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University of Miami School of Business Joins WEL in Honoring Firms that Embrace Women Leadership

February 11, 2009
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New Report on Women in Key Positions at Florida’s Top 150 Public Companies Unveiled

WEL Census 2008The University of Miami School of Business Administration joined WEL (Women Executive Leadership) today in announcing the winners of WEL’s 2008 Corporate Salute, naming 16 Florida companies that have two or more female directors on their boards. The findings, published in the 2008 Florida WEL Census of Women Directors and Executive Officers, are part of a statewide study that has been conducted biannually by the School of Business since 2004.

The research, which is led by members of the School’s accounting faculty, also analyzes the number of women who hold executive positions at each firm, the number of companies that have more than 25 percent representation of women on their boards, and the percentage of women of color on company boards. The report breaks down the numbers by firm revenue, industry and geographic region and compares Florida’s executive gender diversity to that of other states.

“As a leader in management research and education, the UM School of Business Administration has an important role to play in the study of corporate governance and other issues that impact organizations in Florida and around the world,” said Barbara E. Kahn, dean of the School of Business. “We are pleased to contribute to WEL’s efforts to increase boardroom diversity, both through this report and through our Executive MBA and other executive programs that prepare women for leadership positions.”

The School’s most recent class of Executive MBA (EMBA) participants, which started in January, is 35 percent female. The number compares favorably to the percentage of women in EMBA programs nationally which, according to The Wall Street Journal, averages less than 20 percent.

According to the 2008 Florida WEL Census of Women Directors and Executive Officers the state’s companies that have two or more women board members are Office Depot Inc., Ryder Systems Inc., Tupperware Brands Corporation, Raymond James Financial Inc., Chico’s FAS Inc., FPL Group Inc., CSX Corporation, Winn-Dixie Stores Inc., Darden Restaurants Inc., Harris Corp., Spherion Corporation, Stein Mart Inc., Brown & Brown Inc., Hollywood Media Corp., Flanigan’s Enterprises Inc., Imperial Industries Inc.

The study also shows that 7.4 percent of board seats in the top 150 Florida companies were held by women in 2008, the same level as 2007 but down from 2006 (8.7%). However, the number of female executive officers rose from 5.4 percent in 2006 to 7.0 percent in 2008. Visit http://womenexecutiveleadership.com to download a copy of the study.

“We hope these findings provide a very clear picture of the status of gender diversity within Florida’s public companies so that WEL can further its mission to increase awareness in this area,” said Kay Tatum, associate professor of accounting at the University of Miami School of Business Administration. “We were delighted to participate in this important study again this year, and applaud the 16 companies that stand out as the state’s gender diversity leaders,” added Tatum who led the research project.

WEL advocates, educates and connects accomplished executive women. Through extensive networking opportunities and educational workshops, the organization helps prepare female leaders for corporate board and executive suite positions. WEL enables women to raise their profiles and move to the forefront of executive search opportunities. Its signature event, Corporate Salute, provides an important advocacy platform that brings necessary attention to the landscape of gender diversity in the corporate world. WEL will salute the award winning companies and release its 2008 Census Study that details and benchmarks the status and number of women in the Boardroom and in executive positions of Florida’s Top 150 public companies. All qualified members from the corporate sector, private enterprises and not-for-profit organizations are encouraged to join WEL.  For membership information and to attend the Corporate Salute, please visit www.womenexecutiveleadership.com.

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