Recent research indicates that firms need to be much more proactive in public relations efforts when announcing a new female CEO, due to a “guilt by association” effect propagated by the media’s focusing on the new CEOs gender over her job related attributes. Specifically, firms led by female CEO’s, unlike firms led by their male counterparts, are subject to below average stock market returns during the period surrounding their hiring.   Thus, a firm should actively take steps to bring legitimacy to a female CEO by highlighting her qualifications and accomplishments, while minimizing gender-related stereotypes.

(Dixon-Fowler, Heather, Alan Ellstrand, and Jonathan Johnson (2013), “Strength in Numbers or Guilt by Association?  Intragroup Effects of Female Chief Executive Announcements,” Strategic Management Journal, April, 34, 1488-1501).