Goldman Sachs Group hired Kate Richdale from Morgan Stanley to head investment banking services for Asia excluding Japan, the banking giant announced yesterday ahead of today's International Women's Day.
The move comes as the Wall Street firm looks to strengthen client relationships in the region and is another sign of the growing presence of women in senior positions on major company boards.
Ms Richdale, a 13-year Morgan Stanley veteran, will be responsible for covering clients. She was head of investment banking for Asia-Pacific at Morgan Stanley and was also made a partner at Goldman Sachs, according to the company.
She will report to Dan Dees and Matthew Westerman, Goldman Sachs co-heads of investment banking for the region and will join the firm in June in Hong Kong.
Morgan Stanley cut about 15 per cent of its investment banking positions in Asia starting in mid-January, involving 55 to 60 bankers in the business that was overseen by Ms Richdale, two people with knowledge of the matter said at the time.
Meanwhile, Vodafone India said on Wednesday it was expanding the network of its all-women stores, called Angel Stores, as an initiative ahead of International Women's Day. The Vodafone Angel Store is completely managed and run by women employees, the company said.
"The Angel Stores are a part of Vodafone's commitment to provide our women employees with one of the most secure and productive work environment," Marten Pieters, the managing director and chief executive of Vodafone India, told India's Business Standard newspaper on Wednesday.
"Additionally, our women customers feel more welcomed while visiting the store. Going forward, we will continue to expand the Vodafone Angel Store network across more locations." The 16th store is due to open in Kerala today to mark International Women's Day.
Elsewhere, in celebration of International Women's Day, the media life coach, Coach Lyds, will host a 12-hour live Twitter Marathon taking questions to empower women in all walks of life to further success in their work and lives, SourceWire reported. The panellists, from a variety of sectors and backgrounds, include Lydia Frempong at Coach Lyds, Priscilla Baffour at the UK TV station Channel 4, Emma Sexton at SheSays, Ushma Patel at PomiGarnetz and Dr Funke B a Media Psychologist.
The debate invites women to share knowledge, ask questions and come together to tackle professional and personal blocks. Anybody can track and get involved in the debate by using the WomensSuccessIWD13 tag.
The online initiative comes at a time surveys compiled by Forbes showed more than 80 per cent of total US workers said they planned to look for a new job this year, and 60 per cent said they wanted to choose a different career path entirely. Women seem to be at the forefront of the charge. For the past few years, more women than men in the United States have pursued MBAs in order to make a mid-career switch.
The jobs expert Laurence Shatkin, who is the author of Best Jobs for the 21st Century, uncovered the best jobs for women in the US this year by analysing the occupations with the highest percentage of women reporting "very high" satisfaction levels, based on the National Survey of College Graduates, the highest median annual earnings as of 2011, strong projected growth through 2020 and the largest number of total annual openings, as tracked by the US department of labour.
Mr Shatkin found a woman's best shot at career success in the US this year was as a diagnosing medical doctor, including physicians, dentists and optometrists.
The majority of women in this role, 60 per cent, reported very high satisfaction levels. The job pays a median salary of US$121,000 (Dh444,445) and features high job security. There are nearly 80,000 openings a year, and the field is expected to grow 27 per cent by 2020, Mr Shatkin said.
In some of the best jobs, women are still heavily in the minority. However, although they are only 29 per cent of actuaries, who provide expert assessments of financial security, and only 5 per cent of petroleum engineers are women, both roles landed on Mr Shatkin's top-10 list. Some 56 per cent of female actuaries report being "very satisfied," compared to only 47 per cent of male peers.
Last month, the US National Association for Female Executives (Nafe) named the Top 50 companies for executive women, who now make up 25 per cent of corporate executives - up from 22 per cent last year.
The report, conducted by the Working Mother Research Institute for Nafe, also finds that women now occupy 26 per cent of all board of director seats at the Nafe top 50.
The top 10 companies for this year are, in alphabetical order: Abbott; AstraZeneca; General Mills; IBM; Johnson & Johnson; KPMG; Marriott International; Procter & Gamble; Prudential Financial; and State Farm.
"This year we see measurable progress for women at companies that have made their advancement a priority, a smart strategy given the growing research that correlates greater numbers of women in top positions with higher revenues," said Betty Spence, the president of Nafe. "For women, these are the top companies to work for."
IBM is a trailblazer for women in business. In 2011, the 30-year IBM veteran Virginia Rometty was appointed the chief executive, becoming the first woman to head the century-old tech giant. Additionally, 27 per cent of IBM's senior managers and 23 per cent of its corporate executives are women.The world's biggest computer-services provider, said last week it would double its investment in mobile technology this year, not including acquisitions it could make in the industry.
Ms Rometty plans to move employees and resources to mobile technology as part of the investment, said Robert LeBlanc, the senior vice president of middleware software at IBM. "If you talked to [Ms Rometty] and asked her what the key growth plays are for IBM, she would tell you mobility is one of them," Mr LeBlanc said.
"We're moving some of our skill and resources into mobility as a growth play."
He declined to provide specific figures IBM's investment in mobile.
In addition, IBM, together with other firms and the US financial industry regulatory authority (Finra), plans to bid on a project to build a comprehensive market oversight system for US securities.
The exchange operators NYSE Euronext, Nasdaq OMX Group and Bats Global Markets also said last week they would submit bids.
The audit trail, one of the former US securities and exchange commission (SEC) chairman Mary Schapiro's main projects, will track all securities orders and trades in the US from start to completion and give the agency and other regulators a powerful system to monitor markets and reconstruct crashes. The exchanges and Finra said in November they would submit the plan in December this year, eight months later than initially expected.
"This is a milestone since the key inputs of the consolidated audit-trail plan will result from this request-for-proposal process," said Manisha Kimmel, the executive director of the Financial Information Forum in New York. The firm that wins the bid will have a "definite impact on the Cat [consolidated audit trail] process from an operational angle and the fact we're now going to get multiple perspectives on this is very positive", she said.
The SEC, hurt by criticism it does not have the data to analyse high-speed computerised trading, approved a rule in July requiring the exchanges and Finra, known as self-regulatory organisations, to produce a plan to establish the audit trail. The SEC must approve the submission by the 17 exchanges and the private-sector regulator, which oversees almost 4,300 brokerage firms, before it can be built.
Elisse Walter, the current SEC chairman, said she hoped the audit-trail initiative could be expanded beyond stocks and options to include equities traded in the US without being listed on American exchanges, bonds and futures
"Comprehensive public and non-public data about the market, coming from a single system, could be the most important regulatory development in my lifetime," she said.
In Europe, experts say there is still much to be done to ensure well-educated women do not end up on the sidelines after they leave college or universities. The European Union commissioner Viviane Reding told a meeting at World Economic Forum in Davos in January that in Europe "65 per cent of our university graduates are women and, at some point, we leave them in the corner".
A draft European law, for which she hopes to win agreement, says "at equal talent, at equal competence, if there is a man and a woman to choose from, as long as there are not 40 per cent of women on the board, you choose a woman".
Currently, boards in Europe are dominated by one gender: 85 per cent of non-executive board members and 91.1 per cent of executive board members are men, while women make up 15 per cent and 8.9 per cent respectively. The proposal is expected to apply to about 5,000 listed companies in the EU. It does not apply to small and medium-sized enterprises - companies with less than 250 employees and an annual worldwide turnover not exceeding €50 million (Dh239m) - or non-listed companies.
"The European Union has been successfully promoting gender equality for over 50 years," said Ms Reding. "However, there is one place where we have not seen any progress: company boardrooms …"
Not all women at Davos fully supported the EU proposal. Anne Finucane, Bank of America's global strategy and marketing officer and a member of its board, told the Davos audience she believed there had been enough progress for women to forget their gender and get on with their jobs. "I think it's evolution. There's an element going on where we have to think about the whole person, man or woman," she said.
"I think we're releasing ourselves from worrying so much about what other people think - and that level of liberation allows you to move forward with your job."
But there are high hurdles to overcome. Just 13.7 per cent of board members at Europe's top 500 companies are women. That is only a slight improvement from 11.8 per cent in 2010. At that rate of progress it would take about 40 years to even get close to gender balance in boardrooms of at least 40 per cent of both sexes.
The proposed deadline is 2020.
* with agencies