Only two Black women are CEOs of Fortune 500 companies

By: Alyssa Wilson

Thasunda Brown Duckett and Rosalind Brewer are the only two Black women leading Fortune 500 companies. 

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Duckett is the head of TIAA, a financial services provider with $1.1 trillion in assets. 

“Thasunda is widely recognized as an exceptionally dynamic and inspirational leader,” said Ronald L. Thompson, Chairman of the TIAA Board of Trustees. She is the third African American to serve as the company’s CEO, CNN reported. In 1987, former CEO Clifton R. Wharton Jr. became the first Black Fortune 500 CEO. 

Rosalind Brewer, the former COO of Starbucks, is now the new CEO of Walgreens. 

Since the Fortune 500 list was established in 1955, there have only been 19 Black CEOs out of 1,800 positions. The Fortune 500 is a ranking of America’s largest companies that make up two-thirds of the country’s economy with an estimated $14.2 trillion in revenue. 

The first two Black women to serve as CEOs for Fortune 500 companies were Mary Winston and Ursula Burns. Winston served as CEO of Bed Bath & Beyond for six months in 2019 on an interim basis before being replaced by a white man. Burns, the first Black woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company, led Xerox from 2009 to 2016. 

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In 2020, the top 10 companies were Walmart, Amazon, Exxon Mobil, Apple, CVS Health, Berkshire Hathaway, UnitedHealth Group, McKesson, AT&T and AmerisourceBergen.

Walgreens ranked at number 19 on the list while TIAA holds the 81st spot. 

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