Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Beyoncé ditches Topshop for Adidas, we meet an IPO whisperer, and MacKenzie Bezos shoots up the world’s richest list. Have a wonderful weekend.
• The world’s fourth richest woman. The most expensive divorce on record was finalized yesterday between Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and his wife MacKenzie, a novelist who played a part in the retail giant’s success from the get-go.
She announced the news matter-of-factly in her first-ever tweet. “Happy to be giving [Jeff] all of my interests in the Washington Post and Blue Origin, and 75% of our Amazon stock plus voting control of my shares.”
Left unsaid is that the 25% of the couple’s Amazon stock that she’s keeping—equal to 4% of the company overall—is currently worth $36.5 billion. The windfall—which she’s set to receive in 90 days or so—will catapult her into the upper echelon of the world’s richest people. At the moment, it puts her at No. 23 on the Bloomberg Billionaire Index—two spots ahead of casino magnate and Republican mega-donor Sheldon Adelson, for reference. Among women, she’s No. 4.
Bezos, as you can imagine, seems ready to move on from this stage, which has seen her husband’s extramarital escapades become headline news. “Grateful for the past as I look forward to what’s next,” she said.
But let’s dwell on this for a moment. There are so few female billionaires, it’s worth noting when one joins the rarefied club.
By Forbes’ most recent count last month, there were 2,153 billionaires in the world; of them, just 244 were women. Of those female billionaires, only about a quarter are self-made.
The dearth of uber-wealthy women has been probed for years now, and some of the explanations won’t exactly knock your socks off: women are underrepresented in the C-Suite and remain marginalized in the venture capital universe. Women’s aversion to risk—whether in investing or entrepreneurialism—is also sometimes considered a factor.
No matter your feelings about billionaires—they aren’t exactly the most popular bunch these days—it matters when money, not to mention gigantic sums of it, ends up in women’s control. There is, of course, the inherent power that comes with a big bank account, plus women tend to display admirable traits when managing their wealth. They are, for instance, more interested than men in “sustainable” investing—84% versus 67%, according to a Morgan Stanley survey. And The Economist Intelligence and RBC Wealth Management found that high-net-worth women cited ‘the ability to make the greatest impact’ as their top factor in charitable giving. Men’s? Tax benefits.
No doubt it’ll be fascinating to see what MacKenzie Bezos does with her newfound individual fortune. She hinted that she has things in the works on Thursday—“Excited about my own plans,” she said—so we may not have to wait long to find out.
ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
• Okay, Adidas, now let’s get in formation. Beyoncé pulled her Ivy Park line from Topshop after the retailer’s chairman Phillip Green was accused of sexual harassment and racist abuse. Now she’s back in the retail game—this time with Adidas. The superstar will revive Ivy Park and have her own Adidas sneakers. Bloomberg
• Trailblazing at Thinx. Next up in our Trailblazers series, Thinx CEO Maria Molland. When interviewing to take over the at-the-time beleaguered period underwear startup, Molland says she faced questions about her ability to do the job with a young child at home. Her response? “I have to prove them wrong.” Fortune
• Listen up, Microsoft. A group of Microsoft employees protested the company’s treatment of women to CEO Satya Nadella on Thursday, citing sexual harassment and discrimination in promotions. The catalyst was an online conversation among female Microsoft employees about discrimination they’ve faced. “I know there are James Damores at Microsoft, they just haven’t written a memo like he did,” one employee said, referencing 2017’s sexist Google memo. Separately, law firm Jones Day was accused of discrimination this week in a lawsuit brought by six women who allege gender and pregnancy discrimination.
• Trouble at UNC. There are now more details on why the University of North Carolina put its entire women’s basketball coaching staff on paid leave earlier this week. Parents of players say Hall of Fame head coach Sylvia Hatchell is being investigated for allegedly making racially-offensive remarks and pressuring players to play through serious injuries. Hatchell’s lawyer says the claims are incorrect and misconstrued. Washington Post
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: President Donald Trump will tap Jovita Carranza, chief aide at Treasury, to replace Linda McMahon as head of the Small Business Administration, a cabinet-level position. Katie Finnegan resigned from her roles with Spatial& and Store No8 at Walmart. CBS News named Diana Miller executive producer of CBS This Morning. Susan Smith Richardson will head the Center for Public Integrity. PG&E’s revamped board of directors, remade after the departure of CEO Geisha Williams, includes Nora Mead Brownell, Cheryl Campbell, Dominique Mielle, Meridee Moore, and Kristine Schmidt. Zeina Bain left private equity firm the Carlyle Group for ICG. Isabelle Allouch will be CEO of brand Sandro. Calvin Klein promoted Marcella Wartenbergh to chief merchandising officer. SeatGeek hired Danielle du Toit as president of SeatGeek Enterprise. Philippa Girling joins Varo Money as chief risk officer.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
• The IPO whisperer. If a Chinese tech company is IPOing, it needs Julie Gao. A partner with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, she’s worked on nearly every big-name Chinese tech listing, from JD.com to Xiaomi Corp. When she was still a midlevel lawyer, one company even put into its contract that it would find a new law firm if Gao ever left. Wall Street Journal
• The fundraising gap. 2020 female presidential candidates are facing sexism in fundraising and a gender gap in their campaign war chests, donors and activists say. Because there are so many female hopefuls, no single candidate can claim the fundraising advantage of being the sole woman running. Plus, some Democratic donors see women as a “risky bet” for 2020. Huffington Post
• Oh, Canada… Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau appears to be losing his feminist street cred. This week his party ousted politicians Jody Wilson-Raybould and Jane Philpott after they had questioned his handling of a scandal; 30 women in Canada’s House of Commons turned their backs to him as he addressed the House on Wednesday. Washington Post
• Real reflection. Actress Michelle Williams got real this week about the emotional toll unequal pay can take. She felt “paralyzed” when she found out Mark Wahlberg made $1.5 million to her $1,000 per diem on All the Money in the World reshoots. But after the 2017 public outcry, she says she’s noticed some changes in her industry. “Rather than being grasped too tightly or hugged for too long as a morning greeting,” she says of workplace etiquette, “my hand was shaken and I was looked squarely in the eye.” Guardian
ON MY RADAR
Women candidates have fun hobbies too, they just don’t get to talk about them Vogue
Bumble gets into the publishing business with lifestyle magazine Adweek
Why the bun is the power hairstyle of our multi-tasking age Vanity Fair
The dizzying, glamorous comedy of Catherine Cohen The Cut