New Finance Chief Makes Nasdaq One Of Few S&P 500 Companies With Women In The CEO And CFO Role

Nasdaq this week appointed Controller and Chief Accounting Officer Ann Dennison as its new CFO, effective March 1, 2021. When she succeeds Michael Ptasznik, who has been with the company since 2016 and plans to retire in February, Nasdaq will become the fifth S&P 500 company to have women helming the CFO and CEO roles. 

Dennison, who has been with the stock exchange for five years, has more than 20 years of experience in financial reporting and analysis. As controller and chief accounting officer, she is responsible for the company’s accounting and financial reporting, in addition to its planning and analysis, tax, procurement and global accounting operations. Prior to joining Nasdaq, Dennison was managing director, head of financial reporting at Goldman Sachs and she also served as an auditor at PwC. She will report to Adena Friedman, Nasdaq’s president and CEO since 2017.

“Ann is a dedicated leader with a deep understanding of our business and our long-term vision,” said Friedman in a statement. “She has made significant contributions to Nasdaq’s financial soundness in her five years with the company and her diligence and expertise will be significant factors in our growth strategy.” 

Earlier this week, Nasdaq released its third-quarter results, which revealed net revenues were $715 million, an increase of 13% from the prior year period, due in part to heightened trading volumes and an uptick in IPOs. When Dennison takes on her new role in five months, she’s likely to find herself contending with an equally volatile market on the heels of the U.S. presidential election and amid a pandemic that’s shown no signs of letting up. 

“Transitioning into the role of CFO at a time when Nasdaq has continued to prove its resilience and innovative thinking is a tremendous opportunity,” Dennison said in a statement. “I want to thank Michael for his leadership and mentorship, which has been invaluable during our years together. I look forward to continuing to work closely with Adena, the Board of Directors and our employees to further fuel our success as a leading technology company, as well as meeting the needs of our diverse set of stakeholders.”

According to a study by S&P Global, businesses with female CFOs and CEOs are more likely to see above average stock price performance, and those with women finance chiefs specifically generated excess profits of $1.8 trillion over the 17-year period assessed for the study. Despite this, executive recruiting firm Crist Kolder Associates’s annual volatility report finds that 13.4% of S&P 500 and Fortune 500 companies have female CFOs, improvement no doubt from 8.7% in 2010, but a reminder of just how far women leaders still have to go.

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I’m a chief human resources officer at an over 70,000-person company where 72% of staff are women. Here’s how we’re making sure they’re supported in their careers.



a group of people sitting at a table looking at a laptop: Getty Images


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Getty Images

  • Maxine Carrington is deputy chief human resources officer at Northwell Health, New York’s largest healthcare system and private employer.
  • She says that while the pandemic is hopefully short-lived, the impact that it’s had on working mothers in the workplace will not be.
  • Employers need to step up and support women where they are, from focusing on their well-being to offering backup care options.
  • Visit Business Insider’s homepage for more stories.

It’s not easy for women to juggle work and family under the best of circumstances. As the pandemic enters its ninth month of devastation, it threatens to reverse a generation of gains for women in the workforce. A September report from McKinsey found that one in four women are considering downshifting their careers or leaving the workforce entirely.

The research is clear: While COVID-19 itself is hopefully short-lived, its impact on women’s careers may last for years — if not decades. 

As deputy chief human resource officer at Northwell Health, I’m aware of the tough decisions our employees are facing right now. About 72% of our workforce is female, and I’ve seen firsthand how women are now grappling with caregiving responsibilities. This was an issue before COVID-19. Women’s careers have traditionally taken a back seat to their partners’ once they have kids.



a person posing for the camera: Maxine Carrington. Courtesy of Maxine Carrington


© Courtesy of Maxine Carrington
Maxine Carrington. Courtesy of Maxine Carrington

But the pandemic has worsened this trend, as women are spending more and more hours navigating their kids’ Zoom calls instead of their own. A survey conducted this spring found that, on average, women were spending 65 hours a week on domestic responsibilities, compared with 35 hours pre-COVID. That’s the equivalent of a second job.

Gallery: 22 Tips for Landing a Job During the Health Crisis (GOBankingRates)

Companies have historically viewed caregiving responsibilities — whether it’s for children or aging parents — as something employees needed to navigate on their own. But we have a responsibility to help them shoulder the burden and not just because it’s the right thing to do. If we don’t, we may lose talented employees. Here’s what companies can do to better support women:

  • Have backup care available. Most of our employees need to be here in person, attending to patients. This was especially true when the worst of the pandemic hit in March and April. We had existing programs for emergency situations, like inclement weather, that we expanded when schools and daycares were closed. We set up subsidized childcare centers, where employees could drop children off for care — including remote learning — at a substantial discount. All companies should find ways to support parents. This could include letting people work from home and/or allowing parents to have a more flexible schedule so they can take time during the day to focus on their children.   
  • Focus on female employees’ well-being. Northwell prides itself on having holistic offerings that focus on self-care and well-being, like an emotional support hotline and virtual cooking and fitness classes. We

Ex-police chief accused of illegally collecting workers comp

A former Washington State police chief is accused of illegally collecting over $67,000 in workers’ compensation benefits while working as a pinup model.

Brenda Lynn Cavoretto filed the benefits in 2013, a year after the body of a man who hanged himself fell onto her inside a barn while she was the Coulee City police chief, KXLY reported, citing the Washington State Department of Labor and Industries.

Cavoretto briefly switched jobs, working as an officer in Soap Lake before collecting wage-replacement payments, the report said.

The ex-officer saw a psychologist beginning in 2015, complaining of nightmares and an inability to leave the house.

In 2019, the state Department of Labor and Industries opened a probe into Cavoretto’s case after noting no progress was made after four years of treatment.

The investigation revealed Cavoretto was a pinup model for about five years, despite her claim she could not work, the report said.

Cavoretto, according to investigators, modeled under the names “Tuff As Nailz” and “The Black Widow Bettie.”

She also photographed models and organized pageants and fundraisers, the report said.

Cavoretto was charged with making false or misleading statements to collect the benefits.

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