Over the past 10 years, in 2,500 of the world’s largest companies, 38 percent of female chief executives were fired, as compared with 27 percent male CEOs. That’s a number that, if put through the rigors of statistical significance tests, would be shown as statistically significant – that is, that cannot be caused by chance, but for which there must be other reasons for this circumstance. We can all recall the most prominent of those – Carly Fiorina dismissed by the Hewlett-Packard board in 2006; Angela Braly, CEO of WellPoint, dismissed in 2012; and, more recently, Marissa Mayer, at Yahoo who was saved from the dismissal process by Verizon’s acquisition of Yahoo. And, then, of course, there are several female CEOs who jump from one unfortunate experience to another – such as Meg Whitman – first, at eBay (the company thrived once she was replaced as CEO) and now at Hewlett-Packard, where things there aren’t going that well, either. I highlight these statistics, certainly not to disparage those involved in the dismissals, but to point out that, thus far, female CEOs haven’t quite figured out how to “pass muster” in the high leadership ranks and in the CEO arena, in particular. And I point this circumstance out to caution all of us when we hear the old bromide “We need a female President (of the United States)” to ponder these facts and ask the question, “Why would that be so?”

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