People, SOM in the Press

Meet SOM's First All-Female Executive Committee

SOM Partners Carrie Byles, Xuan Fu, and Laura Ettelman (clockwise from top left). Photos ? Cody Pickens; Lucas Blair Simpson | SOM

Skidmore, Owings & Merrill is among is among the select firms whose projects, if not its name, are well known beyond the building industry. Founded in 1936, the firm behind such projects as the Lever House in New York, the Willis Tower in Chicago, and the Burj Khalifa in Dubai, has been almost exclusively led by men. One obvious exception was Marilyn Jordan Taylor, FAIA, who was named firm chairman in 2001. After her two-year term, the approximately 1,100-person firm switched to an executive committee model in which three elected partners act collectively as CEO. In 2016, San Francisco–based partner Carrie Byles, FAIA, was named to the executive committee, followed by Chicago-based partner Xuan Fu, AIA, in 2019. Come Oct. 1, New York–based partner Laura Ettelman, AIA, will complete the triad, marking the first time three women will hold the top leadership posts at SOM.

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