Women on the CEO Track Make Gains

September 20, 2012

A new generation of women CEOs are waiting in the wings and are ready to take over the corner office, according to this story in the Wall Street Journal.

“With a growing pool of highly qualified women and intensified investor pressure on boards to diversify corporate management teams, companies are hiring more women who could become CEOs.”

WSJ cites a new McKinsey & Co. study that found that 24% of senior vice presidents at 58 big companies are now women.

Women have slowly but surely been making headway in filling executive leadership roles. Since 2006, the percentage of women holding leadership roles at Fortune 500 companies has grown from 14.6% to 16.1% today, according to women's advocacy organization Catalyst.

Now women are consciously positioning themselves to take the next big step in their careers, including strategically networking and sitting on corporate boards, and their moves are starting to pay off.

“If you want a CEO role, you have to prepare for it with a vengeance,” says Denise Morrison, chief of Campbell Soup Co. Morrison says she cultivated ties with leaders of other food makers by attending food-industry events in her off hours. Joining a corporate board outside their industry also helps prepare executive women for CEO spots, she adds, as directorships can show rising talent how chief executives get things done.

This is all good news for the U.S. Chamber’s Center for Women in Business (CWB). The CWB’s mission is to create more opportunities for women to advance in the business world and to find professional fulfillment. The goal of the CWB is to see more women serving on corporate boards and in executive leadership roles in businesses of all sizes.

Originally posted on FreeEnterprise.com on April 30, 2012.