Who are the top 10 women in U.S. technology?
Nobody would ask who the top 10 men are in U.S. technology because their ranks fill the executive suites at Intel, Apple, Texas Instruments, Google, Microsoft, Nvidia, Motorola Mobility....and on and on.
Finding the women is harder because there are fewer, especially at the CEO level, where they can really influence the company and the industry.
Here are a few more than 10 to start:
Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox, a mechanical engineer with a masters degree from Columbia University. Head of Xerox since 2009, when she succeeded Anne Mulcahy, who had been a senior VP of human resources. Burns, 53, is experienced with technology.
Part of her mandate is to make the Stamford, Conn.-based Xerox more profitable by adding services, so Burns has spent billions acquiring services companies, mainly in printing and document preparation, but also in services important to enterprises.
The gamble has paid off so far. Xerox has been consistently profitable, selling services to the global Fortune 500, a far cry from when people were wondering about the paperless office.
Xerox has a market capitalization of $11.97 billion since Burns took over.
Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard, the former CEO of eBay. Whitman, who has an economics degree from Princeton and a Harvard MBA, lacks a technology background. But she helped transform eBay into an auction and sales giant. In a month as CEO of HP, the No. 1 global computer company, she managed to raise the share price 23 percent.
Still, the verdict is out on Whitman, HP's second woman CEO. The first, Carleton (Carly) Fiorina, a former sales executive from Lucent Technologies, was ousted over her performance in 2008, highlighted by her acquisition of Compaq Computer.
Now Whitman, 55, has decided to keep HP's PC business, essentially old Compaq, and use it as a key for growth. Whitman is also relying upon her executive chairman, Ray Lane, former president of Oracle, as a co-partner, especially for software issues.
Virginia Rometty, CEO-designate of IBM. Starting Jan. 1, Rometty, now IBM's EVP for strategy, gets the ring at the No. 2 computer services company, where one of her top lieutenants will be Linda Sanford, EVP for computing. It's believed Rometty won the CEO job because she's 54, compared to Sanford's 58. IBM CEO Samuel Palmisano is stepping down at 60.
Rometty, who has a B.S. in computer science and electrical engineering from Northwestern, is well-regarded as a strategist and got high marks helping IBM manage its giant takeover of Pricewaterhouse Cooper's consulting.
The Armonk, N.Y.-based giant has never had a woman CEO since it was founded in 1911, so Rometty's touch will be different, for sure. But with more than 325,000 colleagues, IBMers are known to have changed over the years when the typical IBMer was a middle-aged man with a white shirt. No longer.
In the technology world, talent counts. Rometty (and Sanford) have been well-regarded for years because of their records.
Ann Livermore, director of HP and until June, EVP for enterprise business under its last CEOs, Carly Fiorina, Mark Hurd and Leo Apotheker. Livermore, 53, is a Stanford MBA and has years of expertise building up HP's networking business.
When HP bought Electronic Data Systems for $13.9 billion in 2008, she was responsible for oversight. Twice passed over to be HP's CEO, Livermore could well be poised to be CEO of just about any other company in the sector. She is now a director of UPS.
Safra Catz, one of two co-presidents at Oracle as well as its CFO for the second time. Catz, 49, came to the Redwood Shores, Calif.-based software company from Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, where she had a successful Wall Street career.
The Israel-born Catz has a J.D. from the University of Pennsylvania and testified in Oracle's intellectual property lawsuits against German rival SAP. She argued then that Oracle deserved the $1.3 billion awarded by a jury rather than the $40 million SAP lawyers argued for.
Serving alongside co-President Mark Hurd, former CEO of both HP and NCR, Catz will always be a No. 2 after Oracle founder and CEO Larry Ellison, 67. But she's among the most respected women in the sector.
Stephanie DiMarco, founder and CEO of Advent Software. Not as well-known as she should be, DiMarco, 53, founded San Francisco-based Advent in 1983, which has become one Wall Street's best-regarded financial management software developers.
DiMarco's personal Advent Software holdings are valued now around $28 million.
DiMarco has also been CFO and president of the company throughout her tenure. Advent now has a market capitalization of $1.42 billion and a blue-chip client list.
Ellen Kullman, DuPont CEO, where she is the first woman to run the Wilmington, Del.-based chemical giant. Kullman, 55, has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Tufts as well as a masters in management from Northwestern and worked at General Electric before joining DuPont in 1988.
Kullman is a major advocate of science-based education as well as using chemicals to increase food supplies. Not surprisingly, just about all her subordinates are men, save for Linda Fisher, VP for safety, health and environment, and Diane Gulyas, president of DuPont Performance Polymers.
After IBM and HP, DuPont's market capitalization of $44.9 billion makes it among the biggest technology companies with a woman CEO. Kullman assumed office in 2009.
Three university presidents with technology backgrounds of major research universities are: Susan Hockfeld, 60, president of Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 2004; Shirley Ann Jackson, 65, president of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute since 1999; and Shirley M. Tilghman, 65, president of Princeton since 2001.
All three are at the top of their fields, Hockfeld in neuroscience, Jackson in physics and Tilghman in molecular biology. All are the first women presidents of their institutions, among America's greatest research universities that train the next generation of technical professionals and have the money for original research.
Besides serving as role models for students, all three presidents serve on at least one technology board of directors. Hockfeld is a director of General Electric; Jackson is a director of IBM and Medtronic and Tilghman is a director of Google.
Finally, in the U.S. government, two top women in technical positions are Lisa P. Jackson, 49, administrator of the Environmental Protection Agency, and Jane Lubchenko, 63, undersecretary of commerce and administrator of the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration.
Both women were appointed by President Obama in 2009.
Both are key policy makers on matters of the environment and climate change. Jackson is a chemical engineer from Princeton and Lubchenko, who has a doctorate in ecology from Harvard was president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.
There are other women in U.S. technology ranks: Carol Bartz, 63, was Yahoo CEO until she was ousted Sept. 5, but had served for years as CEO and chairman of Autodesk. Weili Dai, 49, is co-founder of Marvell Technology Group, the chipmaker, and an EVP, although her husband, Sehat Sutardja and brother-in-law Pantas Sutardja, really run the company.
Why so few at the top? Given that young women now outnumber men in graduate schools, there ought to be more. Surely, as far as consumption of technology products goes, from iPhones to Kindles, they are a huge market.
Will there be change over the next decade? Signals are mixed. But women were 50.8 percent of the U.S. population, the 2010 census reported.
Girls are nearly 50 percent of high school students who take the Advanced Placement exam in calculus but only 19 percent of the AP computer science test takers, the College Board reports.
In college, something happens. By graduation, women received only 18 percent of degrees in computing and information sciences in 2009, a sharp decrease from the 37 percent in 1985, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology.
There are similar disparities in electrical engineering, the traditional source for semiconductor and computer industry talent. Both Bill Hewlett and David Packard were electrical engineers.
Of the 407,000 members of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), 90 percent were male in 2010, despite years of supporting technical education for women.
Statistics also show that women engineers and technologists often leave the workforce in mid-career because they want to raise children or spend time at home. But other figures show they leave the technology sector for another. So that when the time comes for promotions, there are fewer women to choose from.
Besides the women mentioned above, there are several more who have been CEOs who might be available for another challenge.
Among them are Kim Polese, 39, who was CEO of Marimba when it was acquired by BMC Software; Diane Greene, a co-founder of VMware before its acquisition by EMC and then its spinoff, and Sandra Kurtzig, who founded ASK Group in 1972, is a mechanical engineer who built that company into one of Silicon Valley's biggest mid-range computer software developers. She sold ASK to CA Technologies in 1994. This year, she started Kenandy, another software developer, with $10.5 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, Salesforce.com and the Wilson Sonsini law firm.
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