Women CEOs are making gains
Here are three of the week's top pieces of financial news and advice, gathered from around the web:
No refunds for nightmare flight
A plane stuck in Peru for three days serves as an unhappy reminder of how little recourse consumers have when international flights go awry, said Scott McCartney at The Wall Street Journal. The flight from Lima to Dallas–Fort Worth in September "suffered four different mechanical problems" as American Airlines shuttled 171 passengers between hotels and the Lima airport. Passengers who tried to rebook on another airline through their travel agent found that American wouldn't cooperate. One traveler, Angie Thomas, spent $1,100 to fly home on a United flight, but American has offered only a $620 refund from her original $1,500 ticket. Thomas notes that she has travel insurance to cover the tickets, but after her experience with the carrier, she says, "I'd really like to see American Airlines pay up."
Finally letting employees cash in
Airbnb employees, "increasingly frustrated by not being able to cash in the company stock that was received in compensation packages," pushed the firm to say it would go public next year, said Erin Griffith at The New York Times. Airbnb, like many fast-growing tech firms, paid its early employees partly in stock and options. Those grants, they hoped, would turn into riches when the company went public. But the company is now more than a decade old and employee stock grants start expiring in November 2020. They "will become worthless if the company is not publicly trading before then." Several employees sent a letter to Airbnb's founders, pressing the company to finally enter the market, citing a desire to "freely sell their shares."
Gains for women CEOs
Marillyn Hewson, chairman and chief executive of Lockheed Martin, tops the 22nd annual list of the 50 most powerful women in business, said Fortune. The magazine considered four criteria: "the size and importance of the woman's business in the global economy, the health and direction of the business, the arc of the woman's career (résumé and runway ahead), and social and cultural influence." Hewson, who has led Lockheed since 2013, increased the defense contractor's sales despite some hurdles, such as the U.S. nixing Turkey's plans to buy F-35 fighter jets. Though 36 Fortune 500 companies — a record number — now have female CEOs, there are still gaps. There's never been a woman at the head of major U.S. bank, and "women of color remain depressingly rare in the highest of corner offices."