It is often said that the glass ceiling in corporate boardrooms is still intact. However, a few cracks appear here and there. Though the number of women chief executive officers (CEOs) at the helm of the largest companies is still significantly lower than the number of men serving as CEOs, their ranks continue to grow.

The following are 10 women CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies.

Key Takeaways

  • Women represent a small fraction of chief executive officers (CEOs) at the largest corporations, although their ranks are growing.
  • Women lead some of the largest corporations in a variety of industries, ranging from technology to finance.
  • Not only are women breaking barriers, but some are also changing history by occupying spaces formerly held by men.
  • Most of the featured CEOs rank in Forbes’ World’s Most Powerful Women list.

Karen Lynch

CEO, CVS Health (CVS)

Lynch assumed the CEO role in February 2021. Previously, she was executive vice president of CVS Health and the president of Aetna, the corporation’s insurance arm.

CVS is one of the largest health providers in the world. Lynch is number six on the Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women in the World 2023 list.

Gail Boudreaux

CEO, Elevance Health (ELV), formerly Anthem

Boudreaux was named CEO of Elevance Health, one of the largest health insurers in the U.S., in 2017. In her first four years as CEO, the company’s stock increased by more than 70%.

Previously, Boudreaux was CEO of UnitedHealthcare, the largest division within UnitedHealth Group. She ranks 14th on Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women in the World 2023.

In 2023, 52 CEOs of Fortune 500 companies were women.

Mary Barra

CEO, General Motors (GM)

Barra is the first female CEO of General Motors and pretty much the first for a major automobile company in the United States. She slid into the driver’s seat at GM in January 2014, taking the wheel from Daniel Akerson, who is credited for turning the company profitable after filing for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection in 2011.

Barra is leading the charge for GM to transition to electric vehicles by 2035. She ranked ninth on  Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women in the World 2023 list.

Carol Tomé

CEO, United Parcel Service (UPS)

Tomé came out of retirement to take the helm of UPS in June 2020. She retired as the chief financial officer (CFO) of Home Depot in 2019. Tomé is the first female CEO at UPS and the first UPS CEO who wasn’t promoted from within.

During the first 100 days as CEO, she prioritized planning the logistics for the 2020 holiday season and COVID-19 vaccine deliveries.  She is number 19 on Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women in the World 2022 list.

Jane Fraser

CEO, Citigroup (C)

Named Citigroup’s CEO in 2021, Jane Fraser became the company’s first female CEO and the first to run a Wall Street bank. She joined Citi in 2004 and held various executive roles, including CEO of Global Consumer Banking and Citi’s president.

Soon after becoming CEO, Fraser initiated a “refresh” to simplify operations. Her goal is to make it “easier to run and improve” bank operations. Fraser is listed as number seven on Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women in the World 2023 list.

Corie Barry

CEO, Best Buy (BBY)

Barry was named CEO of Best Buy in 2019 at the age of 44. She was the youngest CEO of a Fortune 100 company at the time. Previously, Barry held positions including chief financial and strategic transformation officer and CFO. Barry joined Best Buy in 1999.

In terms of career advice, Barry says, “Have those uncomfortable moments. Because my strong personal belief is it is those moments that cause you to grow the most yourself, but that also differentiate you the most in your career.”

Tricia Griffith

CEO, Progressive (PGR)

In 2016, Griffith was named CEO of Progressive after prior roles as Personal Lines COO and chief human resources officer. Progressive, a property and casualty insurance firm, reported more than $47 billion in revenue in 2021.

Under Griffith’s leadership, Progressive is a top-rated company in diversity and inclusion. In management, more than 20% are people from marginalized groups, and approximately 45% are women. Notably, there is no gender pay gap. Griffith ranks 53rd among Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women in 2023.

Thasunda Brown Duckett

CEO, Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA)

Retirement and investment manager TIAA named Thasunda Brown Duckett as its CEO in February 2021.

Duckett succeeded Roger W. Ferguson Jr., who was one of five Black CEOs in the Fortune 500 before retiring. Before TIAA, she was CEO of Chase Consumer Banking. For 2023, Duckett holds the 34th spot on Forbes‘ 100 Most Powerful Women 2023.

Safra Catz

CEO, Oracle (ORCL)

Former Oracle CFO Safra Catz was appointed as one of two company CEOs in 2014 after Lawrence Ellison stepped down from the position. Following the death of co-CEO Mark Hurd, Catz became the sole CEO in 2019.

Under her leadership, the tech giant has pursued an aggressive acquisition strategy, completing more than 130 acquisitions. Catz is listed in the 17th position on Forbes 100 Most Powerful Women in 2023 and 19th on Forbes‘ America’s Richest Self-Made Women 2023 list.

Who Is the Most Famous Woman Chief Executive Officer (CEO)?

Perhaps the most famous woman CEO is Karen Lynch, chief executive officer (CEO) of CVS Health, with more than $357.8 billion in revenue in 2023. Following closely are Gail Boudreaux, CEO of Elevance Health, and Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors.

How Many CEOs Are Women?

In 2023, 52 women were CEOs of Fortune 500 companies, exceeding 10% of the total, marking a record year for women in the highest-ranking corporate role. One-quarter of those women became CEOs in the last year.

Which Companies Have Women CEOs?

As of the end of 2023, some Fortune 500 companies that have women CEOs include CVS Health, General Motors, Rite Aid, Opendoor Technologies, Bed Bath & Beyond, Lumen Technologies, Fannie Mae, Citigroup, United Parcel Service, Best Buy, Progressive, TIAA, and Oracle.

How Many Black Women CEOs Are There?

As of February 2024, there is only Black woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company, Thasunda Brown Duckett. Duckett is CEO of the Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America (TIAA).

The Bottom Line

While women still face barriers in the workplace due to gender-based discrimination, they are increasingly joining the ranks of the C-suite at some major companies. And, even though the number of men serving as CEOs far outnumbers the number of women in this top position, every year more women become CEOs. Currently, 52 CEOs of Fortune 500 companies are women, and one-quarter of those women became CEOs in the last year.


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