Women on top

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Females make up half the population.  They out-performed boys in the Leaving Certificate results in 2009 and 2010 and out-performed boys in 2009 in the Junior Certificate.  In college in the US, women received only 18% of degrees in computing and information sciences in 2009, a sharp decrease from the 37% in 1985, according to the National Center for Women & Information Technology.  Again in the US, of the 407,000 members of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers (IEEE), 90 percent were male in 2010, despite years of supporting technical education for women. In Ireland in 2007/8, approximately 22.9% of those entering an Irish university to study Engineering, Manufacturing or Construction were female - this drops to 11.8% in the Institutes of Technology (statistics from the Higher Education Authority. See

Women in Technology industry are hard to find, not quite like hens teeth, but hard none the less.  Here are 17 women in top positions:

Ursula Burns

Meg Whitman

Virginia Rometty

Ann Livermore

Safra Catz

Stephanie DiMarco

Ellen Kullman

Susan Hockfeld

Shirley Ann Jackson

Shirley M. Tilghman

Lisa P. Jackson

Jane Lubchenko

Carol Bartz

Weili Dai

Kim Polese

Diane Greene

Sandra Kurtzig

Ursula Burns, CEO of Xerox, is a mechanical engineer with a master’s degree from Columbia University. Head of Xerox since 2009, when she succeeded Anne Mulcahy, who had been a Senior VP of human resources. Burns, 53, is experienced with technology.  She spent billions of dollars buying service companies, mainly in print and document preparation, but also in services important to enterprises.  Since she took over, Xerox has a market capitalisation of $11.97 billion selling services to the global Fortune 500.  Her Facebook address is




Meg Whitman, CEO of Hewlett-Packard. She was the former CEO of eBay and has an economics degree from Princeton and a Harvard MBA. The 55 year old lacks a technology background but she helped transform eBay into an auction and sales giant. In a month as CEO of HP, the No. 1 global computer company, she managed to raise the share price 23%. Not bad I hear you say.

She is the second female CEO of HP.  The first was Carly (Carleton) Fiorina, a former sales executive from Lucent Technologies, who was expelled after her performance in 2008, highlighted by her acquisition of Compaq Computer.

While that wasn’t a brilliant buy, Whitman has decided to keep HP's PC business, ("old" Compaq), and use it as a key for growth. She is also relying upon her executive chairman, Ray Lane, former president of Oracle, as a co-partner, especially for software issues.  Will it work?

Her facebook address is



Virginia Rometty, CEO-designate of IBM. She will start on 1st January 2012.  Virginia, now IBM's Executive Vice President for Strategy, gets the call to the computer services company, where one of her top lieutenants will be Linda Sanford, EVP for computing. It's believed that Virginia won the CEO job because she's 54, compared to Sanford's 58. IBM CEO Samuel Palmisano is stepping down at 60.  Is that age discrimination and would that be allowed in Ireland?

She earned respect as a strategist and got high credibility helping IBM manage its giant takeover of Price Waterhouse Cooper's consulting.  She has a B.S. in computer science and electrical engineering from Northwestern.

IBM was founded in 1911 and Virginia is their first female CEO.  325,000 employees have changed from middle aged white shirts and will soon have a female CEO.  Things are looking up.

Her Facebook address is

Ann Livermore, a 55 year old Director of HP and until June, EVP for enterprise business under its last CEOs, Carly Fiorina (see above), Mark Hurd and Leo Apotheker. Livermore, has a Stanford MBA and has years of expertise building up HP's networking business.  She was passed over twice.


She joined HP in 1982 and held a variety of leadership positions in marketing, sales, research and development and business management before being appointed a Corporate Vice President in 1995.  Ann holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a master’s degree in business administration from Stanford University. In 1997, she was elected to the board of directors of United Parcel Service.

Her Facebook address is


Safra Catz, one of two co-presidents at Oracle as well as its CFO for the second time. Safra, 49, came to the Redwood Shores, California-based software company from Donaldson, Lufkin & Jenrette, where she had a successful Wall Street career.


Safra has been a President since January 2004, Chief Financial Officer most recently since April 2011 and has served as a Director since October 2001. She was previously Chief Financial Officer from November 2005 until September 2008 and Interim Chief Financial Officer from April 2005 until July 2005. Prior to being named President, she held various other positions since joining Oracle in 1999. She also currently serves as a director of HSBC Holdings plc.

Her Facebook page is


Stephanie DiMarco, founder and CEO of Advent Software. Not as well known as she should be, the 53 year old founded San Francisco-based Advent in 1983, which has become one Wall Street's best-regarded financial management software developers.

She served as Chairman of the Board from November 1995 until December 2003. Stephanie currently serves as Chief Executive Officer since her permanent appointment to the position in December 2003, after serving on an interim basis from May 2003. After serving as the interim Chief Financial Officer from July 2008 to December 2008, she was appointed to serve as Chief Financial Officer from December 2008 to September 2009. She also served as President from June 1983 to April 1997 and again from May 2003 to December 2008, and as Chief Executive Officer from June 1983 to November 1999.

Her Facebook page is


Ellen Kullman, DuPont CEO, is the first woman to run the Wilmington, Del.-based chemical giant. Kullman, 55, has a B.S. in mechanical engineering from Tufts as well as masters in management from Northwestern and worked at General Electric under Jack Welch before joining DuPont in 1988.

She is the 19th executive to lead the company in more than 208 years of DuPont history. Ellen became CEO on January1, 2009, and Chair of the Board on December 31 that year.  She was President from 1st October through 31st December 2008.  Prior to that, she served as Executive Vice President and a member of the company's office of the chief executive.

After IBM and HP, DuPont's market capitalisation of $44.9 billion makes it among the biggest technology companies with a woman CEO. Kullman assumed office in 2009.

Her facebook page is

Three university presidents with technology backgrounds of major research universities are listed below. All are the first women presidents of their institutions, among America's greatest research universities training the next generation of technical professionals and have the money for original research.


Susan Hockfeld, 60, President of Massachusetts Institute of Technology since 2004.  A strong advocate of the vital role that science, technology, and the research university play in the world, she believes that MIT can best advance its historic mission of teaching, research, and service by providing robust and sustained support for the ideas and energies of its faculty and students.

A noted neuroscientist whose research has focused on the development of the brain, Dr. Hockfield is the first life scientist to lead MIT and holds a faculty appointment as professor of neuroscience in the Institute's Department of Brain and Cognitive Sciences.

Her Facebook page is


The Honourable Shirley Ann Jackson, 65, is the 18th President of Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, New York and Hartford, Connecticut, the oldest technological university in the United States.

Describing her as “a national treasure,” the National Science Board selected Dr. Jackson as its 2007 recipient of the prestigious Vannevar Bush Award for “a lifetime of achievements in scientific research, education, and senior statesman-like contributions to public policy.”

Her Facebook page is


Shirley M. TilghmanShirley M. Tilghman was elected Princeton University's 19th president on May 5, 2001, and assumed office on June 15, 2001. An exceptional teacher and a world-renowned scholar and leader in the field of molecular biology, she served on the Princeton faculty for 15 years before being named president.

Shirley, a native of Canada, received her Honours B.Sc. in chemistry from Queen's University in Kingston, Ontario, in 1968. After two years of secondary school teaching in Sierra Leone, West Africa, she obtained her Ph.D. in biochemistry from Temple University in Philadelphia.

Her Facebook page is


Lisa P JacksonLisa P Jackson.  Since being named President Obama’s cabinet member in charge of environmental protection, EPA Administrator Lisa P. Jackson has been named one of Newsweek’s “Most Important People in 2010,”. She also featured on Time Magazine’s 2010 and 2011 lists of the “100 Most Influential People in the World”, was listed in Essence Magazine’s “40 Women Who Have Influenced the World,” and profiled in O Magazine for her work to protect the nation’s air, water and land from pollution that threatens human health.

Lisa, 49, leads EPA’s efforts to protect the health and environment for all Americans. She and a staff of more than 18,000 professionals are working across the nation to usher in a green economy, address health threats from pollution across air, water and land, and renew the public’s trust in EPA’s work.

Her Facebook page is


Dr. Jane Lubchenco, 49, has been the Under Secretary of Commerce for Oceans and Atmosphere and administrator of NOAA since 2009. Nominated by President Obama in December 2008 as part of his "Science Team," she is a marine ecologist and environmental scientist by training, with expertise in oceans, climate change, and interactions between the environment and human well-being.

She received her B.A. in biology from Colorado College, her M.S. in zoology from the University of Washington, and her Ph.D. in ecology from Harvard University. Her academic career as a professor began at Harvard University (1975-1977) and continued at Oregon State University (1977 - 2009) until her appointment as NOAA administrator.

Her Facebook page is


Carol Batz has served as Yahoo Chief Executive Officer until she was sacked in September 2011 and as a member of the Board since January 2009 and as President since April 2009. Carol, 63, served as the Executive Chairman of the Board of Autodesk, Inc., a computer-aided design software provider, from May 2006 to February 2009, as Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Autodesk from April 1992 to April 2006 and as a director of Autodesk from April 1992 to February 2009.

From 1983 to April 1992, she served in a number of positions at Sun Microsystems, Inc., a provider of computer systems, software and services (now a subsidiary of Oracle Corporation), including as Vice President of Worldwide Field Operations and as an executive officer.

Weile Dai. Since Carol Batz was sacked in September, that leaves a gap for a woman at the top of Yahoo.  Can Weili fill that role?


The Chinese-born, U.S.-educated “geek” cofounded Marvell Technology Group in 1995 with her husband, Sehat Sutardja. Now it has annual revenues of $3.6 billion, is one of the world’s leading producers of “fabless” semiconductors, and has a client roster that includes Apple, Samsung, Toshiba and Western Digital. Dai.  Now VP, she has served all over the company as COO, EVP and general manager of communications, and in 2006, landed on the Forbes list of the richest people in America.


Kim Polese, 39, was CEO of Marimba when it was acquired by BMC Software. Kim Polese formerly the CEO of SpikeSource, Inc., a software company based in Silicon Valley. SpikeSource is backed by investors including venture firms Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers, Fidelity Ventures and Intel Capital, and has developed a unique automated testing technology for certifying and maintaining open source software.


Prior to joining SpikeSource in August 2004, Kim co-founded Marimba, Inc., a leading provider of systems management solutions for Global 2000 companies. She served as Chairman and CEO of Marimba from its inception in 1996, leading the company through a successful public offering and to profitability, and ultimately, acquisition by BMC in 2004.

Her Facebook page is


Diane Greene, a co-founder of VMware before its acquisition by EMC and then its spinoff.  VMware had hardly finished announcing that its Chief Executive, Diane Greene, was stepping down when the company pulled references to the co-founder off its Web site and put up the biog of its incoming Chief Executive, Paul Maritz.

With its stock down 60% from its peak and a warning of lower than expected revenues, insiders had expected something drastic at the tech sector's onetime darling. But the swiftness of the transition was still shocking.

Her facebook page is


Sandra Kurtzig, who founded ASK Group in 1972, is a mechanical engineer who built that company into one of Silicon Valley's biggest mid-range computer software developers. She sold ASK to CA Technologies in 1994. This year, she started Kenandy, another software developer, with $10.5 million from Kleiner Perkins Caufield Byers, and the Wilson Sonsini law firm.  She said “I think luck is seizing opportunities. There are opportunities all around. There are millions of good ideas, but it's those people who seize the ideas and seize the opportunities that appear lucky."

Starting with just $2,000, Sandra Kurtzig built a software empire that at its peak boasted $450 million in annual sales. And it all started as a part-time job.

Her Facebook page is


Written by Bob Tallent


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