From the April/May 2012 issue of Treasury & Risk magazine

30 Outstanding Women in Finance

Global inclusiveness inches up at the top.

The climb to the top of the corporate ladder for women has been painfully slow at best, or just plain stalled. Just 7% of the CFOs in the Fortune 500 were women in 2007. That figure has crept up to 9% to 10% in the last few years. In 2011, women held 14.1% of Fortune 500 executive officer positions compared to 14.4% in 2010, according to a Catalyst study. Meanwhile, women CFOs, on average, earned $1.3 million in 2010, about 16% less than the $1.5 million paid their male counterparts, according to an analysis of pay packages of 1,900 CFOs (including 150 women) at Russell 3000 Index companies from GMI Ratings, a corporate governance consulting firm. What needs to happen for women to pick up the pace in achieving parity with men in the C-suite?
 

Work-life balance issues, which can be more challenging for women than men, should not be a barrier, says Ellen Johnson, treasurer and senior vice president at advertising and marketing company Interpublic Group, and the mother of three youngsters. A supportive partner and the willingness to put in the time, energy and commitment required, as well as to make trade-offs, can help women move forward, Johnson says. “I think things will change,” she says, pointing to Interpublic’s record as one of just six companies in the Fortune 500 with 40% representation of women on its board of directors.

Johnson says attaining a board seat would be a big boost to her career and she is encouraged by the opportunity to network in the office with Interpublic’s women board members. She credits “the tone from the top” for making women directors a priority and says diversity is particularly important for a company in which people are the only asset. “We need to understand our clients, and our clients are completely diverse because we are a global company,” Johnson says. “To have that perspective, you really need to have global inclusiveness at the top.”

Ford sees progress. More male CEOs now “are used to working with women during their careers, so they’re comfortable with bringing them in and perceive them as capable,” she says, while noting that women sometimes cut themselves off from the C-suite. “It’s not that you have a lot of women clamoring to get up there—some take their career off to the side, they have family and other responsibilities,” says Ford, whose two children are now in their 20s. “You have find ways to make it work.”

Integrys has also been active in putting women on its board; the count after the annual meeting this month will stand at five women and eight men.

Julie L. Scammahorn
SVP & General Auditor
American Express
Since joining the credit card company in 2008, Scammahorn has built a best-in-class internal audit group and assembled dedicated risk, consumer compliance, Basel II and technology audit teams. She has also extended the audit committee’s focus to include both audit and risk.


Sally Curley
SVP, Investor Relations
Cardinal Health
Curley was involved in Cardinal’s $4 billion spinoff of its CareFusion medical products business in 2009. She also gathered data from investors that contributed to its capital deployment strategy after the spinoff, a plan that included a significant dividend increase.


Robin Washington
CFO & SVP

Gilead Sciences
As finance chief since 2008, Washington has presided over a period of significant revenue growth for the biotech company. She played a key role in its strategic use of cash,  as well as in the financing for Gilead’s recently announced purchase of Pharmasset.

 

Nanette DeTurk
CFO, CAO, Treasurer & EVP

Highmark
As CFO since 2006 for Highmark, a nonprofit health insurer in Pennsylvania, DeTurk is working to integrate the company’s portfolio and liquidity needs with long-term corporate strategy. She also led recent changes to Highmark’s corporate risk management process.

 

Karen Matusinec
Treasurer & SVP

McDonald’s
Matusinec served as vice president of the fast-food retailer’s tax department before she was named treasurer last year. She now oversees the areas of tax and insurance in addition to treasury. Matusinec focuses on ensuring access to capital as McDonald’s and its operators make investments to upgrade the restaurants.

 

Linda G. Sullivan
CFO & SVP

Southern California Edison
Sullivan, the utility’s first female CFO in its 125-year history, heads a process to optimize its cost structure to better balance reliable power delivery and the rates paid by customers. She recently led the finance components of a company-wide implementation of SAP that replaced more than 200 systems.

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