With a growing pool of highly qualified women and intensified investor pressure on boards to diversify corporate management teams, companies "are hiring more high-potential women who could be CEO," says Judith von Seldeneck, head of Diversified Search, a Philadelphia executive-recruitment firm.
The next wave of women who will command major U.S. corporations likely are senior managers today. "Some phenomenally well-qualified women" hold top operational jobs, says Ellen Kullman, CEO of DuPont Co.
Nearly 73% of Fortune 500 companies now have at least one female executive officer, though women comprise just 14% of executive officers, according to Catalyst, a New York research group.
In good news for the pipeline, a study conducted by McKinsey & Co. for The Wall Street Journal, found that 24% of senior vice presidents at 58 big companies are now women. However, a lack of profit-and-loss experience may stall some women's progress.
Source: The Wall Street Journal, April 30, 2012