New female CEOs faced with greater shareholder activism: Study

But proactive, gender-neutral public relations can moderate effect
By Sarah Dobson
|Canadian HR Reporter|Last Updated: 10/03/2016

Female CEOs are more likely to be targeted by shareholder activists than male CEOs, according to a study from Arizona State University (ASU). The research examined shareholder proposals at Fortune 1000 companies from 2003 to 2013.

“Controlling for other reasons investors target certain firms, our models show that gender alone explains significant activism specifically toward female CEOs,” said Christine Shropshire, associate professor of management at the W.P. Carey School of Business at ASU in Temple, Ariz.

“All else held equal, female CEOs have a 27 per cent likelihood of facing activism, while their male counterparts have a near zero predicted likelihood of being targeted.”