Nearly Half of Philadelphia’s Largest Companies Have No Women in Top Executive Positions

15th Annual Women on Boards
Report Asks the Question: What’s It Going to Take to Make Change Happen?

PHILADELPHIA–(BUSINESS WIRE)–The proportion of corporate women leaders in Philadelphia-area companies
has barely budged in recent years, according to The
Forum of Executive Women’s
annual Women
on Boards Report
, which is being released today at The Forum’s
Annual Leadership Breakfast. The report — Making Change Happen –
What’s it Going to Take? —
not only provides a status report on the
number of women leaders at public companies, universities and health
care systems in the Philadelphia region, but also provides specific
examples of companies that have made change happen and how their efforts
can be a model for other organizations.

Women on Boards 2015 documents minimal progress in 2014 in
bolstering the ranks of corporate women leaders in the region according
to an analysis of 2014 year-end SEC filings of the 100 largest public
companies in Philadelphia. Women only held 13 percent of board seats and
13 percent of executive positions at these companies — a share that
netted no overall change from the year before.

The recurring lack of progress documented in this year’s report suggests
that nothing will change by chance. The report offers actionable
strategies that companies and nonprofits can implement. It also
highlights the ways that individual leaders, both women and men, can
take personal responsibility in creating a workplace where high-level
advancement is equally possible for both genders.

Data collected from a database of public Form 990 filings for 2013 was
also used to show the leadership composition at 18 healthcare systems
and 20 colleges and universities in the region. Comparatively, women
held 24 percent of board seats in the region’s healthcare systems, and
30 percent of board seats in colleges and universities in the region.

This year’s report includes profiles of two companies – American
and The Children’s Hospital of Philadelphia (CHOP)
that have chosen to make it their business to have a significant
number of women leaders, and share the initiatives they have in place to
advance women at all levels in their organizations. The report features
interviews with three American Water Board members – CEO Susan Story;
Board Member and former COO of Telecorp PCS Julie Dobson, and Board
Member and CEO of WHYY William Marrazzo; and Madeline Bell, president
and chief executive officer of CHOP.

Report Findings

For the third year, The Forum collaborated with the Philadelphia office
of PwC
to conduct the analysis of the 100 largest public companies (by
revenue) in the Philadelphia region as defined by the Philadelphia
Business Journal
. PwC serves as The Forum’s “Women Upfront” annual
sponsor and conducts the research behind the report findings.

Key results of the top 100 public companies include:

  • 35 had no women on their boards
  • 49 had no women in their top executive ranks
  • 94 were headed by a male CEO

‘Top Earners’ statistics are telling:

  • Women comprised only 10 percent of top earners at the 100 public
  • Women comprised 20 percent of top earners at healthcare systems
  • Women made up 27 percent of top earners at colleges and universities

Numbers among health systems, four-year colleges and universities are
slightly better than public company figures:

  • In 2013 women held 30 percent of board seats and 40 percent of
    CEO/President positions at four-year colleges and universities
  • In hospitals and health systems, women held 24 percent of board
    seats and 28 percent of CEO/President positions

In addition to the one-year snapshot, the report includes comparison
data for the Philadelphia region’s top 100 public companies in 2009 and
2014. Those numbers show that there has been some progress in increasing
the proportion of women in board seats, executive positions and top
earners, though in absolute numbers women are still a relatively small

From 2009 to 2014:

  • The proportion of board seats held by women increased from 11
    percent to 13 percent
  • The proportion of executive positions held by women increased from
    11 percent to 13 percent
  • The proportion of top earners who were female increased from 9
    percent to 10 percent

“We must get more business leaders to see this as an issue of our age,”
said Suzanne Mayes, Esq., President of The Forum of Executive Women and
Chair, Public and Project Finance at Cozen O’Connor. “We have to get to
the point where companies that are not proactive are the outliers.”

“This evolution to make change happen should be a priority for boards
and in C-suites, in order for companies to unlock the possibilities of
being more innovative in their business strategies for the future,” said
Deanna Byrne, assurance partner in PwC’s Philadelphia office. “The
reality is that we are all connected, and realizing the full potential
in an organization requires men and women to play active roles in each
other’s successes.”

The full results are available online at

Women on Boards 2015 will be released today
at The Forum’s Annual Leadership Breakfast, which features Sara Mathew,
former chairman and chief executive officer of Dun & Bradstreet, whose
keynote address is titled, “Dare to Lead.”

For support in identifying talented women or for additional information,
please contact The Forum at

About The Forum of Executive Women

Founded in 1977, The Forum of Executive Women is the region’s premier
women’s organization, actively working to increase the number of women
in leadership roles, expand their impact and influence, and position
them to drive positive change in the Greater Philadelphia region. For
additional information, visit

About PwC US

PwC US helps organizations and individuals create the value they’re
looking for. We’re a member of the PwC network of firms, which has firms
in 157 countries with more than 195,000 people. We’re committed to
delivering quality in assurance, tax and advisory services. Find out
more and tell us what matters to you by visiting us at

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of its subsidiaries or affiliates, and may sometimes refer to the PwC
network. Each member firm is a separate legal entity. Please see
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The Forum of Executive Women
Carol Lunger, 610-574-0576