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Coffee Talk
Business Observer Friday, Nov. 3, 2017 1 year ago

Strength in numbers

Chico's FAS shows the power of women in business.

Fort Myers-based women's retailer Chico's FAS recently picked up some national attention for the number of women among its board and executive ranks.

The company was designated a 2020 Women on Boards company, for having 20% or more of its board seats held by women. It also has an executive committee that's more than 80% female, according to a report from 2020 Women on Boards. The organization is a nonprofit committed to increasing the percentage of women who serve on company boards to 20% or greater by the year 2020. Lakeland-based Publix is also on the list.

In addition to 2020 Women on Boards, Chico's ranked No. 1 in a recent report from financial website 24/7 Wall Street on companies with the best (and worst) executive female representation. The website used data from research group LedBetter, which created an index of the share of women on the board and the share of women in executive leadership positions at 237 global corporations.

Chico's led the way, with 56% women represented on the board and 73% in executive positions, the report shows. Other companies in the Top 10 include Target, Best Buy and Etsy. Nintendo, Nissan Motor Co. and investment firm Icahn Enterprises, with no women on the board or in the executive offices, fill out the bottom three.

At Chico's, meanwhile, the top-ranking woman is President and CEO Shelley Broader, named to her position in 2105. Chico's spokeswoman Julie Lorigan says Broader and the executive team are proud of the recognition, but the company doesn't hire or promote women in a bubble. “We don't actively recruit women,” Lorigan tells Coffee Talk. “We recruit talent.”

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