Then & Now

BE's coverage over the last four decades reveals how far we've come and how far we must go

Ultra Sheen and Gentle Treatment, is acquired by IVAX Corp., a Miami-based cosmetics and pharmaceutical firm. The sale represents the first BE 100S hair care manufacturer bought by a majority company and begins a decade-long series of mergers and acquisitions that virtually wipes out African American ownership within the black hair care industry. Only one black-owned hair care firm is featured on the 2005 BE INDUSTRIAL/SERVICE 100: Marietta, Georgia-based Bronner Brothers.

Ann C. Fudge becomes president of the Maxwell House division of Kraft General Foods, making her the highest-ranking black woman in corporate America and one of the most powerful black executives in corporate America. By 2003, Fudge becomes chairwoman and CEO of the troubled Young & Rubicam Inc., propelling her to become one of three black female CEOs of major companies on BE‘S Top 75 Most Powerful Blacks In Corporate America list.

JUNE 1996
The death of Ronald H. Brown, the first black commerce secretary, ends what had been considered the most effective Commerce Department in American history. Ushering in a new era of “commercial diplomacy,” Brown fostered international trade, promoted new technology development, and ensured that the Minority Business Development Agency — and other agencies within Commerce — fully addressed the needs and concerns of minority business.

Franklin Raines announces he’s leaving his position as director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Clinton administration to serve as CEO of Fannie Mae, making him the first African American to head one of the nation’s 500 largest corporations. Within years of his appointment, other African Americans would join Raines among the world’s corporate elite, most notably American Express’ Kenneth I. Chenault, Merrill Lynch’s E. Stanley O’Neal, and Time Warner’s Richard Parsons. In 2005, Raines announced an early retirement as a result of a federal probe into accounting irregularities at Fannie Mae.

BE launches the Black Wealth Initiative. The highlights of our financial literacy and empowerment program include the Declaration of Financial Empowerment (DOFE) and Financial Fitness Contest, in which selected readers receive free consultations with a financial planner and $2,000 toward their financial goals. BE has awarded more than $120,000 to contest winners over the lastfive years.

MAY 2002
Hip-hop is recognized as a global economic force impacting the music, fashion, sports, film, advertising, technology, and finance industries. The culture spawns multimillion-dollar enterprises run by hip-hopreneurs such as Russell Simmons, Sean “P. Diddy” Combs, Jay-Z, and Ice Cube.

Alan Bond, highly regarded money manager and a frequent guest on Wall Street Week with Louis Rukeyser, is found guilty on 10 counts of securities fraud, investment advisory fraud, conspiracy, and filing a false tax return. He is one of a few convicted Wall Street rogues once found on the BE 100S and “Top Blacks on Wall Street” lists along with former money managers Nathan A. Chapman, Ray McClendon, and Kevin Ingram.

MARCH 2003
Billionaire Bob Johnson becomes the first black person to acquire an NBA franchise, the Charlotte Bobcats — a milestone in sports business history. Johnson succeeds where other entrepreneurs — such as the late Betram

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