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Fortune names Alyson Shontell as its first female editor in chief

September 21, 2021, 1:43 PM UTC
IGNITION: Future of Media
Alyson Shontell, named editor in chief of Fortune on Monday, speaks onstage at IGNITION: Future of Media at Time Warner Center on November 29, 2017. (Photo by Roy Rochlin/Getty Images)
Roy Rochlin/Getty Images

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Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Japan could elect a female prime minister—but feminists aren’t happy, the Supreme Court will hear a case challenging Roe v. Wade, and Fortune names its first female editor in chief. Have a good Tuesday.

– A first at Fortune. Today we’re highlighting a particularly relevant mover and shaker at the tip-top of The Broadsheet. Earlier this morning, Fortune announced that Alyson Shontell will be its next editor in chief, making her the first woman to lead the 92-year-old business magazine. 

Shontell will join Fortune from digital publisher Insider, where she was most recently editor in chief. She started at Insider (previously Business Insider) in 2008 as part of its founding team. She covered technology for the news site and later served as executive editor; in that role she launched the Tech Insider spin-out site. 

She starts at Fortune on Oct. 6. 

“It’s an honor to join Fortune as editor in chief,” Shontell told me via email. Being the first woman to lead Fortune “provides extra motivation to make sure I am just the first of many more to come,” she said.

Fortune is the latest in a string of media organizations to hire women as top editors or chief executives. The Washington Post hired AP executive editor Sally Buzbee as its first female top editor in May. The AP named D.C. bureau chief Julie Pace as Buzbee’s successor earlier this month. Last week, Axios promoted Sara Kehaulani Goo to editor in chief and Aja Whitaker-Moore to executive editor. 

Fortune has long been a leader in promoting women in business, through its Most Powerful Women franchise,” said Fortune CEO Alan Murray. “So it’s about time to have a woman at the helm.”

Claire Zillman

The Broadsheet, Fortune’s newsletter for and about the world’s most powerful women, is coauthored by Kristen Bellstrom, Emma Hinchliffe, and Claire Zillman. Today’s edition was curated by Emma Hinchliffe


- Feminist first? Japan could soon elect its first female prime minister, with candidate Sanae Takaichi receiving the backing of former PM Shinzo Abe to lead the Liberal Democratic Party. The catch? Takaichi is a "hard-line conservative" who supports laws like one that requires couples to share a last name. Many of Japan's feminists are hoping she won't win. New York Times

- Next stop. Since Chinese ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing went public via the New York Stock Exchange earlier this year, the company has faced intense regulatory scrutiny. Now Reuters reports that cofounder Jean Liu has told colleagues that she plans to leave as she expects the Chinese government to eventually take control of the business. Reuters

- Heading to court. The Supreme Court agreed yesterday to hear Dobbs v. Jackson Women’s Health Organization, a Mississippi abortion case that directly challenges Roe v. Wade. The court scheduled oral arguments for Dec. 1. CNBC

- The case for paid leave. Melinda French Gates is once again beating the drum for paid leave. In a new piece for Time, she argues that paid family leave is a rare broadly supported, bipartisan issue—and that Congress must take action. Time

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Xerox promoted SVP and GM of Latin America operations Deena LaMarque Piquion to CMO. EY named Ginnie Carlier Americas vice chair, talent. Lisa Quigley, former chief of staff to Rep. Jim Cooper, joins Tusk Philanthropies to lead anti-hunger initiatives. Maisonette hired Myra Cortado as CFO. Hootsuite hired former InterDigital VP of finance and investor relations Tiziana Figliolia as CFO. 


- Promising results. AstraZeneca revealed the results of a clinical trial, finding that its drug Enhertu reduced the risk of dying or disease progression in women with advanced breast cancer. The study compares the new drug with Kadcyla, the current standard treatment, finding Enhertu to be 72% more effective. WSJ

- Ethical A.I. Former Google A.I. ethics chief Timnit Gebru has a long interview where she discusses how we can reimagine artificial intelligence to make it more fair. Plus, she adds, government must regulate products—including A.I. products. Bloomberg

- Swiping right. OkCupid has a new feature on its dating app: users can now tell potential matches that they're pro-choice via a new badge. The dating app—owned by Match Group, whose CEO Shar Dubey recently took a stand on abortion rights—says the feature was inspired by the Texas abortion ban. New York Times


CVS makes hiring push amid worker shortage, increased COVID-19 vaccine demand WSJ

The fatal elitism of the Time's Up charity The New Republic

‘The pay is absolute crap’: Childcare workers are quitting rapidly, a red flag for the economy Washington Post


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