DIARY: I’m only a punter but...

I hesitate to suggest that the editor who allowed the headline ‘Pearson appoints woman as chief’ to run on the front page of the Times last Friday should be taken outside Fortress Wapping, offered a last cigarette and shot, but that is the only satisfactory suggestion I can offer for such treatment of the appointment of Pearson’s new chief executive, Marjorie Scardino.

I hesitate to suggest that the editor who allowed the headline ‘Pearson

appoints woman as chief’ to run on the front page of the Times last

Friday should be taken outside Fortress Wapping, offered a last

cigarette and shot, but that is the only satisfactory suggestion I can

offer for such treatment of the appointment of Pearson’s new chief

executive, Marjorie Scardino.



Perhaps the editor should be joined by the dwindling but hardcore band

of creative directors who dislike hiring women - not as a matter of

policy (for if it is thought through the stupidity is revealed fast) but

because of the male hang-up that persists in regarding women as crumpet

first and worker second.



Scardino, so trivialised by that headline, is stepping up from her

present job as boss of the Economist Group, half owned by Pearson, to

run the entire Pearson group. At the Economist, she says: ‘We had a lot

of women, but we only ever tried to get the best people.’ So she never

focused on gender. No matter, let’s allow the City Boys to do it for her

by making the Pearson shares fall sharply on the stock market as soon as

her appointment is announced.



Since 49-year-old Scardino, a Texan, took over at the Economist Group

revenues have risen 78 per cent and profits 130 per cent. Who cares?

Let’s just dwell on the fact that she’s a big girl’s blouse and write a

headline suggesting that we had hoped the top job would attract a

conventional ‘heavy hitter’ - financial jargon for a middle-aged male

asset stripper with a series of tricky corporate restructurings under

his belt.



My advice to Scardino would be to follow Andy Warhol’s polished dictum:

Don’t read your reviews. Weigh them.



Send your rants to Belinda Archer, Campaign, 174 Hammersmith Road,

London W6 7JP



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