Corporate Boards Snap Up Women College Presidents

Deborah L. Spar

Debora L. Spar, president of Barnard College in New York City, recently was elected to the board of directors of the Goldman Sachs Group. Spar has been president of Barnard College since 2008. She was previously on the faculty at Harvard Business School. Dr. Spar, who is a graduate of Georgetown University and earned a Ph.D. in government from Harvard, earned total compensation of about $280,000 in 2009 from Barnard College. Last year, directors at Goldman Sachs were granted stock with a value of close to $500,000.

Ruth Simmons, president of Brown University, had been a board member at Goldman Sachs but stepped down in May 2010 because of constraints on her time.

Women who are college or university presidents are attractive candidates for corporate boards of directors. Shirley Ann Jackson, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute sits on several boards. Shirley Tilghman, president of Princeton University, is a director at Google. Amy Gutmann, president of the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, sits on the board of Vanguard Group. Susan Hockfield, president of MIT, sits on the board of directors at General Electric.

However, women are still vastly underrepresented on corporate boards. A new analysis conducted by Bloomberg Rankings, finds that women hold only 16 percent of all board seats at companies that make up the S&P 500. This is down from 16.6 percent a year ago. Some 47 of the 500 companies have no women on their boards. The only S&P 500 companies at which women make up at least 40 percent of the directors, according to Bloomberg, are Avon Products, Estee Lauder, and Macy’s Inc. Women make up at least a third of all board members at 21 companies.

Filed Under: LeadershipResearch/Study


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