Krebs, veteran automotive-industry authority, is part of the
Edmunds.com team, providing news and commentary. In a recent blog post
at the Edmunds Auto Observer, Michelle commented on the Wall Street
Journal's recent "2007 50 Women to Watch" List.
According to the Wall Street Journal, "While the number of women in top executive jobs has barely increased, the pipeline is filled with female talent at a growing number of big corporations."
While the Journal states that women still hold just about 16.4% of Fortune 500 corporate-officer jobs -- positions of vice president or higher that require board approval -- according to Krebs, only one woman on the list "can be considered strictly an automotive executive, that being Chrysler's Deborah Wahl-Meyer."
Krebs continued: "Ranking number 39 on the list, Wahl-Meyer left her post as head of marketing post of Toyota's Lexus last summer to become Chrysler's chief marketing officer. The newspaper points out that the 44-year-old Detroit native, who worked for Ford before joining Toyota, is among a string of executives to join Chrysler as it struggles to make a comeback."
Ranked number 36 on the list is Jeong-eun Hyun, chairwoman of the
Hyundai Group, a conglomerate that, among other things, also builds
cars. The automotive connection is coincidental; she didn't rank this
high for her influence in the Korean auto market. Instead, the Journal
said of her: "The person with the best chance to persuade North Korea
to open up its economy and the person who could do the most to prolong
the dictatorial regime may turn out to be one and the same."
Catalyst, the New York group responsible for the research, says the number of women executives has increased just 0.7 percentage point from 2002. According to Catalyst, women comprise just one-sixth of corporate directors.
The silver lining, Krebs summarizes, is that the pipeline is filled with female talent at a growing number of big corporations. Moreover, some women who've made it to the top are grooming women right behind them to be their successors.
Who was at the top of the list?
Angela Braly, President and Chief Executive of WellPoint Inc. (left)
Number two is Indra Nooyi, Chairman and Chief Executive of PepsiCo Inc. (right)
Click here to view a sortable list of the women the Wall Street Journal believes have the potential to make a significant impact on business in the year ahead. Once the chart opens, you can click to sort the list by rank, last name, or company name. Plus, click on each woman's name to read a short profile.
By Brandy Schaffels
Photos via the Wall Street Journal