Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Foot Locker CEO Mary Dillon has big goals, South Korea is in a “gender war,” and Lumen’s new CEO starts to execute a turnaround job. Happy Wednesday!
– Slow turn. In November, Kate Johnson became the CEO of Lumen Technologies, an enterprise telecom and networking company. The $19.6 billion-in-revenue business is ranked No. 179 on the Fortune 500, placing Johnson among the 10% of Fortune 500 CEOs who are women.
Johnson came to Lumen after four years at Microsoft, where she served as president of Microsoft U.S. With a $45 billion P&L at Microsoft, Johnson’s financial remit is actually smaller as a Fortune 500 CEO, but she’s now the one in charge of the transformation of a legacy enterprise tech company.
“It’s a telecom company that’s moving into the digital era and needs to be transformed,” Johnson said of Lumen, formerly known as CenturyLink, in one of her first interviews since becoming CEO. Its core offering is network services and connectivity alongside cloud services.
Lumen has mainly grown its business through mergers and acquisitions, including the $34 billion acquisition of Level 3 Communications in 2016. Johnson’s task now is to simplify the organization; her other two priorities are encouraging innovation and focusing on the customer.
“We’ll be working to do better in less ways—picking and choosing where to focus, instead of trying to do everything for everyone,” the Denver-based CEO says.
Johnson calls 2023 a “reset year” for the business. Her experiences at Microsoft and in senior and executive vice president roles at Oracle and GE are informing how she approaches the turnaround job. Seeing Microsoft pivot from selling legacy license-based products to becoming a player in cloud-based sales “was an incredible experience for learning how to change a company,” she says, from overhauling a product portfolio to adjusting go-to-market strategies to redefining customer relationships.
Still, with a full transformation at least a few years away, Johnson has a nearer-term job in front of her: “You have to run the company while you change the company,” she says.
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ALSO IN THE HEADLINES
- Sneaker head. Foot Locker CEO Mary Dillon has unveiled a new business plan that aims to bring in $9.5 billion in revenue by 2026, beating Wall Street estimates. To accomplish this, executives plan to reduce reliance on Nike, shift its business model in Asia, and reduce stores by 10% across the board. Bloomberg
- Dangerous work. The Survey of Occupational Injuries and Illnesses shows that the most fatal jobs, which are typically held by men, may be different than the most dangerous jobs, in which workers suffer an attack that causes the worker to miss at least a day of work. Those jobs are found on the front lines of education, health care, and the service industry, and are typically held by women. Washington Post
- Back up. U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said she is prepared to take additional measures to save small financial institutions after the Silicon Valley Bank collapse. She did not speculate on what legislative measures could be in store to prevent similar issues from happening in the future. New York Times
- Missing the point. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has blamed the failure of Silicon Valley Bank on the company’s DEI efforts. As former Fortune editors Pattie Sellers and Nina Easton argue, DEI efforts haven’t made nearly enough progress to be the culprit. Further, women founders and CEOs have better track records than men. Fortune
MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Entrata has hired Catherine Wong as COO and chief product officer and Amanda Fumo as chief revenue officer. Nareit has hired Jessica Long as senior vice president of environmental stewardship and sustainability. Emily Gunston has been promoted to first assistant attorney general at the Office of the Attorney General for the District of Columbia.
IN CASE YOU MISSED IT
- Wealth giveaway. For the first time, MacKenzie Scott has announced an open call for community-based organizations with operating budgets in the $1 million to $5 million range to apply for donations. The unrestricted donations of $1 million each will go to 250 non-profits that are selected. Washington Post
- Rare reform. India is entertaining labor reform laws that would allow the country to compete with China for Apple's business. The potential reforms include flexible shifts that would help more women work in factories. Bloomberg
- 'Gender war.' South Korea is in a “gender war”—as the local media calls it—and it is contributing to the country’s low birth rates. Many women experienced sexism and abuse within the home growing up, and their fear of intimate partner violence has turned some women off to dating altogether. The Atlantic
ON MY RADAR
Jen Psaki officially enters the Sunday morning lineup Poynter
Lauren Sanchez's adventures in the screen trade Puck
Nabiyah Be wants you to remember disco’s roots Harper's Bazaar
Pakistani women are not all right The New Yorker
“Folks have to be really aware of the fact that there is a cost of doing business; there’s a cost to be a freelancer.”
—Topicals CEO Olamide Olowe on the unspoken parts of being a freelancer
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