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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—if there’s a timely subject you’d like to see us tackle.  

Be well,

Kristen Bellstrom

Today’s Broadsheet was produced by Emma Hinchliffe


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