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As pink slips littered the landscape last year, it was hard for ambitious executives — male or female — to make bold career leaps. In part, that explains why our chart of the 2003 Fortune 500 female GCs (“Running in Place,” page 68) shows that the number of women in top legal posts remained flat at 13 percent, or 65 spots. Certainly, there were some notable moves. Ten women joined the list for the first time, including the GCs at Starbucks, Dynegy, and Guidant. But there were plenty of high-profile defections — among them Sears’s Anastasia Kelly, the unconventional legal duo of Joan Guggenheimer and Stephanie Mudick at Citigroup, and Kmart’s Janet Kelley. Our ace research editor, Rosemarie Clancy, noted the two most popular ways for women to land on our roster. Replace a male GC at a Fortune 500 company. Four of the newcomers on the list traveled that route. Or join a company when it’s on the rise and stick with it as it climbs through the Fortune ranks. That’s how five women landed on our rankings. And that’s why we decided to focus this month’s cover story, “The Rules of the Game” (page 72), on an up-and-comer, GC and executive vice president Ruth Kennedy. Her company, Electronic Arts, rose from number 920 on Fortune’s list in 2002 to number 750 this year, and at its current growth rate is poised to crack the Fortune 500 in the next few years. Successful video game licensing deals, crafted in part by the GC and her team, helped account for the company’s $2.5 billion in revenue last year. But during her 13-year tenure at EA, Kennedy has also acted as a moral compass for the Redwood City, California — based business. She, CEO Lawrence Probst, and a few other executives are constantly weighing the question of whether their games are too lewd, profane, or violent, according to reporter Ashby Jones. To her fans, Kennedy is Mother Courage; to her detractors, she’s an unthinking censor, even “Ruthless” to some. Either way, I’m sure we’ll see this deft lawyer (with or without EA) continue to scale the Fortune GC ranks.

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