Just 14 of the CEOs behind this year’s Global 500 companies are women, and none of them are women of colour


Source: @wocintechchat.com.

For the first time in six years, no women of colour chief executives are on Fortune‘s annual Global 500 list.

The list calculates the world’s largest 500 companies by revenue.

This year’s Global 500 employ a total of 69.9 million people worldwide across 32 countries.

Out of the 500 companies that made the cut, just 13 companies have female CEOs — with eight of those based in the United States.

These 13 women lead just 2.6% of Global 500 businesses.

Last year, there were 14 women on the list. And two companies were led by women of colour — including manufacturing and supply chain logistics company Flex, with Revathi Advaithi as CEO, and Indonesian state-owned oil and gas company Pertamina, with Nicke Widyawati as CEO.

Fortune began examining the Global 500 CEOs in 2014, and in the last six years, at least one women of colour has always made the list.

In another dire result, this year’s Fortune 500 (which lists companies that are US-based only) includes no Black women chief executives.

But it’s this year’s Global 500 list which is a huge blow for diversity, because the Global 500 represents companies in every country around the world.

The highest-ranking company on this year’s Global 500 lead by a woman is General Motors, which came in at number 40, with Mary Barra leading the company to total revenue of over $135 million.

Of the 13 women CEOs who made it on the list, eight are US-based, including Gail Boudreaux, who leads health insurance company Anthem, Carol Tomé, the CEO of United Parcel Services, and Safra Catz, the CEO of computer software company Oracle.

Other female-run businesses on the list come from the UK, France, Germany and Ireland.

UK-based companies include insurance company Aviva, which is run by Amanda Blanc, and British pharmaceuticals giant GlaxoSmithKline, lead by Emma Walmsley, which is leading the country through the coronavirus vaccine race.

Ireland’s highest rank out of its four companies on the list was Accenture, headed by Julie Sweet, which came in at number 279 on the list with total revenue of over $43 million.

These latest results from the Global 500 are rather depressing, after the almost high we got from the news back in May that there’d been a record number of female CEOs in the Fortune 500 list. There were 37. Still a small number compared to men, and out of those 37, only three were women of colour.

This article was first published by Women’s Agenda.

NOW READ: Awkward questions and untapped potential: Female founders share how they overcome bias in business

NOW READ: The ‘little and subtle things’ keeping women out of startups — and what to do about them


Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
SmartCompany Plus

Sign in

To connect a sign in method the email must match the one on your SmartCompany Plus account.
Or use your email
Forgot your password?

Want some assistance?

Contact us on: support@smartcompany.com.au or call the hotline: +61 (03) 8623 9900.