Mary Powell: Being a woman makes her free | Companies abroad

In the electricity industry, of all places, there are a striking number of women who run a company. At the end of last year, five of the 29 utilities listed in the S&P 500 were headed by a woman. The development is particularly noticeable in Switzerland; Since 2013, two of the three large energy groups, namely BKW and Alpiq, have been run by women at Alpiq with a brief interruption.

Hardly any other industry is subject to as much change as the electricity industry. Coal and nuclear power plants are being replaced by solar and wind energy in many places. This not only brings with it a technology change, but also a system change. The centralized power grid with large power plants is becoming more decentralized with numerous smaller systems. Some households, until now exclusively consumers, are now feeding their self-produced electricity into the grid and expect remuneration from the electricity supplier.

Power industry in transition

It is therefore obvious why women are often CEOs in the mostly male-dominated electricity industry: energy suppliers have to completely realign their business model, and that requires fresh ideas. Bringing it in is easier for those who have not been in the industry for decades, and these are often women.