JPMorgan's Dimon Sees Another Decade Before Wave of Female CEOs

(Bloomberg) -- Jamie Dimon doesn’t see the gender imbalance at the top of corporate America getting fixed soon.

It will probably take 10 or 15 years before a wave of female chief executive officers meaningfully improves the ratio, JPMorgan Chase & Co.’s CEO said at a New York Times event focused on female leadership.

There are 25 female CEOs running S&P 500 companies, according to Catalyst, a nonprofit that advocates for women in the workplace. The number will go down to 24 when Indra Nooyi leaves her position at PepsiCo Inc., taking the ratio to less than 5 percent. Dimon said it will likely take at least a decade for women to make up 10 percent to 15 percent of CEOs.

Dimon highlighted the progress his bank has made in promoting women, noting that “a lot” of the candidates to be his successor are female. Still, he acknowledged that it’s a “big issue” that just 30 percent of the firm’s vice presidents are women, and said he’s looking to add another woman to the bank’s board, where 10 of the 12 members are men.

“I’m looking for a great female board member,” he said.

Dimon’s remarks stood out because his panel was one of the only discussions on Thursday that featured a male speaker. He took his cues from the primarily female audience at multiple points when discussing ways to promote leadership and equal pay for women.

Initially he said it’d be “hard for me to do a board search and say I’m only going to look for women,” which led some audience members to jeer and shake their heads in disapproval. Dimon laughed, then relented. “You’re right, it’s not, because that’s what I’m doing.”

Women in a preceding panel, which was focused on the tech industry and included TaskRabbit Inc. CEO Stacy Brown-Philpot, Airbnb Inc. Chief Operating Officer Belinda Johnson and Aileen Lee, the founder of Cowboy Ventures, had said that imposing gender quotas would be one of the best ways to achieve gender diversity in Silicon Valley.

Just outside the conference, held at a Brooklyn hotel, scores of attendees crowded around a television showing testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee by Christine Blasey Ford, who has accused Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanaugh of sexual assault when the two were teenagers.

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