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YAHOO CEO Marisa Mayer speaks with Pattie Sellers of Fortune Magazine on November 27, 2012 at the the Fortune Most Powerful Women Dinner held at the Garden Court Hotel in Palo Alto, CA.
Marissa Mayer is rich and famous ... but she's also another woman brought in to head a company with problems.
Hey, ladies! Interested in hearing about one more way you're screwed?

Let's say you are one of the teeny tiny fraction of women who becomes a big-time corporate executive, and then you are one of the teeny tiny fraction of those executives who's hired as the CEO of a major company. Yeah, you're still worse off compared to male CEOs:

... the percentage of women at the helm of the largest companies may be staying relatively flat in recent years because female CEOs are more likely to be fired than men. Over the past decade, 38 percent of women were forced out of the chief executive role, compared to just 27 percent of men, a finding that is statistically significant.

Part of the problem may stem from the way they’re brought in in the first place. Female CEOs are more likely to be “outsiders,” or hired from outside of the company — 35 percent of them, versus 22 percent of male CEOs. These outsiders may be brought in when things go sour. Companies who force out CEOs over the lowest returns to shareholders most often hire outsiders as replacements, the report found.

This is the phenomenon dubbed the “glass cliff”: women are brought into top management roles just as things get bad in order to clean up the mess.

There's evidence the same thing happens to non-white executives, too. So basically, if you're not a white dude, your chances of becoming CEO of a major company are vanishingly small and when you do become CEO, it'll be because things are going so badly that fixing them quickly enough to avoid being fired is insanely difficult.

On the bright side, it goes without saying that for you, being fired will be a lot more financially comfortable than being employed at the minimum wage is for the millions of women in that situation.

Originally posted to Daily Kos Labor on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 10:33 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Off the top of my head I think (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    slakn1, agiftagain

    the new female Chrysler CEO's pay is about 1/2 that of her male predecessor.

    We view "The Handmaid's Tale" as cautionary. The GOP views it as an instruction book.

    by Vita Brevis on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 10:58:30 AM PDT

    •  I think you've confused GM and Chrysler. (0+ / 0-)

      You're also repeating something of a myth.

      CEO pay is a tricky beast, consisting mostly of performance pay, and Barra's total package is potentially 25 percent more than her predecessor's

      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Fri May 02, 2014 at 01:42:03 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Well, the US of A did this for the President role. (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Odysseus, slakn1, LaraJones

    The only chance a non-White candidate had to get into the White House, was when all hell broke loose in 2008.

    Then it's easy, convenient and "natural" (for racists) to blame the black guy for the mess even as he's trying to clean it up.

  •  Apex fallacy. (0+ / 0-)

    Only looking at the highest achievers does make it seem that men have it made. Looking at the homeless population and suicide numbers tells a very different. It's frustrating and depressing to me that only "men's rights" blogs, which tend to range from libertarian to religious right on the political spectrum, ever mention this.

    I mean, I don't really like those guys. If I did, I wouldn't be here. And there is nothing wrong with pointing out that women don't do as well at the top of the socio-economic spectrum. They don't. But your title reads...

    Even among top CEOs, women have it worse than men
    This implies that women do worse at all levels. They don't. The actual picture is a bit more complicated than that. It doesn't undermine you point to acknowledge that. Failing to do so does.

    You can do whatever you want to us, but we're not going to sit here and listen to you badmouth the United States of America.

    by Eric Stratton on Tue Apr 29, 2014 at 03:09:26 PM PDT

    •  I used to try to remind people that there (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      dinotrac, joegoldstein

      wasn't a whole hell of a lot of "white male privilege" to be found down at the face in a West Virginia coal mine, but eventually I gave up that battle.

      The bottom line is that I don't feel sorry for anybody of any sex, shade, or national heritage who will earn more in one year at that big score at the top -- no matter how badly said person fails -- than the total lifetime earnings of myself, all of my immediate family, all of my ancestors since the dawn of civilization, and possibly the next 5 generations of my progeny.

      If you are a white dude, the chances of your becoming CEO of a major company are vanishingly small -- substantially less than your chances of ever playing a major league sport, for example. Losing track of the real problem is always a danger when trying to address racism and sexism. I believe this created a serious schism in the feminist movement, between the serious leftists who realized that the problems of upper middle class white women being excluded from elite professions are qualitatively distinct from the problems of low-income women of all colors who can't afford to work and can't afford not to work.

      In any case, most of the high-profile cases I know of women getting forced out of CEO positions involved women who seriously fucked up (e.g. HP, Mattel).

      To put the torture behind us is, inevitably, to put it in front of us.

      by UntimelyRippd on Thu May 01, 2014 at 08:41:01 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Has some unexpected side effects. (0+ / 0-)

        Though I have never had tea with the CEO of -- well, anything bigger than my local heating and air guy's company -- and have spent substantial periods of time unemployed (and without unemployment benefits) and lost a home, there are times when it seems nothing about me matters except the fact that I'm an old white guy.

        Same trick the powerful have been pulling for years: set the little guys against each other so they never go after the real enemies.

        LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

        by dinotrac on Fri May 02, 2014 at 01:46:32 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  yes, BUT (0+ / 0-)

    I give you the two women CEOs who ran for office in California recently: Meg Whitman (Ebay) and Carly Fiorina (HP/Compaq). I'd say they were no better at their jobs than most men in the CEO position.

    Seneca Falls, Selma, Stonewall

    by Dave in Northridge on Thu May 01, 2014 at 07:08:27 PM PDT

    •  Carly was brought into HP by the board (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      alx9090, Aquarius40

      because they wanted to destroy the HP way, IMHO.  HP was profitable at the time (late 90's), it just wasn't insanely profitable the way that other Internet companies were (like Cisco and Netscape).  HP was still known for offering lifetime employment to its workers, lol - and those "lazy" engineers were blamed for the "lousy" 15% ROI the company was earning at the time.  The board wanted an outsider to come in and shake things up, and Carly did that in spades.

      She did leave the company in a bit of a mess (note the wee understatement there), though so they then forced her out.  Ever since, the company's been hiring one outsider after another, each being hired to clean up after the last ... Mark Hurd ... Léo Apotheker ... and most recently Meg Whitman.  

      I do think the top job must be more challenging when you are an outsider.  The stats in the diary say that is true for 35% of female CEO's versus 22% of male CEO's.  So I think the basic premise of the diary seems reasonable, regardless of the talents (or lack thereof) of Carly and Meg Whitman.   I completely agree with your opinion that those two "were no better at their jobs than most men in the CEO position."

  •  I had the good fortune of being invited to the... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    launch of the New Flickr.

    I was in a conversation with Marissa Mayer. I mean that I was in a small group and mostly listened because I was intimidated by the high power group. I finally got in what I had to say later with one of her assistants but I was extremely impressed by what I heard.  

    Just today I made a comment here that lends a little support.  

    Did you see the Flickr vs. Photobucket discussion

    The conversation started here and according to commonmass, Photobucket "own(s) your photographs."

    So with Flickr you get 1 TB of totally free storage, unlimited uploads and superior compression when you post to blogs. Photobucket is so piss poor at compressing down to blog sized photos that I would shrink it down to 500 pix myself.  

    Want a copy of the full photo, there's totally uncompressed photos should you ever need them. Next time you upload something to Photobucket notice the fact that the file is smaller on Photobucket than it was on your computer. Something is missing.

    You get full EFIX data on Flickr instead of that abbreviated crap you get at Photobucket. It's always handy to know what you shot and how you shot it.

    Want another reason to switch to Flickr? You can add hyperlinks to the notes at Flickr and geotagging is the bomb.

    How about another reason. Flickr with the power of Yahoo will probably always be there. With the gross mismanagement of Photobucket, the day that they shut down and all of your photos are lost is drawing near.

    One more reason. a Flickr account puts a big crack in the glass ceiling.

    I worked in television for many years and it seems a bit more progressive with many woman moving up. I guess the highest up the food chain I got to work for was Anne Sweeney but one universal truth was that every woman I worked for got there because they were far better than the men there.

    I think Marissa Mayer was given the job of taking over the Kodak of the internet but I sure would like to see her turn that ship around and make a huge success story out of Yahoo. But all I can do is support Yahoo.

  •  Being brought in for turnarounds is prestigious (0+ / 0-)

    And yes those in that role do not stay as long.

    Its a very particular skill set and if you make a name doing it, there is a LOT of prestige around it.

    •  Being brought in for turnaround (0+ / 0-)

      Is mostly corp speak for hatchet person. Bring someone in you would gladly sent on their way again ASAP.

      However Fiorina did not shake up HP, she did an exceptionally crappy job of managing a technological oriented firm.

      Fiorina came by way of Western electric/ATT where she was in marketing I believe, contemporary of another MBA type also from Western Electric who went to Boeing, became a CFO and tried to make every division a profit center.

      That included the spare parts division or section. I got the feeling that to make spare parts a profit center they liquidated what didn't move in a relative short time period. Too bad for customers who needed parts AOG (aircraft on the ground) like yesterday. I think the feed back from the airlines killed that woman's chances to become CEO.

      As an example Boeing bought a 747-100, then an old model, parted it out because a customer needed otherwise unobtainable heavy beams for the main landing gear, and then Boeing apparently scrapped the rest of the airframe, leaving a satisfied customer.

      A better example of women getting hired for impossible situations is the CEO of GM. I have the feeling she has been set up, with the ignition switch problems.

  •  I'm gonna cry all night (0+ / 0-)

    for these poor women.

    At that level, getting fired doesn't even matter; they're so well connected.

    The banks have a stranglehold on the political process. Mike Whitney

    by dfarrah on Thu May 01, 2014 at 07:43:10 PM PDT

  •  They may make less than their male counterparts (0+ / 0-)

    But they still make far more off the backs of their employees than any human being has any business making.

  •  Marissa is your poster child? Yikes. (0+ / 0-)

    She's so full of shit - sounds like she's totally capable of being a premier CEO.  Unless she spends too much time in the nursery annex in her office.  What a perfect asshole - and I don't think I've ever before called any woman that word.

    •  Hold on a sec! (0+ / 0-)

      She has been excoriated for the nursery annex at her office and a good deal of this criticism has come from women who don't have that perk.

      But if you consider that with this nursery annex, she has established the principle that executives can keep their infants nearby and not be fired…well, that's something.  The next female executive who is nursing her child and wants it nearby will have a lot easier time of making that demand now.  She has moved the ball forward and I see that as a good thing.

      It's the Supreme Court, stupid!

      by Radiowalla on Thu May 01, 2014 at 08:25:23 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  So, what, exactly, do you suggest? (0+ / 0-)

    That women shun these opportunities?

    I suspect that these women CEOs would not consider themselves to be screwed so much as challenged.

    Yes, it bites that a woman has no shot at being CEO of GM, or IBM, or DuPont, or Lockheed-Martin, or Archer Daniels Midland, or Yahoo or places like that, but you've got to take the opportunities you can get.

    OTOH, I suppose it would be nice if more than about 5% of Fortune 500 CEOs were women.  I hear that women are a pretty sizable portion of the population.

    LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

    by dinotrac on Fri May 02, 2014 at 01:37:45 AM PDT

  •  Bringing in a woman to clean up someone else's (0+ / 0-)

    royal mess?

    Never saw that one coming!

    Thanks for covering this, because it is genuinely interesting and disturbing.

    "It were a thousand times better for the land if all Witches, but especially the blessing Witch, might suffer death." qtd by Ehrenreich & English. For Her Own Good, Two Centuries of Expert's Advice to Women pp 40

    by GreenMother on Fri May 02, 2014 at 05:53:39 AM PDT

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