The grand total will come to 33. That’s up from the prior record of 32 in 2017 and up from 24 last year.
That’s the good news.
But let’s put some perspective on the record high: Women still represent just 6.6% of all Fortune 500 CEOs.
The latest jump is due to a few factors, Fortune
Three Fortune 500 companies named women CEOs in recent months: Corie Barry takes the helm at Best Buy
in June; Kathy Warden now runs Northrop Grumman
and Beth Ford leads Land O’Lakes
Another two companies that already had women at the helm — Williams-Sonoma and Advanced Micro Devices — entered the Fortune 500, which only counts firms with revenue north of $5.575 billion.
And this week, Bed Bath & Beyond
named Mary Winston as its interim CEO.
The path to having more women CEOs is still a long one. Corporate boards
are more interested than ever in boosting diversity. And organizations like the club Chief
are springing up to better support the advancement of women executives to the top ranks.
So that may help push the ball forward in terms of gender diversity at the top. But in terms of women of color serving as Fortune 500 companies? That’s still slim pickings. Nearly all are white.
Fortune’s Claire Zillman notes that Bed Bath & Beyond’s Mary Winston is the first black woman to be a Fortune 500 CEO since Xerox’s Ursula Burns stepped down a few years ago. And last year, two women CEOs of color stepped down
— Indra Nooyi
of Pepsi and Geisha Williams