Glass ceiling cracked

Two key promotions counter a stark imbalance.

It’s no secret that there are not many women working in the private equity industry. When you look among the ranks of senior dealmakers, however, women are almost entirely missing.

Two promotions last month indicate that this severe imbalance is gradually tilting. In London, GMT Communications Partners announced that Natalie Tydeman was made partner, bringing the number of partners in the media-focused firm to five (Tydeman is the only woman among them).

Natalie Tydeman

Meanwhile in Boston, last month TA Associates announced that it had named Jennifer Mulloy as managing director – the one woman among 11 senior partners. Mulloy will focus on investments in the healthcare, business services and consumer companies.

The number of female associates, vice presidents and principles on deal teams grows each year and this means that more partner-level appointments are still to come, no doubt accompanied by women-led spin-outs.

The trend is meaningful but has a way to go, including at the largest firms. In 2005, The Carlyle Group hired two women as partner level dealmakers: Karen Bechtel, the head of the firm’s global healthcare group; and Sandra Horbach, a managing director in the consumer and retail sectors. Of 128 Carlyle managing directors, there are six women. However, Bechtel and Horbach are the only two women among Carlyle’s dealmaking private equity managing directors.