Top California Company Leaders Dominated by Men, UC Davis Graduate School of Management Study Says

  Top California Company Leaders Dominated by Men, UC Davis Graduate School of
  Management Study Says

Business Wire

DAVIS, Calif. -- December 05, 2012

The 400 largest companies headquartered in California, representing almost $3
trillion in shareholder value, still resemble a “boys’ club” with women
filling fewer than 10 percent of top executive jobs, a University of
California, Davis, study has found.

The Graduate School of Management’s eighth annual UC Davis Study of California
Women Business Leaders — a yearly benchmark for the Golden State’s lack of
progress in promoting women business leaders — paints a dismal picture for
women in leadership during fiscal year 2011-2012. Some of the best known among
these top companies, or the California 400, have no women leaders.

The survey is the only one of its kind to focus on gender equity in the
boardrooms and executive suites of corporate California.

This year, for the first time, the survey also looked at ethnicity among the
85 Fortune 1000 companies in California, and only one company in this subset
of businesses had an ethnic woman as the CEO. Furthermore, only 13 had any
ethnic women directors.

“To compete in today’s global marketplace, successful companies need leaders
from a variety of backgrounds, skills and experience to make critical
strategic and operations decisions, but the lack of women in these California
public companies is anything but forward-thinking,” said Steven C. Currall,
dean of the UC Davis Graduate School of Management. “There are many talented,
highly qualified women for these top leadership positions, yet every year we
see the same figures and little improvement.”

The survey featured one statistical bright spot: The percentage of women
directors year-to-year jumped a half percent, the highest annual increase in
four years. For the past few years, the figure climbed only 0.2 percent

“This is a slight increase, but not nearly what we should be seeing,” Currall
said. “We challenge the business community in California to improve on its
past. Women, by far, make the most purchasing decisions in certain industries,
for example, and they are nearly 50 percent of the U.S. workforce. So, it’s
vital that we have that diversity of thought and experience in the leadership
of these companies. More and more research is showing that having more women
in top management and on boards actually improves company performance.”

Among the key findings of the study:

  *There is only one woman for every nine men among directors and
    highest-paid executives.
  *Only 13 of the 400 largest companies have a woman CEO.
  *No company has an all-female (nor gender-balanced) board and management
  *Almost half (44.8 percent) of California’s companies have no women
    directors; 34 percent have only one woman director.
  *Among counties with at least 20 companies, San Francisco County has the
    greatest percentage of women directors (16 percent), and Orange County has
    the least (8.7 percent). Alameda County has the most highest-paid women
    executives in the study.
  *By industry, firms in the semiconductor and software industries and those
    located in the Silicon Valley (Santa Clara County) tended to include fewer
    women on the board and in highest-paid executive positions. Firms in the
    consumer goods sector had the highest average percentage of women
    directors and highest-paid executives.
  *Of the best-known companies in California — Apple, Google, Intel, Cisco,
    Visa, eBay, DIRECTV, Yahoo!, and PG&E — none of their highest-paid
    executives at fiscal year-end were women.
  *The Silicon Valley companies — representing nearly half the shareholder
    value of the companies on the list — showed the worst record for
    percentage of women executives, consistent with past years of the study.
    Only 6.6 percent of their highest-paid executives are women.

The study looked at the five highest-paid executives for each company, also
called “named executive officers,” as reported to the Securities and Exchange
Commission. The study examined filing data available as of Oct. 1, 2012. The
400 companies were selected based on market capitalization.

For figures on ethnicity, study authors used a database that tracks Fortune
1000 companies nationwide and other sources, including company websites and
SEC filings.

The company with the best gender balance in this year’s survey was San
Francisco-based Williams-Sonoma, Inc. The home furnishings and cookware
company reported that women held nearly 47 percent of their highest-paid
executive and board director seats.

“Williams-Sonoma, Inc. is proud to be a leader in diversity and consider this
to be at the core of our business practices. We work to create an environment
that attracts great talent, and we seek to motivate, inspire and recognize
high performance among all employees,” says Laura Alber, president and CEO of
Williams-Sonoma, Inc.

Williams-Sonoma was ranked ninth in last year’s study, with 31 percent of its
executive and board member seats filled by women, and it has been in the top
25 companies in the list three years consecutively.

The highest ranking company two consecutive years previously, bebe stores
inc., dropped to second place in the latest study while maintaining 40 percent
women in its top positions.

UC Davis partnered with Watermark, a Bay Area-based nonprofit that offers
programs for executive women, to complete the study.

“Companies today know they need to increase innovation,” said Marilyn Nagel,
CEO of Watermark. “They need talent on top that is tuned into customer needs.
They need directors and executives who are strong, capable, qualified leaders
in every sense.

“However, while so many are bemoaning the lack of these qualities in
candidates for their top positions — they are overlooking the women right in
front of them who can deliver all of these qualities in spades,” Nagel added.

To download a full copy of the study, including industry-by-industry and
county-by-county statistics, visit

About the UC Davis Graduate School of Management

Dedicated to preparing innovative leaders for global impact, the UC Davis
Graduate School of Management is consistently ranked among the premier
business schools in the United States and internationally. The school’s
faculty members are globally renowned for their teaching excellence and
research in advancing management thinking. With prime locations in Northern
California’s economic hubs, the school provides a bold, innovative approach to
management education to about 100 full-time MBA students at the UC Davis
campus, 425 part-time MBA students in Sacramento and the San Francisco Bay
Area, and welcomed the charter class of Master of Professional Accountancy
students in fall 2012.

The school is committed to admitting and retaining a diverse student body,
faculty and staff. Nearly half its full-time faculty are women, the highest
percentage among the top 100 business schools ranked by The Financial Times.
The Princeton Review recognizes UC Davis as the No. 4 business school in the
nation for offering “the greatest opportunity for women.” And the school
recently became only the 11th academic member of Catalyst, the leading global
nonprofit expanding opportunities for women and business.

About Watermark

Watermark is a Bay Area-based nonprofit that offers programs for executive
women in a trusted environment where members come together as business
advisers to problem solve, network and grow. Watermark’s Board Access Program
ensures that our participants have the background and experience to be the
best-qualified, and have the connections needed to obtain board seats.


UC Davis Graduate School of Management
Tim Akin, 530-752-7362
Amanda Kimball, 530-752-7371
UC Davis News Service
Karen Nikos, 530-219-5472
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