Number of Female CEOs in the Fortune 500 Hits All-Time Record

May 19, 2020 by Dan McCue
General Motors Chairman and CEO Mary Barra talks with media prior to the start of the 2017 General Motors Company Annual Meeting of Stockholders at GM Global Headquarters in Detroit, Michigan. (Photo by John F. Martin for General Motors)

The number of women running America’s largest corporations has reached a record high with 37 of the companies on this year’s Fortune 500 being led by female CEOs, Fortune magazine announced on Monday.

The Fortune 500, which ranks America’s largest companies, has long been looked to as a reliable annual assessment of the state of U.S. business.

In recent years, the growing number of companies with female chief executives included in the ranking has been closely followed by those who examine gender diversity in the workplace and in the nation’s board rooms.

This year’s total surpasses last year’s 33 female CEOs, which itself was a record. What’s particularly notable is the recent acceleration in the number of women CEOs.

Twenty years ago, only two of the 500 companies on the list had women CEOs, and it was only four years ago that the number topped 30.

While that’s encouraging, women run just 7.4% of the 500 businesses on the ranking.

Fortune said the number of women at the helm of the 500 companies on its list is influenced by a number of factors ranging from executive leadership changes to new companies growing and making the list while others fall off.

Among this year’s new additions to the list are women who took over Fortune 500 companies from male predecessors in the past year.

These include:

  • Carol Tomé, a longtime Home Depot executive, who will begin her run as CEO of UPS on June 1.
  • Heyward Donigan, a veteran health care executive, who became CEO of Rite Aid in August 2019;
  • Sonia Syngal, who was promoted to run Gap Inc. after it walked back a plan to spin off Old Navy;
  • Kristin C. Peck, who became chief executive of the $6.3 billion animal health company Zoetis in January; and,
  • Jennifer Johnson, who took over her family business, the $5.8 billion investment manager Franklin Resources, from her brother in February.

Some women among the group of 37 are leaders of companies that broke into the Fortune 500 for the first time this year (the revenue threshold for a company to make the list was $5.7 billion).

That group includes:

  • Barbara R. Smith, CEO of $5.8 billion materials business Commercial Metals; and
  • Nazzic S. Keene, CEO of the $6.4 billion government information technology company Science Applications International.

If there’s a problem with the list, Fortune says it’s a lack of racial diversity.

Only three of the 37 are women of color: Gap Inc.’s Syngal, Advanced Micro Devices CEO Lisa Su, and Yum China CEO Joey Wat.

There are no black or Latina women among the 37, the lone black woman on last year’s list, Mary Winston, interim CEO of Bed, Bath, and Beyond, having since been replaced with a male CEO.

Fortune also noted that only seven women run Fortune 100 companies: Mary Barra, CEO of the $137 billion auto giant General Motors, runs the largest.

Several female CEOs are concentrated in retail, from Corie Barry’s Best Buy to Barbara Rentler’s Ross Stores to Laura Alber’s Williams-Sonoma, while female leadership among the Fortune 500’s tech companies remains rare, Fortune said.

Business

Thanksgiving Food Prices Sink as Americans Scale Down Their Feasts
Economy
Thanksgiving Food Prices Sink as Americans Scale Down Their Feasts

Turkey prices are sinking as the pandemic may keep some American families from hosting big groups this Thanksgiving. The price of ingredients in a traditional turkey dinner for 10 people is down to the lowest level in a decade, driven largely by grocers discounting the meal's centerpiece to... Read More

Over Half of Americans Still Plan Thanksgiving Travel Amid COVID Concerns, Report Says
Opinion Polls
Over Half of Americans Still Plan Thanksgiving Travel Amid COVID Concerns, Report Says

As health officials warn of the risks of Thanksgiving travel, more than half of Americans still plan to venture away from home, according to a new survey. The website Tripadvisor says 56% of people intend to take trips for the holiday this year, despite the coronavirus pandemic, a... Read More

Airlines Say Thanksgiving Demand is Faltering as CDC Warns Americans Not to Travel
Travel
Airlines Say Thanksgiving Demand is Faltering as CDC Warns Americans Not to Travel

DALLAS — Three of the biggest U.S. airlines say demand is weakening for the usually busy Thanksgiving period as the CDC cautioned Americans against traveling for the holiday. United Airlines, Southwest Airlines and American Airlines said Thursday that they have seen an increase in cancellations and a decrease in new bookings as a surge in COVID-19 cases... Read More

Pfizer Plans Filing as Its COVID-19 Vaccine Proves 95% Effective
Health
Pfizer Plans Filing as Its COVID-19 Vaccine Proves 95% Effective

Pfizer Inc. said a final analysis of clinical trial data showed its COVID-19 vaccine was 95% effective, paving the way for the company to apply this week for the first U.S. regulatory authorization for a coronavirus shot. The U.S. drugmaker and partner BioNTech SE said their vaccine protected people of all ages and... Read More

EU Auditors: Antitrust Probes Too Slow to Curb Tech Giants
European Union
EU Auditors: Antitrust Probes Too Slow to Curb Tech Giants

LONDON (AP) — The EU's efforts to rein in the power of big tech companies such as Google and Facebook through antitrust investigations have taken too long, dulling their effectiveness, a report said Thursday. Legal tools available to the bloc's competition regulators, meanwhile, have not kept... Read More

FAA Clears Boeing 737 Max to Fly Again
Business
FAA Clears Boeing 737 Max to Fly Again

After nearly two years and a pair of deadly crashes, U.S. Federal Aviation Administration has cleared Boeing’s 737 Max for flight. The nation’s air safety agency announced the move early Wednesday, saying it was done after a “comprehensive and methodical” 20-month review process. Regulators around the... Read More

News From The Well
scroll top