What Women Want

In finance, the operative words are opportunity, flexibility, and balance.

Alix Nyberg Stuart is senior writer at CFO.

The Other Battlefront: Diversity in Finance

Leara L. Dory, Emcor Facilities Services’s vice president of accounting, controller, and treasurer, has long been accustomed to the “look of shock” on colleagues’ faces when they first meet her. “It can be a double whammy when you’re a woman and a minority,” says Dory, who is African-American.

Dory has not let such experiences impede her. (“If you walk into a meeting and voice your opinion like everyone else, people forget all about it,” she states.) Many of her colleagues are not as fortunate. “There’s been little movement for minorities in finance over the past five years,” says E. Peter McLean, global practice leader for Spencer Stuart’s Financial Officers Practice. He estimates that less than 2 percent of Fortune 500 CFOs are nonwhite, and that under 3 percent of all senior finance positions in the Fortune 1,000 are held by nonwhites. What’s worse, there doesn’t seem to be much hope in the pipeline. “It is very, very hard to identify minority candidates for CFO,” says McLean.

Eral Burks, a Cleveland-based minority finance executive recruiter who does searches for the likes of Pfizer, Microsoft, and GlaxoSmithKline, says that over the past five years he has seen more companies hire minorities for midlevel finance jobs such as director of accounting, but agrees there has been scant progress when it comes to the CFO spot. In the past year, he has received four CFO searches that were squelched when the clients found white males to fill the positions, making him sometimes feel like “a dog chasing his tail.”

Burks dismisses the idea that there are no qualified minority candidates for high-level positions. “They’re out there,” says Burks, who has been recruiting for more than 20 years. Although actual placements are few and far between, what is happening, he adds, are “daily, small steps in a positive direction.”

Those steps are even smaller for minority women. But Dory believes that will change at some point. “The key is to say to yourself, ‘I am not different, I am just as good as the person sitting next to me.’” — A.N.S.


The Fortunate Few:
The 35 female CFOs of the 500 largest companies in the United States (as of May 1, 2006).
F500 Rank Company/CFO/Age What It Took
8 Citigroup
Sallie Krawcheck
41
Admits she “wandered through her 20s” as an investment banker, became an equity analyst after a prolonged maternity leave. Named Citigroup CFO in November 2004.
14 Home Depot
Carol Tomé
49
Started as a commercial lender for what is now Wells Fargo, became a corporate treasurer. Joined Home Depot in 1995, named CFO in 2001.
18 Verizon
Doreen Toben
56
Joined AT&T’s treasury department in 1983, became CFO of Verizon in April 2002.
23 Marathon Oil
Janet Clark
51
Quit her job as an investment banker for First Boston at age 35, became CFO of Santa Fe Energy Resources. Joined Marathon as CFO in 2004.
51 Medco Health Solutions
JoAnn Reed
50
After two years as a statistician for S&P, became an assistant controller for CBS Records. Joined Medco in 1988 as director of FP&A, became CFO in 2002.
61 PepsiCo
Indra Nooyi
50
Came from India in her early 20s to do an MBA at Yale, then took corporate-strategy roles with Motorola and Asea Brown Boveri before joining PepsiCo in 1994.
82 International Paper
Marianne Parrs
62
Left her job as a Wall Street analyst and joined IP in 1974 as pension investment manager to reduce travel after the birth of her first child.
87 Federated Department Stores
Karen Hoguet
49
Joined Federated from Boston Consulting Group in 1982 as a senior consultant in strategic planning.
95 Merck
Judy Lewent
57
Went straight to business school out of college and into investment banking; joined Pfizer and then Merck. CFO since 1990.
113 Supervalu
Pamela Knous
52
After making partner at KPMG, became CFO for The Vons Cos. and then Supervalu in 1991.
125 Constellation Energy Group
E. Follin Smith
46
Trained in General Motors’s treasury department, was CFO for a Delphi division and Armstrong Holdings before joining Constellation as CFO in 2001.
154 Office Depot
Patricia McKay
48
Has been on Office Depot’s board since 2004 and its CFO since 2005.
158 US Steel
Gretchen Haggerty
50
With both accounting and law degrees, joined US Steel as management trainee in tax division in 1976, moved up through treasury, named CFO in 2003.
185 AEP
Susan Tomasky
53
Was general counsel for the Federal Energy Regulatory Commission and a law firm partner before joining AEP in 1998 as general counsel.
186 Marsh & McLennan
M. Michele Burns
48
A senior tax partner at Arthur Andersen, she joined Delta in 1999 and soon became CFO. Joined Marsh & McLennan from Mirant in early 2006.
196 Oracle
Safra Catz
43
A lawyer by training, was a managing director at Donaldson Lufkin & Jenrette before coming to Oracle in 1999.
221 AES
Victoria Harker
41
Started career at MCI after graduating with an MBA. Became CFO in January 2006.
224 First Data
Kim Patmore
49
Joined First Data in 1992 as controller after 11 years at Ernst & Young; became CFO in 2000.
238 Cummins
Jean Blackwell
51
Law firm partner and state budget director before joining Cummins as general counsel in 1997. CFO since 2003.
243 Kinder Morgan Management
Kimberly Allen Dang
36
A former Goldman Sachs investment banker, joined Kinder Morgan in 2001 as head of IR. Became treasurer in 2004 and CFO in 2005.
251 Alltel
Sharilyn Gasaway
37
A former Andersen auditor, joined Alltel in 1999 as controller and became CFO in 2006.
280 Reynolds American
Dianne Neal
46
Joined in 1998 as coupon-redemption center preparer/processor, promoted into various financial-management positions, including controller in 1997. Named CFO in 2003.
296 Gannett
Gracia Martore
54
After a career in banking, joined Gannett as assistant treasurer in 1985. Became CFO in 2003.
300 Southwest Airlines
Laura Wright
46
A former auditor, joined Southwest’s tax department in 1988, worked her way up through treasury. Named CFO in 2004.
317 Applied Materials
Nancy Handel
54
Joined Applied Materials in 1985 as assistant treasurer; has been both treasurer and controller. Promoted to CFO in 2004.
337 Dynegy
Holli Nichols
35
Joined Dynegy in 2000 after auditing for PwC; became controller and treasurer. Named CFO in 2005.
343 CDW
Barbara Klein
51
Started as an auditor for E&Y, was controller for Ameritech and CFO of Dean Foods before joining CDW as CFO in 2002.
372 Unisys
Janet Haugen
47
Joined Unisys as controller in 1996 after making partner at E&Y. Promoted to CFO in July 2000.
390 Smith International
Margaret Dorman
42
Auditor then corporate controller. Joined Smith in 1995 as director of financial reporting. Became CFO in 1999.
409 Darden Restaurants
Linda Dimopoulos
55
Joined Darden in 1982; was promoted from CIO to CFO in December 2002.
412 Yahoo
Susan Decker
43
Once the global director of equity research at Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette; joined Yahoo in 2000.
449 Whole Foods Market
Glenda Flanagan Chamberlain
52
The mother of six has been CFO of Whole Foods since joining in 1988, after beginning her career as auditor.
457 Nash Finch
LeAnne M. Stewart
41
Formerly manager of corporate finance for Enron Europe, began career as auditor, joined Nash Finch in 1999 as head of FP&A, became controller and then CFO in 2004.
468 United Stationers
Kathleen Dvorak
49
Joined company in 1982, promoted to CFO in 2001 from VP of IR and assistant secretary.
480 Freeport-McMoRan Copper & Gold
Kathleen L. Quirk
42
Has been with FCX since 1989, working in various areas of treasury and IR. Named CFO in 2003.
Sources: Heidrick & Struggles; the companies

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