Data show that there are a growing number of Black entrepreneurs and business leaders currently than in the past. However, few of them have yet to translate to the C-suite in corporate America. Only a handful of blacks or African Americans are in charge of Fortune 500 companies.
Records show that there have only been a total of 18 Black CEOs leading America’s Fortune 500 companies since 1999. However, since 2020, there have been six Black CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies.
Thasunda Brown Duckett leads the Fortune 500 company Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA). Prior to her appointment, she was the Chief Executive Officer of Chase Consumer Banking, a division of JP Morgan. She is also the first Black woman to be named on JP Morgan’s Operating Committee.
Duckett, known by her friends and colleagues as T, is one of JP Morgan Chase’s visible and accessible executives. She makes regular media and television appearances for the bank. As one of the senior black finance executives, Duckett is working to improve financial health and literacy for the 23 million households served by her organization.
Duckett grew up in a family that faced economic challenges. Her dad, Otis Brown, worked for Xerox in New Jersey as a truck driver. When the company was closed, her family relocated to Texas where her mom, Rosie, found a job as a teacher. In North Texas, they started over in an apartment using crates as makeshift furniture.
In 2018, Duckett was named one of the most powerful women in banking by American Banker magazine. In 2019, she was named one of Fortune’s Most Powerful “Women to Watch.”
Mellody Hobson was appointed by Starbucks to head its Board, making her the only African-American woman to chair the board of a Fortune 500 company. Hobson has served as the vice-president of the board, and her latest will take effect in March 2021.
Hobson first joined the board in 2005 and was appointed vice-chair in 2018. The finance executive is a powerhouse in the business environment in America. Besides serving on the board of Starbucks, she is also the co-CEO of Ariel Investments, a global value-based asset management firm. She also serves as Chairman of the Board of the company’s publicly traded mutual funds.
She previously served as a director of JPMorgan Chase and previously served as Board chair of Estée Lauder Companies and DreamWorks Animation.
Hobson in 2015 was named to Time Magazine’s annual list of the one hundred most influential people in the world. She was also on Forbes’ World’s 100 Most Powerful Women list this year.
Hobson graduated from Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School of International Relations and Public Policy. She also has honorary doctorate degrees from Howard University, St. Mary’s College, University of Southern California and Johns Hopkins University.
Rosalind “Roz” Brewer is the CEO of Walgreens. Prior to her appointment, Brewer served as the chief operating officer at Starbucks.
Brewer grew up in Detroit and attended Cass Technical High School and Spelman College, where she obtained her bachelor’s degree in chemistry. She is also a graduate of the Director’s College at the University of Chicago Booth School of Business/Stanford Law School, and she also attended an advanced management program at The Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.
David Rawlinson is the CEO of Qurate Retail. He was appointed to the position in 2021. He joined Qurate Retail from NielsenIQ, where he served as CEO and led the company through a transition to new ownership. In the past, he served as President of Grainger Global Online, where he led the fastest growth, a stand-alone division of W.W. Grainger, Inc.
David has an MBA from Harvard Business School and a JD from the University of South Carolina School of Law and is a graduate of The Citadel.
Robert Reffkin is the co-founder of the online multibillion-dollar real estate company Compass, Inc. and serves as the company’s CEO.
Robert’s mother was running a daycare when he was an infant and so he was exposed to entrepreneurship from an early age.
Robert attended Columbia University beginning in 1997, where he graduated with dual degrees in history and economics-philosophy in just two years. He continued his education at Columbia Business School where he earned his MBA.
He worked at McKinsey, Goldman Sachs, and as a White House Fellow.
Frank Clyburn is the CEO of International Flavors and Fragrances in February of 2022.
Prior to IFF, he served as Executive Vice President and President of Human Health at Merck & Co, where I led a team that built one of the leading oncology businesses in the world and is now transforming cancer care.
Marvin Ellison is the CEO of Lowe and has the rare distinction of being the only Black executive to have CEO positions at two different Fortune 500 companies. He previously held the CEO position with J.C. Penney and also worked at companies like The Home Depot and Target, according to his LinkedIn.