The ascent of Ms. Mayer and women like Meg Whitman at Hewlett-Packard, Virginia Rometty at I.B.M. and Sheryl Sandberg at Facebook contrasts sharply with the continuing misfortunes of many women on Wall Street.
In the spring, when JPMorgan Chase disclosed a $3 billion trading loss (which has since climbed to an estimated $5.8 billion), Ina R. Drew, the head of the bank’s chief investment office, became the first casualty. Ms. Drew resigned immediately and is now expected to lose the equivalent of two years’ compensation, an estimated $30 million, for her involvement in the fiasco.
Her departure followed unceremonious exits last year by female executives on Wall Street, where the scarcity of women in top positions has become a bitter symbol of the low status women hold in U.S. corporate life. JPMorgan Chase lost Heidi Miller, the former head of the bank’s international operations, and at Bank of America, Sallie Krawcheck, who ran the company’s wealth management division, also left. Zoe Cruz, another high-profile Wall Street executive and former co-head of Morgan Stanley, was ousted in 2007.
The figures tell an alarming story. Women make up more than half of the work force in the financial industry but are chief executives at fewer than 3 percent of U.S. financial companies, according to Catalyst, a New York-based global research and consulting nonprofit focused on women’s career advancement.