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#ChangePays: There Were More Male CEOs Named John than Female CEOs


Despite notable progress over recent years, female executives remain grossly underrepresented in the C-suite.

The performance of firms that have made female appointments to their CEO and CFO positions offers evidence that female executives have outperformed, relative to their male peers.

Firms with female CEOs and CFOs have produced superior stock price performance, compared to the market average

The New York Times noted that “fewer large companies are run by women than by men named John” in an article published in 2015. “The Johns” were in second place by year-end 2016, but not by much. Although female executives remain grossly underrepresented in the C-suite, this small victory for gender inclusion underscores a changing dynamic. Did this change pay?

The S&P Global Market Intelligence Quantamental Research team has published one of the most comprehensive examinations, by breadth and time horizon, of gender diversity, to date.

Our research findings include:

  • A male-to-female ratio of 19:1 for CEO and 6.5:1 for CFO, as of year-end 2018, exposes a persisting underrepresentation of females in key executive positions, despite recent advancements.
  • Female CEOs drove more value appreciation and improved stock price momentum for their firms.
  • Female CFOs drove more value appreciation, better defended profitability moats, and delivered excess risk-adjusted returns for their firms.
  • An analysis of executives’ biographies suggests that the female executives who have been appointed to C-suite positions have attributes consistent with the most successful male executives. One interpretation of this result is that female executives are held to a higher standard by the companies’ board of directors, than their male counterparts.

#ChangePays: There Were More Male CEOs Named John than Female CEOs

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