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The Trouble with Mary...and Elizabeth and Sheila

Roy Harris | July 26, 2011
Do male execs resent "pushy broads" in key regulatory roles?

Karen Kroll's look for CFOworld at the nomination of Richard Cordray to head the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau examines how his chances for approval may benefit because he's sometimes viewed as less strident than former Harvard Law professor Elizabeth Warren.

But is there a sexist element in play here, too? A Sunday Boston Globe opinion-page article -- headlined "The 'pushy broad syndrome'" -- asks that question, noting that Massachusetts Rep. Barney Frank has even called out Treasury Secretary Timothy Geithner for gender bias. Geithner certainly has had issues with both Warren and Sheila Bair, the outgoing FDIC chair, although there are lots of reasons things may not have gone smoothly in a time of financial crisis.

With only SEC chief Mary Schapiro set to survive as one of what Time Magazine a year ago called "The New Sheriffs of Wall Street," an introspective look may be in order on the part of male finance executives. And, maybe, a discussion or two about what women in your finance department think of this current time of turnover in Washington.

Or, you can wait for the book. Sheila Bair, a Bush appointee and a Republican, is writing one about her tenure at FDIC during the financial crisis --- and about her relationships with Geithner, Henry Paulson, Ben Bernanke, and others.


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