Subscribe to CIO Magazine »

Women have to ask for top jobs: Inman

Billabong chief Launa Inman says talented women often wrongly believe they will be headhunted for a senior position.

The chief executive of embattled surfwear brand Billabong says women have to ask for leadership roles, rather than expect to be offered the top jobs.

Launa Inman, one of the few female leaders of a major listed Australian company, says talented women often wrongly believe they will be headhunted for a senior position.

"I really learnt the hard way ... that you have to ask for it," she told an Australian Institute of Company Directors luncheon on the Gold Coast.

"For whatever reason, and I hate to generalise, women have a tendency to not necessarily push themselves forward and they always believe that if they're doing a great job they'll be tapped on the shoulder and they'll be given a promotion."

Ms Inman said that in 2004, she hadn't considered applying to be managing director of office supply chain Officeworks until a female human resources manager encouraged her to give it a go.

After some role playing preparations with her colleague Ms Inman, who nine years ago was still managing Target's apparel section, called John Fletcher, the then chief executive of the former Coles Myer group.

"I went in at 8 o'clock the next morning and we chatted for a while and he said to me, 'So why are you here?," she said.

"And I said, 'John, I would like to be considered for the role of managing director for Officeworks', and he turned around and said, 'I wondered when you were going to ask me. The job is yours'." When Ms Inman took over as Billabong chief last year, women comprised just 3.8 per cent of senior executive positions in ASX500 listed companies.

The Australian Securities Exchange requires companies to report on women in leadership roles but Ms Inman has not expressed an opinion about boardroom quotas.

While the Zimbabwean-born executive declined to field questions about private equity suitors Sycamore and Altamont VF doing due diligence on Billabong, she described her role leading a troubled company as challenging.

Ms Inman said that in recent times, Billabong had been getting more publicity than mining giant BHP Billiton, until Marius Kloppers was replaced as chief executive.

"We undoubtedly, as an organisation, are over indexed in publicity," she said. "We get more publicity than even BHP. Marius kind of outdid me last week but under normal circumstances, I think we even outdo them."

Join the CIO Australia group on LinkedIn. The group is open to CIOs, IT Directors, COOs, CTOs and senior IT managers.

More about: Australian Institute of Company Directors, BHP, BHP Billiton, Coles Myer, Officeworks, VF
Comments are now closed.
Related Coverage
Related Whitepapers
Latest Stories
Community Comments
Tags: women of influence, Billabong, Leadership strategies
Latest Blog Posts
  • The Future of IT: From Chaos to Service Automation
    Technology has become the heart and soul of every business, but IT workload and system complexity become more challenging. This whitepaper details the future of IT, the major challenges facing CIOs, and the three ways to transform IT so CIOs can lead the way.
    Learn more »
  • The F5 DDoS Protection Reference Architecture part 3 of 3
    This whitepaper is the third in a three-part series on distributed denial of service attacks (DDoS) and multi-tier DDoS protection. This section refers to case studies of different approaches to deploying protection architecture, including an enterprise customer scenario, an FSI customer scenario and an SMB customer scenario. The paper explains how these options should provide the flexibility and needed to combat the modern DDoS threat.
    Learn more »
  • Stop Paying the Earth for Global Roaming
    Why do we continue to pay the earth for global roaming? With Telstra increasing global roaming charges by 100-500% in over 180 countries, bill shock can only get worse. This paper investigates why, what and how your company can address the need for global coverage.
    Learn more »
All whitepapers
rhs_login_lockGet exclusive access to Invitation only events CIO, reports & analysis.
Latest Jobs
Salary Calculator

Supplied by

View the full Peoplebank ICT Salary & Employment Index

Recent comments