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Who’s the Helm of US Healthcare? A Spring 2017 Checkup

I’ve been tracking women at the helm of healthcare organizations now for a while–and overall, the news is still pretty blue at the top. But, for those of you who get excited when women leaders break the glass ceiling like I do, I have an exciting bit of news, that honestly didn’t get much press for some reason – but I’m here on my bandwagon to trumpet it!

This spring, for the first time in a long time, if EVER, a woman finally made it to CEO of a top 15 pharmaceutical company! Congratulations to GSK for promoting Emma Walmsley to the CEO position. I’d personally like to thank her for allowing me to finally put something besides blue and zero at the bottom of this list:

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 10.37.52 AM

I also decided to start tracking the % of women on the corporate boards of these healthcare companies this time around. First, let me just say that some companies don’t really have their board of directors listed anywhere ‘easy’ to find – I literally had to dig into some recent 10K reports to get these percentages sussed out. Odd.

Second, the standard deviation of percentages of women on boards is wide – you can see above it varies anywhere from 6.7%-41.7%. Considering it has been shown that more women on boards increase corporate profitability, I challenge all of us to consider these statistics when investing our hard-earned money in our mutual funds, retirement programs, and IRAs.¹

The other group I analyzed thus far this spring (as I try to do every 6 months) is retail pharmacy chains. Unfortunately, I don’t have any great news here….not much change, and I still think if aliens landed on Earth and only met these leaders, they’d be very confused about the lack of women at the top:

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 10.36.13 AM

If the rumors are true and Amazon is getting into the pharmacy business (which are just rumors in my world – hearsay – I don’t know if it is true or not and don’t take any ownership of this rumor in any way, shape or form), I looked at their board, and they have 33% women on it, which could be a strategic advantage for them, as their percentage is a little higher than some of the companies above.

And, shoutout to Sanofi² and Cardinal Health for having the highest %s of women on their boards in the lists above.

I’ll continue to do my homework and study up on other healthcare organizations this spring and bring more of this information to light – even if I have to root around in 10Ks to do it. If I’m wrong on any of the data above – call me out on it, give me a link to the corrected info, and I’ll gladly update it. It’s important. The only way we’re ever truly going to get to gender parity in healthcare leadership is to keep on holding up the mirror….

1. I really despise it when people reference data but don’t provide actual sources. So, here is a recent source and study on this: http://www.catalyst.org/media/companies-more-women-board-directors-experience-higher-financial-performance-according-latest.
2. Sanofi is a company based in France. Do they have a higher percentage of women on their board for this reason? http://fortune.com/2016/03/22/french-women-corporate-boards-quota/ Maybe. But we’ll take it!

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