Black CEOs Are Running Some of the Largest Fortune 500 Companies

Black CEOs Are Running Some of the Largest Fortune 500 Companies

Headlines of major layoffs have been circulating for weeks. However, you should be prepared for a new set of employees moving in.

According to Forbes, there will be a record number of Black CEOs running Fortune 500 companies. Chris Womack, has been named the next CEO of utility giant Southern Company, the first Black person to sit in that seat. Days prior to the announcement, Calvin Butler got the job for CEO of Exelon Corporation, largest electric parent company in the United States.

“The day it happened I sent Chris a text and said, ‘I’m proud for you, and I’m happy for us,’” said Butler, a longtime friend of Womack. “Chris is one of those people who’s been around the industry a lot longer than me, and he represents opportunity that should have existed a long time ago.”

Butler and Womack aren’t the only ones with a seat at the table: Lloyd Yates became CEO of utility NiSource last year; Rosalind “Roz” Brewer at Walgreens Boots Alliance; Marvin Ellison at Lowe’s; Rene Jones of M&T Bank; Craig Arnold at Eaton; and Frank Clyburn of Flavors & Fragrances.

According to a study at Guilford College in North Carolina, 16 Black CEOs were hired between 2000 and 2020. One interesting fact is that three of the C-suite level executives are in the utility industry, where Black men are more known for wearing hard hats.

“I actually think it’s coincidental,” Yates told Forbes. “I think it’s just a point in time when there’s been a lot of CEO transition in the industry, and I know the three of us were prepared.”

However, there is still work to be done when it comes to representation. White men still represent 7 in 10 of the 533 named executive officers across the board, according to USA Today. Close to one in seven executive teams were made up of only white men just last year. Women are still on the low end of the hiring game—only 17% have been named executive officers. And only 17 arehere have been at least five new Black CEO appointments in the S&P 500 women of color.