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
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