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What Female CEOs Need to Succeed

What Female CEOs Need to Succeed
By Leigh Buchanan
Published: June 13, 2018

It is desirable, but not sufficient, that more women become CEOs. Success shattering the glass ceiling must then be followed by success performing the top leadership role. Men can play an important part in achieving that: New research shows that the prospects for female CEOs are greatly improved by an assist from their predecessors, most of whom are male.

The authors of the research, published by the Academy of Management, studied every large company CEO succession between 1989 and 2009 in which a woman assumed the top spot. (The results should hold true for smaller companies as well, the authors say.) For comparative purposes they matched each case with a case involving male succession at a company in the same industry, of a similar size, and in the same year. They defined successful CEOs as those who achieved positive financial results in their first three years on the job.


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