More Women Are Primed to Land CEO Roles
In the U.S., a Strong Pipeline of Female Senior Executives Means a Larger Pool Eyed by Recruiters
By JOANN S. LUBLIN and KELLY EGGERS
Companies are grooming more women for the corner office.
With a growing pool of highly qualified women and intensified investor pressure on boards to diversify corporate management teams, companies “are hiring more high-potential women who could be CEO,” says Judith von Seldeneck, head of Diversified Search, a Philadelphia executive-recruitment firm.
The ranks of female chief executives remain thin, with women in the top spot at just 35 Fortune 1000 companies. But the pipeline is promising, says Maggie Wilderotter, CEO of Frontier Communications Corp., FTR -1.49% adding that she has noticed a number of “women in waiting” at Xerox Corp. XRX -1.60% and Procter & Gamble Co., PG +0.54% where she is a board member.
She adds that she wouldn’t be surprised if the number of major-company female CEOs doubled by 2017. At her own employer, a diversified telecom firm, half of Ms. Wilderotter’s six direct reports are women.
“If you want a CEO role, you have to prepare for it with a vengeance,” says Denise Morrison, chief of Campbell Soup Co. CPB +0.03% and Ms. Wilderotter’s sister.