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Finance leaders dominate Fortune's Most Powerful Women list

Fortune 10/6/2022 Sheryl Estrada
© Phillip Faraone for Getty Images

Good morning,

Historically there has been a lack of women in financial leadership roles. But that's changing.

Women in finance dominated this year’s Fortune’s Most Powerful Women (MPW) list. The tech industry came in a close second, followed by retail and health care. This marks the 25th anniversary of the list of dynamic women in business, and it was highly competitive to earn a spot. For the first time, it’s a global list, rather than separate international and domestic versions. All the spots were filled by CEOs or those who are on the path to becoming one. CVS CEO Karen Lynch earned the No. 1 spot.

Two CFOs of the biggest tech companies in the world—Google and Microsoft, earned a spot on the list.

Ruth Porat (No. 12) has been SVP and CFO at Alphabet and Google since 2015. This year, Porat oversaw Google's acquisition of cybersecurity company Mandiant for $5.4 billion, which was completed last month. It was the company’s second-largest acquisition ever. 

Amy Hood (No. 15), EVP and CFO at Microsoft, with the company since 2002, began her current position in 2013. Hood is leading the way towards Microsoft’s $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard announced this year. The acquisition should make Microsoft competitive in the metaverse realm and gaming. 

Both Porat and Hood have been steering their companies through a market downturn that’s been hammering the tech industry, resulting in hiring freezes and even layoffs.

Influential women on the list representing the finance industry include: Jane Fraser, CEO of Citigroup; Abigail Johnson, CEO, Fidelity Investments; Thasunda Brown Duckett, CEO, TIAA; Shemara Wikramanayake, managing director and CEO, Macquarie; Ana Botin, executive chair, Banco Santander; Marianne Lake and Jennifer Piepszak, co-CEOs, Consumer and Community Banking, JPMorgan Chase; Mellody Hobson, co-CEO and president, Ariel Investments; and Penny Pennington, managing partner, Edward Jones.

When it comes to advancing women in finance, Amanda Blanc (No. 24 on the list), group CEO of Aviva, has created a blue-print. Blanc partnered with Bain & Company to design a series of recommendations to help leaders of U.K. financial services firms achieve gender parity. The plan of action focuses on recruitment, retention and promotion, culture and behavior, and embedding diversity, equity, and inclusion. A recommended course of action for recruitment is: "A centralized process, interrogated for bias and focused on skills over experience, with a broad talent pool and commitment to interview 50% women for roles at all levels," according to the report released in March.

Times are changing as the percentage of women who are CEOs and CFOs has reached an all-time high, according to executive search firm Crist Kolder Associates’s latest volatility report. As of the first half of this year, 7.3% of CEOs at 681 companies in the Fortune 500 and S&P 500 are women, compared to 3.5% in 2012. And currently 16% of CFOs are women, versus 9.4% in 2012. 

There’s still a ways to go, but it's progress. 

See you tomorrow.

Sheryl Estrada

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