Women in half of top jobs by 2020, says Verizon unit CEO

Women in half of top jobs by 2020, says Verizon unit CEO

The Verizon unit that owns AOL and Yahoo will ensure half its leadership positions are filled by women within three years.

Tim Armstrong, CEO of Oath, the division that also runs Huffington Post, TechCruch and Tumblr as well as AOL and Yahoo, said in an interview with CNN that the company is “roughly in the 30% range now”, but is aiming for 50% by 2020.

He told CNN: “I think to get there it requires us to promote from internally, hire from the outside obviously, and then in some cases, for us to create new positions in areas where we're going to go into the new business we're going to have new areas that women can lead.”

No other telecoms or tech company has set such a 50% aspiration, except for the UK cable operator Virgin Media, which is owned by Liberty Global. The operator’s chief people officer Virgin Media told Capacity for a feature in the current issue that the company wants a 50-50 split at all levels by 2025. Already half its new apprentices are women.

Others have achieved a 50-50 split without setting it out as a public target. “My executive team is 50% women, 50% men,” Keri Gilder, Ciena’s vice president and general manager for EMEA, told Capacity for the same feature.

Armstrong told CNN: “Having more women leaders is actually an enhancement for the entire corporation. I think every piece of data you see says having a more diverse workforce and having more women involved in it actually leads to better outcomes, better growth.”

He told CNN that changes to the “behaviour of the company, or the behaviour of individuals” are key to gender parity in the workplace.

Armstrong has brought to Verizon and its Oath division a policy that he first introduced to AOL in 2012, he said in the CNN interview.

There will be a panel on Advancing Women in Telco at the Capacity Europe conference in London next week, with senior executives from Ciena, Colt, Deutsche Telekom and Telstra.

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