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Notre Dame Paris, Best Buy CEO, Katies in Congress: Broadsheet April 16

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Congress can’t keep track of two representatives named Katie, Christina Tosi makes a change at Milk Bar, and we get another female Fortune 500 CEO, this time under upbeat circumstances. Have a terrific Tuesday.


No glass cliff. Let’s take another look at the news yesterday that Best Buy CFO Corie Barry will be the next CEO of the electronics retailer. Barry will take over for chief executive Hubert Joly in June. She’s a 20-year veteran of the company, and also serves as the chain’s chief strategic transformation officer, a title she picked up late last year.

When she grabs the CEO reins in two months’ time, Barry will be the 30th female CEO in the Fortune 500 if all goes as expected. Recall that Lori Ryerkerk of technology and speciality materials company Celanese is set to become the 29th member of the club in May. That total is short of the record 32 seen in 2017, but still reflects the progress made since last May, when the Fortune 500 had just 24 female chiefs.

Besides growing that all-too-small cohort, two aspects of Barry’s promotion stand out. First she’s making the rare move from CFO to CEO, a trajectory that applies to just 6.8% of chief executives. (CEOs are much more likely to be plucked from general management positions like division president or COO.)

And second, Barry will assume the job amid a time of incredible success for Minnesota-based Best Buy. Outgoing CEO Joly pulled off one of the most dramatic reinventions of a major retailer ever. When Joly took over seven years ago, the chain of stores was locked in a bitter takeover battle with its founder and had recorded sales declines in seven of the past eight quarters. Fast forward to present day, and Best Buy just saw its eighth straight quarter of comparable sales growth, having repositioned itself as more of a service provider to compete with the likes of Amazon and Walmart.

In fact, in 2015 Fortune published a feature about how Best Buy’s largely female leadership team was contributing to its turnaround under Joly. As senior writer Jen Wieczner tweeted yesterday, Barry, then an up-and-coming finance exec, was a source for the story.

Barry replied to Jen’s tweet: “And all those other amazing ladies were so instrumental in my journey. I am so fortunate.”

So while we talk often of corporations tapping female CEOs during times of turmoil—a disturbing trend known as the “glass cliff” that foists sometimes unrealistic expectations on women leaders—Barry’s promotion doesn’t qualify. Best Buy is not appointing its first female CEO as a sort of last resort; rather, in a refreshing change of pace, it’s turning to her from a privileged position.

Claire Zillman


Ready to rebuild. Now that the Notre Dame fire is out, there’s the gigantic question of how to rebuild the iconic Gothic cathedral. French billionaires have already pledged hundreds of millions to the effort, and Paris Mayor Anne Hidalgo has floated the idea of organizing an “international donor’s conference” that would convene philanthropists and restoration experts in Paris to address the project, which could take decades to complete. Washington Post

2020 on tap. The latest Elizabeth Warren policy proposal is a plan to stop drilling offshore and on public lands and increase renewable energy production on those lands. Kirsten Gillibrand is set to back a group of policy proposals to reduce the racial wealth gap. And Rebecca Traister writes for The Cut about our presidential contenders and motherhood.

• Congress’s two Katies. California has Reps. Katie Porter and Katie Hill—and for some reason, people can’t tell them apart. Forget the fact that there are 15 Johns serving in the House—it’s Porter and Hill who have had political donations swapped, been confused by other members and by reporters, and even mixed up by Nancy Pelosi on swearing-in day. Los Angeles Times

Multitasking mom. Kara Swisher sits down with Poppy Harlow on the CNN anchor’s Boss Files podcast. One topic the pair discussed? How Swisher thinks she became more successful after having kids and learning to prioritize. “I didn’t have time. Like, ‘I don’t have time for you. I don’t have time for this,'” Swisher says. CNN

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Pamela Rice joins Earnest as CTO and VP of engineering. Elisabeth Peyraube‘s role at Match Group changed to COO & CFO of Match Group EMEA & APAC as part of an executive restructuring; Lyla Seo was named GM of Match Group for South Korea and Southeast Asia.


• What’s your sign? Banu Guler’s Co-Star and Lisa Donovan’s Pattern are at the center of the astrology craze—one that has venture capitalists taking note. Former Fortune-ite Erin Griffith dives into the wild world of venture-backed astrology; one app astrologer told her that as a Pisces, she was the perfect person to write this story. New York Times

Director’s cut. While diversity makes strides on screen, director jobs for women in Hollywood are still lagging behind. Of 19 films coming from Disney during the rest of 2019, two are directed by women; at Warner Bros. that number is three out of 15; and at Universal Studios it’s four out of 15. New York Times

Milk Bar Pies all around. Milk Bar is renaming its Crack Pie, one of the bakery’s signature desserts but one that attracted criticism for a name insensitive to drug addiction. “Our mission, after all, is to spread joy and inspire celebration. The name Crack Pie falls short of this mission,” founder Christina Tosi said. The treat will now be called Milk Bar Pie. Grub Street

Microsoft’s answer. After employee protests, Microsoft has promised to change how it investigates workplace incidents. A new Employee Advocacy Team will be devoted to the employees involved in any human resources investigations; statistics on workplace concerns are coming in 2020. Quartz

Today’s Broadsheet was produced by Emma HinchliffeShare it with a friend. Looking for previous Broadsheets? Click here.


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