The number of women and Black CEOs in the Fortune 500 hit an all-time high in 2023.
Though representation and diversity in the Fortune 500, a roundup of the largest U.S. companies by revenue, is on the rise, Fortune 500 diversity still has a long way to go to reach equity for underrepresented leaders.
Why does this matter? For starters, Fortune 500 companies make up some two-thirds of the U.S. GDP, amounting to $18 trillion in revenues, according to Fortune. An overview of Fortune 500 diversity offers a snapshot of how diversity efforts are playing out at some of America’s most influential companies. From here, we can see some of the progress that’s been made toward diversity, equity, and inclusion overall, and the ground we have left to cover.
Let’s get started.
Fortune 500 CEOs by race and gender
Underrepresented CEOs continue to gain traction in the executive ranks. "There are signs of progress—slow, but real—in this year's Fortune 500," wrote Fortune Editor-in-Chief Alyson Shontell.
Ahead, a breakdown of Fortune 500 CEOS by race and gender.
Women in the Fortune 500
What does Fortune 500 diversity look like for women? For the first time in the Fortune 500's 69-year history, women run more than 10% of America's largest public companies. This year, the number of women CEOs in the Fortune 500 hit an all-time high at 52 women leaders or 10.4% of Fortune 500 leaders. Last year, the number of women CEOs in the Fortune 500 was 44 (8.8% of Fortune 500 chief executives).
Notable women CEOs in the Fortune 500 include:
- Priscilla Almodovar of Fannie Mae. Priscilla Almodovar became Fannie Mae's first female CEO when she took the helm in December 2022. Prior to becoming CEO, Almodovar led Enterprise Community Partners, a national organization "focused on increasing the supply of affordable housing, advancing racial equity, and aggregating and investing capital to create meaningful change for systems, people, and communities," according to her biography.
- Rosalind "Roz" Brewer of Walgreens Boots Alliance. Rosalind Brewer is one of two Black female CEOs in the Fortune 500. "Over the course of my career, whether I was a bench chemist or a CEO, I have often been a 'first' and unfortunately many times I've also been the only African-American person in the boardroom or the C-suite," Brewer wrote to Business Insider. "It's changing, but not quickly enough and there's more work to do."
- Thasunda Brown Duckett of TIAA. TIAA, the Teacher Insurance and Annuity Association of America-College Retirement Equities Fund, is a financial services organization focused on "help[ing] teachers retire with dignity." As president and CEO, Duckett is focused on "efforts to make savings easier and more impactful, especially for women and people of color," according to Barrons.
- Karen Lynch of CVS Health. CVS Health is the largest company in history to be led by a woman. On Karen Lynch's first day as CEO in 2021, she wore a T-shirt that read "taking up space," a nod to an instance early in Lynch's career when she walked into a room full of men and asked where to sit. She was told: “You should sit over in the corner, because women just take up space in the boardroom.” Lynch told Fortune she's hopeful future generations of women won't be told they're simply taking up space. "And that’s where I think the opportunity lies ahead of us and the future generations to see more women and big powerful leadership positions," she said.
- Lisa Su of AMD. Since Lisa Su took over AMD in 2014, the company's stock has spiked nearly 30-fold, Forbes reports. An MIT-trained electrical engineer, Su is the first woman CEO of a major semiconductor company. “I would walk into rooms where there were, like, 25 people, and I might have been the only woman,” Su recalled of her early days in engineering. “Where I have a lot of passion is young women engineers—keeping them in engineering.”
Black CEOs in the Fortune 500
The number of Black CEOs in the Fortune 500 is at an all-time high of eight CEOs, about 1.6% of all Fortune 500 CEOs. This is progress, to be sure, but not enough considering that Black America's labor force participation rate is 13%, per Fortune.
In addition to Brewer and Duckett, Black CEOs in the Fortune 500 include:
- Marvin Ellison of Lowe's.
- Christopher Womack of Southern Company.
- Calvin Butler of Exelon.
- Franklin Clyburn Jr. of International Flavors & Fragrances.
- David Rawlinson II of Qurate Retail.
- René Jones of M&T Bank.
Read on to learn more about Black CEOs in the U.S.
Latinx/Hispanic CEOs in the Fortune 500
Priscilla Almodovar, CEO of Fannie Mae, is currently the only Latina chief executive in the Fortune 500. Almodovar is the third Latina to lead a Fortune 500 company, Axios reports.
Latinx/Hispanic CEOs in the Fortune 500 also include:
- Juan R. Luciano of Archer Daniels Midland.
- Joaquin Duato of Johnson & Johnson.
- Ramon L. Laguarta of PepsiCo.
- Enrique Lores of HP Inc.
- Richard A. Gonzalez of AbbVie.
For more about Latino leadership in the Fortune 500, see AboveBoard's article on companies with Latinx/Hispanic CEOs.
Fortune 500 LGBTQ+ CEOs
As for LGBTQ+ representation in the Fortune 500, only four out of 500 CEOs identify as LGBTQ+. These LGBTQ+ executives include Apple's Tim Cook—the first openly LGBTQ+ Fortune 500 CEO, Jim Fitterling of Dow, Inc., Macy's Jeffrey Gennette, and Beth Ford of Land O'Lakes, the first openly gay woman to lead a Fortune 500 company. Learn more about their leadership journeys here.
Advance diversity alongside AboveBoard
We’ve reviewed Fortune 500 CEOs by race and gender given the best available data, and here’s the big takeaway: change is happening, albeit slowly. And with the rollback of affirmative action, corporate diversity efforts are posed to face even more hurdles on the road to diversity, equity, and inclusion in the C-suite.
At AboveBoard, we're on a mission to drive change from the top. AboveBoard’s platform empowers those who have been historically excluded in the executive ranks to have more agency in their careers through open access to opportunity. By diversifying executive leadership we can improve business performance and drive towards a better world.