In August 2009, Sallie Krawcheck ’92 was named president of Global Wealth and Investment Management for Bank of America making her one of the financial world’s top female executive officers. It was a bright spot for corporate women but also, perhaps, a too-rare one.
A new census study by Columbia Business School and the Women’s Executive Circle of New York shows there has been little change in the number of women executive officers in the top 100 companies in New York State between 2006 and 2008. Professor Ann Bartel presented the study’s findings on February 4, 2010, to an audience at the Bank of America building; after the presentation, Krawcheck spoke. Many Columbia Business School alumnae, including Jill Granoff ’85, CEO of Kenneth Cole, were in attendance.
Overall, less than 11 percent of executive officer positions were held by women in 2008, representing no statistically significant change from the previous 2006 census. In the banking and finance sectors, the number of female executive officers was higher than the average, with 17 percent of positions filled by women. Seventy-one of the 100 firms surveyed had no female executive officers.
In board rooms, women have had more progress since 2006, holding 17 percent of board positions, up from 15.6 percent. Bartel noted that several industries, notably retail and consumer products, have a much higher percentage of female board members likely due to the industry’s female consumer base.
“It is sobering that the numbers are as low as they are,” says Bartel, who oversaw the research as part of the School’s Workforce Transformation Initiative, which is made possible through Bank of America Merrill Lynch. “Women represent approximately 40 percent of the MBA population, but the numbers are very low in the executive officer pool.”