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2001 Catalyst Award Winners Demonstrate Diverse Approaches to Changing Corporate Culture

American Express Company, General Mills, and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. have won the 2001 Catalyst Award for their comprehensive initiatives to advance women through their corporate ranks. Each initiative, diverse in its focus, has proven successful, effective, and measurable. By carefully targeting women and/or people of color, and developing policies designed to increase their representation in executive positions, these corporate leaders have made impressive gains: while the percent of women corporate officers in the nation’s largest companies stands at 12.5 percent (according to the 2000 Catalyst Census), the percent of women officers at the award winning companies are substantially higher: 17.6% (American Express); 18.2% (General Mills); and 19.2% (J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.). Furthermore, the impact of the award winning initiatives is seen in the increases of managerial women at the companies: the number of senior women at American Express has increased from 19 percent in 1990 to 31 percent in 2000; at General Mills, women managers have increased from 14 percent in 1996 to 18 percent in 2000; and at J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., 22 percent of senior managers are women, up from 17 percent in 1996.

American Express’s initiative, Building a Winning Culture: Accountability Counts centers on the development of company leaders, the cornerstone of which is strong management accountability. General Mills’ Women in Leadership: The Power to Build the Future empowers employees to drive change, in part, by creating open dialogue between senior leaders and company employees. J.P. Morgan Chase & Co.’s initiative, Using Diversity to Forge a New Culture: The Chase Merger Experience, underscores the viability of sustaining diversity policies throughout the merger and acquisition process.

Carleton S. Fiorina, Chairman, President, and CEO of Hewlett-Packard, will chair the Catalyst Awards Dinner. Maria Bartiromo, CNBC Anchor, will present the awards to the CEOs of the three companies during the annual awards ceremony at the Waldorf-Astoria in New York City on April 2, 2001.

“These organizations serve as role models for other companies striving to leverage the talents of their entire workforce, ” says Catalyst President Sheila Wellington. “By systematically implementing such initiatives, American Express, General Mills, and J.P. Morgan Chase & Co. are setting new standards for business practice in the 21st century.”

About the Catalyst Award
Catalyst annually honors companies for outstanding initiatives to advance women since 1987, evaluating senior management commitment, measurable results, accountability, replicability, and originality. John F. Smith, Jr., Chairman of General Motors Corporation and Chairman of Catalyst’s Board of Directors, noted “in bestowing these awards, Catalyst provides the business community and the world with replicable success models, and helps corporations and professional firms create approaches that are good for women and good for business. ”

About the Catalyst Award Conference
For the third year, Catalyst will host a full-day conference in addition to the awards ceremony. Sessions will include an in-depth analysis of the winning initiatives by company representatives; a candid discussion of personal success strategies with high-level global businesswomen; and a workshop on strategies companies can employ to better recruit, retain, and advance women.

About Catalyst
Catalyst is the nonprofit research and advisory organization working to advance women in business. The leading source of information on women in business for the past four decades, Catalyst has the knowledge and tools that help companies 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, please visit our website at or call 212-514-7600.

About the 2001 Catalyst Award Winners
American Express Company
Efforts to build a winning culture—one in which diversity is a key component – are part of an evolution at American Express. Their initiative, Building a Winning Culture: Accountability Counts, has created an environment in which leaders are not only encouraged but expected to integrate diversity into their business objectives, with a strong emphasis on accountability. A Leadership Competency Model is used to set expectations and coach managers on key elements of leadership, including diversity. Exhibiting effective behaviors and achieving results in this area comprise 50 percent of a leader’s evaluation. An annual Employee Survey, the primary method of measuring employee satisfaction, includes questions directly linked to diversity and accounts for an additional 12.5 percent of a leader’s assessment. To help build and sustain the awareness needed to further integrate diversity into the workplace, leaders are required to complete a comprehensive management-training curriculum over a 24-month period. They are also expected to ensure diverse candidates are considered for every open position. President and CEO Kenneth Chenault reviews quarterly reports that analyze hiring efforts at all levels of the organization, and conducts follow-up discussions with business leaders, if necessary. Together, these programs and others, create the foundation for building a winning culture. The number of senior women at American Express, including women of color, has increased from 19 percent in 1990 to 31 percent in 2000 in the United States; women comprise 17.6% of their corporate officers.

General Mills
General Mills’ initiative Women in Leadership: The Power to Build the Future centers on creating meaningful dialogue between diverse employees and senior leadership. The initiative is marked both by empowered employees who make recommendations that lead to real change and by senior leaders who continuously engage their workforce in conversations about diversity. At the hub of the initiative is the Women’s Forum Offsite, an annual meeting of senior-level women at which critical issues are voiced by women and addressed jointly by the CEO, senior management, and the senior women themselves. Some of General Mills’ most successful personnel policies and programs—including the re-formulated Individual Development Planning—have been improved through the Women’s Forum’s efforts. General Mills boasts other powerful employee networks, including the Black Champions Network that works to create culture change and increase the representation of African Americans at General Mills. CEO Stephen Sanger’s strong support of network groups, and his personal efforts to understand the issues of women at General Mills, have created a culture that is open and inclusive. He has demonstrated his commitment to diversity by setting ambitious numerical goals for the representation of women and people of color. As a result, the percent of women corporate officers at General Mills has increased from 14 percent in 1996 to 18 percent in 2000, compared to only 12.5 percent nationally.

J.P.Morgan Chase & Co.
Keeping diversity in the forefront during a large organizational change is a challenge for companies. The Chase Manhattan Bank, which in late December 2000 completed its merger with J.P. Morgan to form J.P. Morgan Chase & Co., integrated diversity as a common thread through their business strategies and sustains its commitment to diversity, especially during mergers and acquisitions. A company-wide Diversity Council, chaired by CEO William Harrison, annually establishes a diversity agenda for the company. In addition, every Chase business hosts its own diversity council; there are 45 councils around the world. Each business creates a formal diversity plan tailored to its local needs. Components of each plan include recruiting, training, mentoring, networking, work/life programs, and career development. Managers’ progress on diversity is evaluated using the “diversity scorecard” and results are tied to a manager’s bonus. The crux of Chase’s merger strategy is its comprehensive, straightforward communication strategy. Chase has multiple communication channels—including forums, newsletters, web sites, email, and town hall meetings—through which ongoing communication about success stories and information about diversity is disseminated to employees. For example, criteria for the selection of post-merger employees are made public, ensuring that the process is seen as fair and objective. Furthermore, communications are not top-down only. Feedback to senior management is encouraged and a part of the communication channels described above. At the time of its merger with J.P. Morgan, 22 percent of Chase’s senior level management were women, up from 17 percent in 1996; women comprise 19.2% of their corporate officers.