The Most Powerful African Americans In Corporate America - Page 4 of 24

The Most Powerful African Americans In Corporate America

awareness. Why is the client so important? She used to be one. The former president of the $5 billion Kraft unit for the beverages, desserts, and post cereals division, made her name in the consumer packaged goods industry, reviving product brands that included Minute Rice, Maxwell House, and Stove Top. “It’s about pushing for more,” says Fudge. “I think what I’ve accomplished in the first 18 months has been very stabilizing, getting growth again, which we have accomplished from a profit standpoint.” Right now, Fudge is laying the foundation for growth. “Sustainable change takes at least three to five years.” -Sonia Alleyne

W. H. “Bill” Easter III, Chairman, Chief Executive Officer & President, Duke Energy Field Services, Age: 55, Easter helped turn Duke Energy Field Services, a 2003 venture between Duke Energy and ConocoPhillips, into a $7.8 billion giant. The merger created one of the largest natural gas distribution companies in the country. Duke Energy Field Services is the country’s leading natural gas liquids marketers. The Denver-based firm has more than 2,500 employees. Last year, ColoradoBiz magazine named it the top company in the state for improving its operational efficiency. Easter, who joined Conoco in 1971, has had a 30-year career with the company in the areas of natural gas supply and marketing, energy transportation and refining, and petroleum marketing. He has served as a company division manager, general manager, managing director, and CEO of Conoco Jet Nordic in Stockholm, Sweden.

Arthur “Art” H. Harper, Chief Executive Officer & President, GE Equipment Services, Age: 49, Harper is at the helm of this $4.7 billion GE subsidiary, one of four separate divisions that were formed when GE Capital split in 2002. He assumes full responsibility for the entire operation and financial results of GE Plastics Europe, Middle East, India, and Africa. He also oversees GE SeaCo, a 50/50 joint venture between GE and Sea Containers, one of the world’s largest lessors of marine containers. Harper has been charged by GE’s CEO, Jeff Immelt, to lead the task of turning around the equipment management business, which is facing tough market challenges. Harper is a member of GE’s corporate executive council. Prior to his current position, he was an executive vice president and a member of the CEO’s office at GE Capital. He joined GE Plastics in 1984 as a market development specialist and also worked as an aerospace specialist.

Carl Horton, Chief Executive Officer & President, The Absolut Spirit Company Inc., Age: 60, Horton oversees the North American operations of the United States’ third largest distilled spirits brand. Under his leadership, Absolut’s business grew in 2003: it sold 4.5 million cases of vodka in the U.S. Horton spearheads Absolut’s worldwide strategic marketing initiatives and serves on a multinational management team for the brand’s parent company, Sweden-based V&S Group. Prior to his present position, Horton joined Pernod Ricard in 1980 and worked with the Seagrambrand. He held positions of increasing responsibility for Seagram’s Gin, Captain Morgan, Seagram’s 7 Crown, and Seagram’s VO. Each brand experienced