Surprise, surprise: Jill Abramson isn’t the only woman in a prominent executive position who *allegedly* received less money than her male predecessors.
In a case that should draw the attention of all who work in corporate communications, a jury ruled that Francine Katz, who was promoted to VP of comms and public affairs at Anheuser-Busch back in 2002, did not receive unfair wages due to the fact that she happens to be a woman.
For the record, Katz strongly disagrees.
There’s no question that Katz excelled at her job. Here’s the issue: when InBev purchased A-B in 2008–confusing every man who still insists on drinking Budweiser because it’s an American beer–Katz saw some tax filings that revealed an insulting discrepancy.
Turns out she made 46% less than her male predecessor. That’s not all; she also made “less than every male executive on A-B’s strategy committee” even five years after receiving the promotion.
Officials now claim that the reason the man who came before her made so much more was because he doubled as the CEO’s confidante, so there could be “no comparison” between the two. Former CEO August Busch III added, “We made damn sure she was compensated.”
…just not as well compensated as the guys. Busch III also called her “ungrateful” because, unlike Jill Abramson (according to Arthur Sulzberger, Jr.), he was a great manager. In yet another instance of brilliant leadership, the very same guy once reportedly avoided having a conversation with Katz due to the fact that “he thought she might cry” because that’s what women do.
The man who succeeded him–shockingly named August Busch IV–explained that he might have listened to Katz’s repeated pleas to reconsider her salary, but he’d just sold his company to an overseas corporation which itself came from the merger of two overseas corporations. When company leaders prepared for the sale, they classified executives according to their worth, and Katz landed on…you guessed it…the second tier.
The jury deliberated for some time before claiming that it couldn’t find in Katz’s favor due to a lack of both direct evidence and the fact that no executives within the organization had jobs that could be directly compared to hers.
Internal corporate comms teams should think long and hard about this one.