Street Journal
ON MY RADAR
Ibtihaj Muhammad: The Olympic fencer is charting her own path New York Times
Former Trump aide Omarosa Manigault Newman has an ‘explosive’ memoir on the way Seattle Times
One woman’s math could help NASA put people on Mars Bloomberg
It’s not just about bikinis: Inside the battle for the future of Miss America Washington Post