"I believe part of my calling on this earth is to inspire women and empower women everywhere to transform their self-confidence and learn truly to believe in themselves," said Jamie Kern Lima

By Ian Horswill


Posted on September 6, 2019

Dr Bronwyn Evans has been appointed CEO of Australia’s peak engineering body Engineers Australia, as L’Oreal’s only female CEO, Jamie Kern Lima, announced she is leaving IT Cosmetics, the company she founded with her husband Paulo founded 11 years ago.

Dr Evans, formerly CEO of Standards Australia, held senior executive roles at Cochlear Ltd and GE Healthcare, as well as non-executive board experience in the construction, medical technology and digital business sectors.

“An electrical engineer who has led successful corporations across manufacturing, construction, research and standards-setting, Dr Evans is well-placed to lead our organisation into its next chapter as the engineering profession transitions to take advantage of the technological disruptions and innovation of the future,” said Trish White, National President and Board Chair of Engineers Australia.

Dr Evans said she was excited to take on the role.

“With the global megatrends shaping our future relying so significantly on engineering insight and leadership it is a fascinating and important time for the profession,” she said.

Jamie Kern Lima
Jamie Kern Lima, the CEO and face of L’Oreal’s IT Cosmetics, is stepping down as CEO. Photo: Jamie Kern Lima

L’Oreal bought IT Cosmetics for US$1.2 billion in cash in August 2016, the French conglomerate’s biggest acquisition in eight years. Kern Lima pocketed US$410 million from the sale and became the first female CEO of one of its brands in L’Oreal’s 100-plus-year history. Forbes reported that 66% of L’Oreal’s brands are led by women who have the title of global brand president.

“The time has come to step into an exciting new professional and personal chapter ahead. I believe part of my calling on this earth is to inspire women and empower women everywhere to transform their self-confidence and learn truly to believe in themselves,” Kern Lima wrote in a letter posted on her Instagram account. She has used the money from the sale of IT Cosmetics to invest in more than a dozen women-led businesses.

Women comprise about 47% of the US workforce, yet they make up barely a quarter of all senior executives at large US public companies. Only about 5% of Standard & Poor’s 500 companies have female CEOs. Of the companies that make up the 2019 Fortune 500 list, 33 have women CEOs – an all-time high. In the past 12 months, Northrop Grumman appointed Kathy Warden as CEO, Land O’Lakes appointed Beth Ford as CEO and Best Buy made Corie Barry the CEO. She stepped into her role on June 1. Williams-Sonoma CEO Laura Alber and Advanced Micro Devices CEO Lisa Su have been CEO of their companies for a considerable time. Mary Winston was appointed CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond in May, making her the first black woman to head a Fortune 500 company since Ursula Burns stepped down from her role at Xerox more than two years ago. The CEO Magazine reported in July that Julie Sweet had been appointed CEO of global consulting business Accenture.

Williams-Sonoma Laura Alber
Laura Alber has been CEO of consumer retail company Williams-Sonoma since 2010. Photo: Williams-Sonoma

In the US, Mary Barra is the General Motors Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, in charge of the US’ largest vehicle manufacturer. She has held the CEO position since 15 January 2014 and is the first female CEO of a major global automaker.

General Motors CEO Mary Barra

In Australia, women hold 13.7% of chair positions and 25.8% of directorships and represent 17.1% of CEOs and 30.5% of key management personnel, the Australian government’s Workplace Gender Equality Agency reported. There are 15 female CEOs of the ASX 300: Jayne Hrdlicka, CEO and managing director of a2 Milk Company; Marnie Baker, Bendigo & Adelaide Bank CEO; Alison Mary Watkins, CEO of Coca-Cola Amatil; Kate McKenzie, CEO of Chorus Limited; Julie Coates, CSR Limited CEO; Catherine Norman, is CEO of FAR Limited; Elizabeth Gaines, Fortescue Metals CEO; Katie Page-Harvey, CEO of Harvey Norman; Jeanne Johns, CEO of Incitec Pivot; Amanda Lacaze, Lynas Corporation CEO; Sue Lloyd-Hurwitz, CEO of Mirvac Group; Shemara Wikramanayake, became CEO and Managing director of Macquarie Bank on 1 December 2018; Linda Mellors, became CEO of aged care provider Regis Healthcare in August; Dr Jackie Fairley was appointed CEO of Starpharma Holdings Ltd in July 2006, and Susan Channon who has been CEO of Virtus Health since 2004.

Jane Hrdlicka
Jane Hrdlicka is CEO and Managing Director of The a2 Milk Company and non-executive President of Tennis Australia Limited.

In Sweden, only one in five people in management positions at Swedish companies listed on the Swedish stock market is a woman, according to research by AllBright. When it comes to CEO positions, the results are even worse, with women representing only six per cent, or 17 out of Sweden’s 289 CEOs.

Carina_Akerstrom
Carina Akerstrom became the first female CEO of one of Sweden’s biggest banks Svenska Handelsbanken in February. Photo: Handelsbanken AB

Women living in Singapore make up 33% of their companies’ senior management team, but just 9% of CEOs are women, according to a poll by Grant Thornton International.

chua_sock_koong
Chua Sock Koong is the Group CEO of Singtel, a position she has held since April 2007.

The 2019 research by Grant Thornton International reveals the highest recorded proportion of women in senior management globally at 29%. Eastern Europe has the highest percentage of women in top roles, with 32% of senior management in the region made up of females, compared with Latin America, the worst performing at just 25%.

In corporate India, only 67 of 1,814 CEOs of National Stock Exchange-listed companies, are women as of March 6, 2019, Prime Database reported.

Kiran_Mazumdar_Shaw.jpg