Women-Led Companies Outpaced the 2009 Stock Rally
Once again, female CEOs doubled the market benchmark
- The 13 US blue-chips run by a woman all of 2009 didn’t just ride the year’s stock market rally — they led it, with an average 50% gain in the share price, double the S&P average.
- The gains ranged from the heady 387% rise for Rite Aid — whose CEO, Mary Sammons, arranged a debt refinancing through 2012 that kept the long-troubled drugstore chain out of bankruptcy — to 8% at Xerox, which made history in 2009 by completing the first woman-to-woman transfer of power at a US blue-chip, which made Ursula Burns the first African-American woman to head a Fortune 500 firm.
- Only oil giant Sunoco, run by Lynn Laverty Elsenhans, fell hard, off 41% amid disappointing returns. One of the two companies to have appointed women during the year, BJ’s Wholesale Club, declined marginally since Laura Sen took over. Including the annualised returns for those two companies, women-led firms gained 46.1% in 2009. (Stocks often dip right after a woman is appointed.)
- USA Today, which compiled the results for the seventh year, said 2009 was among the best for women-led companies, much like 2003, when they led the S&P by the same margin.
- The results add to the large body of evidence that companies with a gender balance (and most of these companies still have mostly-male Executive Committees) offer better returns (though not always better stock prices in the short-term) than those run largely by men.
- But Carol Meyrowitz, CEO of retailer TJX, up 79%, told the newspaper, “Good leadership is about the person and has little to do with gender.”
- Maybe so, but women-run companies have led the S&P for three of the seven tracked years and held even three others, trailing only in 2005, by 12 percentage points, when the number of women-led firms fell to a low of seven.
The USA Today report