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When Women Lead, Firms Win

By Daniel J. Sandberg, PhD, CFA, Quantamental Research

n one of the most comprehensive studies1 of its kind, a new report from the S&P Global Market Intelligence Quantamental Research Team examines the performance of firms that have made female appointments to their CEO and CFO positions.


Published: October 16, 2019

The study finds that firms with female CFOs are more profitable and generated excess profits2 of $1.8T over the study horizon.

Firms with female CEOs and CFOs have produced superior stock price performance, compared to the market average. In the 24 months post-appointment, female CEOs saw a 20% increase in stock price momentum and female CFOs saw a 6% increase in profitability and 8% larger stock returns. These results are economically and statistically significant.

Firms with a high gender diversity on their board of directors were more profitable and larger than firms with low gender diversity. Firms with female CEOs and CFOs have a demonstrated culture of Diversity and Inclusion (D&I), evinced by a larger representation of females on the company’s board of directors. Firms with female CEOs have twice the number of female board members, compared to the market average (23% vs 11%).

Analysis of executive biographies suggests that one driver of superior results by females may be that females are held to a higher standard. The average female executive has characteristics in common with the most successful male executives, suggesting that common attributes drive success among males and females, alike. Overall, the attributes that correlate with success among male executives were found more often in female executives. This finding refutes the commonly held belief in ‘token’ female executives.

For a PDF of this report, please



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