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Fortune’s Most Powerful Woman will step down

March 17, 2020, 12:29 PM UTC
Lockheed Martin's Marrilyn Hewson speaks onstage at Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit on Oct. 23, 2019. Hewson announced Monday she is stepping down as CEO of the defense contractor effective June 15.
Stuart Isett for Fortune

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! The Met Gala is called off, Fortune talks to Accenture’s Julie Sweet, and the No. 1 Most Powerful Woman of 2019 plans to step down. Have a nice Tuesday. 

– Good-bye to our No. 1. A bit of corporate news to start your day: Marillyn Hewson, CEO of Lockheed Martin, the nation’s largest defense contractor—and Fortune’s No.1 Most Powerful Woman in Business for the past two years—announced Monday that she would step down from her role effective June 15.

As Fortune‘s Jen Wiezner notes, she will be replaced by James Taiclet, currently the CEO of American Tower, a move that will break up the current group of women leading the aerospace and defense industry. Martin’s departure will also remove another female CEO from the Fortune 500; that total is expected to drop to 35 this spring, when she and others step down.

As to her legacy, Jen writes:

“Presiding over Lockheed Martin for more than seven years, Hewson helped build the company’s flagship F-35 fighter jet program into a powerhouse; forged a $9 billion acquisition of Sikorsky, the maker of Black Hawk helicopters; and expanded into emerging technologies such as hypersonic missiles, leading Lockheed to win billions of dollars in new contracts.” 

For more on the Hewson news, read Jen’s full story here.

On a separate note: In Sunday night’s debate, Joe Biden and, in somewhat less definitive terms, Bernie Sanders committed to choosing a woman as their running mate, should they become the Democratic nominee.

Last week, I asked all of you whether you’re excited about the prospect of a female VP, or if, in a year when a record number of women ran for the presidency, putting a woman in the Veep spot felt a bit like a consolation prize. Well, spoiler alert: you were almost unanimously thrilled by the potential to have a woman on the ticket. Here’s a bit of what you had to say:

“I do not subscribe to the notion that the VP spot should be looked down upon… Just the fact that we are getting white men, and society, to think about ‘inserting’ a woman into that spot is a step in the right direction. As someone who is also part of the queer community, I think that visibility is extremely important, in all of its different facets, and that stance applies in this situation as well. To see a woman as the Vice President is going to make an impression on a lot of people—especially those little girls that both [Elizabeth Warren and Hillary Clinton] were so disappointed to have let down.” —KN

“All other gains that women have made have been incremental, so despite there being many well qualified candidates this time, I’ll take VP for now.” —HW

“Absolutely we should do all we can to get a woman on the ticket, and I for one would be thrilled. If the electorate was not ready for a woman president in 2016, could it be because they’d never seen a woman as U.S. President or Vice President before? (Kind of like asking to be the President & CEO of a Fortune 50 company, but never having served as an EVP of the company.) Maybe we should have been shooting for VP, as a stepping stone, all along.” —AA  

“I understand the people who think that having a woman as VP feels like window dressing. But just consider the alternative and the choice becomes clear. We must demand a woman as VP… I have been saying on social media for a year that I will never again vote for a Democratic ticket consisting of two white men. I have gotten universal pushback for this idea, which is honestly a bit mind-boggling to me. People seem to think we are at the mercy of whatever the presidential nominee chooses to do. The reality is the other way around! We have to make our desires known, and expect him to conform to them.” —JK  

Well, that settles that! Thank you for all your emails on the subject. Over the next days and weeks, we hope to keep including your perspective on various issues in the Broadsheet, using the newsletter as a platform for all of us to share and connect with one another. We must distance from each other physically right now, so all the more reason to find connection in our inboxes! Please drop me, Claire, or Emma a note—you can reach us all at broadsheet@fortune.com—if there’s a timely subject you’d like to see us tackle.  

Be well,

Kristen Bellstrom
kristen.bellstrom@fortune.com
@kayelbee

Today’s Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe

ALSO IN THE HEADLINES

- Vaccines for all. With news yesterday that a COVID-19 vaccine was given to the first participants in a study, keep in mind this STAT story from last month, which asks: where will an eventual vaccine leave pregnant women? "Ensuring there’s a vaccine that can be offered to pregnant women is critical to health equity," three researchers write here. STAT

- Sweet says. In the latest issue of Fortune, Accenture CEO Julie Sweet has a long, wide-ranging conversation with Fortune EIC Clifton Leaf. On the coronavirus crisis, Sweet says that the outbreak has taught businesses about their supply-chain strategies and where they need to become more resilient. Fortune

- About time. The Met Gala is finally called off as the Metropolitan Museum of Art shuts its doors, Anna Wintour announced in a Vogue column. Also in that column: Wintour's endorsement of Joe Biden for president. Vogue

- Grand designs. Looking for a bit of COVID-19 distraction? Feast your eyes on Fortune's new list of the 100 greatest designs of modern times. You don't have to be a design nerd to appreciate this list, which includes Legos, Post-its, the Polaroid, Muji's rice cooker, a flushable pregnancy test, and scores of other fascinating objects. Fortune

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Activision Blizzard hired Helaine Klasky as chief communications officer, replacing Kristin Binns, who will become a senior adviser to the company. Stardust promoted VP of marketing Ashley Fauset to COO. 

IN CASE YOU MISSED IT

- Streaming storytime. Celebrities are chipping into the coronavirus relief effort by posting videos of themselves reading stories to entertain kids stuck at home. Amy Adams, Jennifer Garner, and more have so far participated in the "Operation Storytime" effort. LA Times

- From dinner to book deal. Madeleine Westerhout, the former director of Oval Office operations who was fired from her position as President Trump's gatekeeper after letting some details about the Trump family slip at a dinner, will write a memoir about the "momentary lapse in judgment." Expect some media-bashing; Westerhout says she plans to hold "accountable" reporters who, she says, "broke their agreement." Axios

- First person. In this piece, an anonymous 42-year-old woman shares what it was like to be diagnosed with COVID-19. She says calling everyone she had crossed paths with was, in her case, more difficult than the illness itself. Elle

- An Apple a day. Fiona Apple is way ahead of the rest of us when it comes to self-isolation. The singer-songwriter rarely leaves her Venice Beach house, where she has been working on a long-anticipated new album. Fetch the Bolt Cutters will be out at a yet-to-be-announced date, Apple reveals in this lengthy profile. The New Yorker

ON MY RADAR

'She finally let me make samosas': chefs on the recipes their mothers taught them Guardian

Never Rarely Sometimes Always is a modern abortion epic that finally rings true Bustle

How I get it done: Shania Twain The Cut

I'm a full-grown adult and can't stop buying products with 'girl' in the name InStyle

PARTING WORDS

"At some point, hopefully soon, we’re going to bounce back. We always bounce back."

— Jennifer Lopez on self-isolation and the coronavirus crisis