The Most Powerful African Americans In Corporate America - Page 11 of 24

The Most Powerful African Americans In Corporate America

several divisions within the company, including customer services operations, marketing and sales, energy acquisition, and distribution pricing. Today, as chief of staff for Exelon, Clark is accountable to the chairman and CEO on companywide legislative matters and regulatory strategies for a company that generated $15.8 billion in 2003. As president of ComEd, he oversees day-to-day operations of the company, which provides electricity for 3.6 million customers throughout northern Illinois. ComEd has 6,000 employees and revenues of $6.3 billion.

Paula Madison, President & General Manager, KNBC, Age: 52, Madison believes there’s an art to news reporting: facts, integrity, passion, and making a connection with the audience. That’s why the once self-acknowledged print snob never thought she’d wind up in television. She considered it fluff, lacking the grit and substance she pursued first as an investigative bureau reporter for the Fort Worth Star-Telegram in Fort Worth, Texas, and then as an assistant city editor for the Dallas Times Herald. But her work ethic and passion for news made her an attractive recruit for broadcasting. She joined NBC’s New York station in 1989 as assistant news director. In 1999, as vice president and news director, she led NBC to first place in November sweeps for all local newscasts-a first for the station in 16 years. Today, Madison admits she absolutely loves television. And she’s still winning sweeps-now in L.A. as president and general manager of KNBC (this past November, the station retained first place for the 11 p.m. news broadcast). Madison is also regional manager for NBC/Telemundo stations KVEA and KWHY. Los Angeles is No. 2 for general-market television viewers in the nation, but No. 1 for the Hispanic market. “Whenever I’m asked how [I got] to this point, I always say you have to agree with the principles and goals of your company. If you don’t, you’re always going to look for the next company to be in love with.” -Sonia Alleyne

Virgis W. Colbert, Exec. VP, Worldwide Operations, Miller Brewing Co., Age: 65, Colbert told the authors of Cracking the Corporate Code: The Revealing Success Stories of 32 African-American Executives that he felt he’d been pigeonholed as a “black manager” at Chrysler, where he was general superintendent of manufacturing. His decision to become assistant to the plant manager at one of Miller’s North Carolina facilities in 1979 paid off. He now manages 7,000 employees in its multibillion-dollar plant operation, which includes brewing, research, quality assurance, engineering, purchasing, and information systems. He’s also involved with Miller’s corporate operations planning and improvement. Miller’s South Africa-based parent company, SABMiller plc, is one of the world’s largest brewers with $8 billion in sales in 2003.

Samuel Combs III, President & COO, Oklahoma Natural Gas Co., Age: 47, Combs heads the $1 billion natural gas distribution division of Tulsa-based ONEOK, which generated $3.9 billion at the end of a nine-month period in September 2004; revenues grew 58%. ONG is the largest natural gas utility in the state of Oklahoma, serving 80% of the state’s citizens. During his 19-year