Someone named ‘Jeffrey’ or ‘Michael’ is more likely to be a CEO than a woman.

Photo by Hunters Race on Unsplash

If you're a woman and you want to be a CEO, you should probably think about changing your name to "Jeffrey" or "Michael." Or possibly even "Michael Jeffreys" or "Jeffrey Michaels."

According to Fortune, last year, more men named Jeffrey and Michael became CEOs of America's top companies than women. A whopping total of one woman became a CEO, while two men named Jeffrey took the title, and two men named Michael moved into the C-suite as well.

The "New CEO Report" for 2018, which looks at new CEOS for the 250 largest S&P 500 companies, found that 23 people were appointed to the position of CEO. Only one of those 23 people was a woman. Michelle Gass, the new CEO of Kohl's, was the lone female on the list.


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The amount of new female CEOs has slipped since the previous year. In 2017, two women became CEOs of a major corporation - Gail Boudreaux at Anthem and Geisha Williams at PG&E. But then again, women aren't occupying the C-suite as much as men, period. In the past five years, just nine out of the 134 new CEOs have been women. Currently, women are about 25 percent of America's executive talent, Fortune reports.

Women aren't groomed to hold the position of CEO the way men are, which could account for the scarcity of female CEOs. Marc Feign, the founder of Feign Advisors LLC who conducted the survey, says that women with strong potential aren't on the radar the same way men are. "Companies think about CEO succession three to five years out," Feign said, "yet they fail to develop a deep pool of female candidates who'd be ready for the top job in that short time-frame."

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Feign also chalks it up to good old-fashioned gender bias. "You also can't underestimate hidden bias by male bosses, who wrongly convince themselves that women won't have the drive necessary to succeed in key jobs running a P&L," he said.

Fortune notes this needs to change. "The tradition-bound succession process needs an upheaval, an all-out campaign to bring female talent to the top," the magazine wrote. Women with potential should receive more nurturing and guidance in their careers. And maybe it won't be so lonely for women at the top.

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