Today 8th March we celebrate International Women's Day. IWD is a global day celebrating the social, economic, cultural and political achievements of women.
In this article we focus on ten top women CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies and celebrate their tremendous achievements in business.
Whilst it may be true that there are often glass ceilings in corporate boardrooms, the cracks are beginning to appear. Although the number of women CEOs is still smaller than men by some distance, their ranks continue to grow.
The following are 10 top women CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies listed in terms of their company's Fortune 500 ranking in 2020, starting with the largest.
1. Karen Lynch - CEO, CVS Health
Lynch is the highest-ranking female CEO in the Fortune 500. She assumed the CEO role in February 2021 and was previously Executive Vice President of CVS Health and President of Aetna, the company’s insurance arm. CVS is the largest health provider in the world.
2. Mary Barra - CEO, General Motors
Ranked as the second most powerful woman in business by Fortune magazine, Barra is the first female CEO of General Motors. This landmark appointment is a first for a major US car company.
3. Rosalind Brewer - CEO, Walgreens Boots Alliance
Brewer was named CEO of Walgreens in 2021 having most recently been COO of Starbucks. She is only the third black woman and one of 41 women to run a fortune 500 company. She was also the first woman and black COO of Starbucks and helped to spearhead its diversity initiatives, including racial bias training.
4. Gail Boudreaux - CEO, Anthem
Boudreaux was named CEO of Anthem, one of the largest health insurers in the U.S., in 2017. In the first two years in the role, the company's stock increased 20%. She ranks fourth on Fortune's 2020 Most Powerful Women in Business list.
5. Jane Fraser - CEO, Citigroup
Fraser was named CEO in February 2021 having been the former head of consumer banking at Citigroup. She is the first woman to head a major Wall Street Bank.
6. Carol Tomé - CEO, United Parcel Service (UPS)
Tomé retired as CFO of Home Depot in 2019 but came out of retirement to head up UPS in June 2020. During her first 100 days as CEO, she prioritized planning the logistics for the 2020 holiday season and ultimately the delivery of a COVID-19 vaccine.
7. Thasunda Brown Duckett - CEO, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA)
Retirement and investment manager TIAA named Duckett CEO in February 2021. TIAA has more than $1 trillion in assets under management. Like Rosalind Brewer, she is among a handful of black women CEOs to lead a Fortune 500 company.
8. Safra Catz - CEO, Oracle
Former Oracle CFO Catz was appointed as sole CEO in 2019 following the death of co-CEO Mark Hurd. Under her leadership, the tech giant has pursued an aggressive acquisition strategy, completing more than 130 acquisitions.
9. Sonia Syngal - CEO, Gap
Syngal was appointed as the CEO of Gap in March 2020 in the grip of the pandemic. In the spring and summer of 2020, she led the initiative to repurpose fabric to make face masks, which resulted in $130 million in sales—about 4% of the retailer's $3.3 billion in second-quarter sales.
10. Lisa Su, Ph.D. - CEO, Advanced Micro Devices (AMD)
Dr. Su has held the roles of CEO and president since 2014. Since taking the helm of the semiconductor company, she has turned it around from near bankruptcy. In early 2021, AMD had a market capitalization of more than $100 billion.
Despite these tremendous achievements there is clearly much more progress to be made as women represent a small fraction of CEOs at the largest corporations, although their ranks are growing. It’s good to see that six of the CEOs on this list assumed their roles within the last year and that women now lead some of the largest corporations in a variety of industries, ranging from technology to finance. We hope that you will join us in celebrating the achievements of these remarkable, inspirational women in business on International Women’s Day.
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