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A new CFO for KPN

This week KPN has appointed a new Chief Financial Officer: Carla Smits Nusterling. The first woman in the KPN Board of Directors, which makes her the first woman to reach the top of a listed company. The current CEO, Ad Scheepbouwer, explicitly states that she isn’t appointed due to her gender, but that it is a breakthrough. A change from the inside.

When we look around, we can see the glass ceiling has been broken in different countries surrounding us. For instance in Norway, there is a law that states that a minimum percentage of the supervisory board has to be female. And in the US a variety of female CEO’s have been or are active in large corporations. Just think about Carla Fiorina at Hewlett Packard, or Sara Lee, mother of Douwe Egberts, with Brenda Barnes at the top.

With these appointments it seems that there finally is a breakthrough. And although the Nordic laws are forcing it, it looks like it’s giving good results. I personally don’t believe in an ‘old boys network’. Though I can see that people who know each other, find each other when there are new opportunities. A formal network in which the ball is tossed around purposefully doesn’t exist. So it’s good that there are breakthroughs for women reaching for the top. The road is being cleared for a more balanced board in large corporations.


By Paul Donkers

"my purpose is to help improve strategy execution, to create high performing teams and coach for effective business leaders"

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