Catalyst today announced the election of GE Chairman and CEO Jeffrey Immelt and Sara Lee Chairman, President and CEO C. Steven McMillan to its Board of Directors. Immelt and McMillan will join the powerful team of Fortune 500 (F500) CEO's and top business leaders who serve on the Catalyst board to further advance and promote women in business and the professions.
"We are pleased to welcome these two new corporate leaders to the Catalyst Board of Directors," said Sheila Wellington, president of Catalyst. "We look forward to working with Jeff and Steve to build on Catalyst's strong foundation and effectiveness in the business community. Catalyst is breaking new ground. We are expanding our operations to the West Coast and will soon release a study of women in business in Europe. But we could not do it without the expertise and dedication of our board members. They are an invaluable resource and help us make it all happen."
As the ninth chairman of GE, Immelt will bring 20 years of experience to the Catalyst board. Immelt was named to the top position last September.
A 26-year veteran of Sara Lee Corporation, Steven McMillan was appointed chairman in October 2001. Sara Lee is one of the world's leading branded consumer packaged goods companies marketing its products in more than 180 countries.
GE recently sponsored the Catalyst study, The Next Generation: Today's Professionals, Tomorrow's Leaders. In this study Catalyst surveyed over 1,200 professionals born between 1964 and 1975 from companies in the United States and Canada to shed light on common assumptions about this new generation of professionals. Catalyst found that 47% would be happy spending the rest of their careers with their current organization, 85% care a great deal about the future of their organization, and 83% say they are willing to go beyond what is normally expected in order to ensure the success of that organization. A long-time supporter of Catalyst research, Sara Lee most recently sponsored the 2001 Catalyst Census of Women on Boards of Directors released in December. Sara Lee was the founding sponsor of the Census, which has been conducted each year since 1993 to count the number of women on the boards of America's largest corporations. Each census serves as a marker for corporate America of accomplishment and of work yet to be done. In the 2001 Census, Catalyst found that women now hold 12.4% of all board seats in the F500, up from 11.2% in 1999 and 10.9% of all board seats in the Fortune 1000, up from 10% in 1999.
About Catalyst: Catalyst is a nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance women in business and the professions, with offices in New York, California and Toronto. The leading source of information on women in business for the past four decades, Catalyst has the knowledge and tools that help employers and women maximize their potential. Our solutions-oriented approach-through research, Advisory Services, Corporate Board Placement, and the Catalyst Award-has earned the confidence of global business leaders. For additional information or to obtain a copy of this report, please visit our web site at www.catalystwomen.org or call 212-514-7600.