Home » Eight Black executives leading America’s top 500 companies in 2023

Eight Black executives leading America’s top 500 companies in 2023

by Omokolade Ajayi
Roz Brewer

The number of Black executives leading Fortune 500 companies has reached a record high of eight in 2023, showcasing a remarkable increase from just six in the previous year.

This milestone represents a significant leap towards fostering inclusivity within corporate America. Companies are now prioritizing diversity and actively recruiting Black executives, thereby promoting and enhancing minority representation at the highest levels.

The rise in the number of Black CEOs on the Fortune 500 list also signifies the collaborative efforts of Black professionals who have been instrumental in providing guidance and expertise to corporations aiming to diversify their workforces.

This concerted approach aims to ensure that minority representation within the executive ranks aligns with the proportionate number of Black executives and leaders in the general population.

The latest addition to the esteemed group of Black CEOs includes Calvin Butler, Jr., who assumed the role of CEO at Exelon in December 2022. Butler, previously serving as chief operating officer, brings a wealth of leadership experience to the energy provider and its subsidiaries.

Additionally, Christopher Womack joins the rank as the CEO of Southern Company (No. 138), a gas and electric utility company, commencing his tenure on May 24. Womack’s longstanding career with the Atlanta-based company since 1988, along with his recent role as chairman, president, and CEO of Georgia Power, positions him as a valuable addition to the group.

Notably, this progress does not come without fluctuations. Rene Jones, CEO of M&T Bank, returns to the ranking in 2023 after a brief absence caused by a revenue slump. M&T Bank, led by Jones since 2017, secured the No. 439 spot this year. However, Robert Reffkin, founder-CEO of Compass, faced a setback as his real estate platform dropped to No. 572 due to financial challenges and a turbulent housing market. 

#1 Rosalind “Roz” Brewer

CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance

Rank on the 2023 Fortune 500 list: 27

Roz Brewer, the highest-ranking Black CEO on the Fortune 500 list, has nearly 20 years of leadership experience at Kimberly-Clark, Starbucks, and Walmart. Presently holding the 27th position on the list, she is one of only two Black women included.

As CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance since 2021, Brewer led the group to generate a revenue of $132.7 billion in 2022, showcasing her exceptional leadership skills.

#2 Marvin Ellison

CEO of Lowe’s Companies, Inc.

Rank on the 2023 Fortune 500 list: 39

Marvin Ellison, the former chairman, and CEO of J.C. Penney, is the only Black CEO to have led two Fortune 500 companies. He sits at the number 39th position on the 2023 Fortune 500 list.

Ellison is one of America’s leading retail executives, serving as chairman and CEO of Lowe’s Companies Inc., a Fortune 50 home improvement company with over 2,200 stores and approximately 300,000 associates in the United States and Canada. Under Ellison’s leadership, Lowe’s generated a revenue of $97.1 billion in 2022.

#3 Thasunda Brown Duckett


Rank on the 2023 Fortune 500 list: 103

After succeeding Roger Ferguson as president and chief executive officer of TIAA in May 2021, American businesswoman Thasunda Brown Duckett became the fourth Black woman to lead a Fortune 500 company. She sits in the 103rd position among the CEOs on the Fortune 500 list.

Prior to joining TIAA in 2021, Duckett was the chief executive at JPMorgan Chase Consumer Banking. In 2022, TIAA’s revenue surged above $40 billion under Duckett’s leadership.

#4 Christopher Womack

President and CEO of Southern Company

Rank on the 2023 Fortune 500 list: 138

Christopher Womack, a new addition to the Fortune 500 list, started his journey with Southern Company in 1988 as a governmental affairs representative for Alabama Power. With a remarkable career progression, he assumed the roles of chairman, president, and CEO of Georgia Power in 2021. Prior to this, Womack held executive positions such as executive vice president and president of external affairs for Southern Company.

He also served as executive vice president of external affairs for Georgia Power, senior vice president of human resources and chief people officer for Southern Company, and senior vice president and senior production officer of Southern Company Generation. On May 24, he took over as the CEO of the company.

#5 Calvin Butler, Jr. 

CEO of Exelon Corp. 

Rank on the 2023 Fortune 500 list: 218

Calvin Butler, Jr. is the president and CEO of Exelon, the largest utility company in the United States by customer count. He oversees Exelon’s six local electric and natural gas companies, serving approximately 10 million customers across New Jersey, Maryland, Illinois, Delaware, Pennsylvania, and the District of Columbia.

Butler also serves as chairman of each utility’s board and is a member of Exelon’s executive committee. Under his leadership, Exelon’s revenue increased to $19.1 billion in 2022, earning him a spot among Fortune 500 CEOs in December of that year.

#6 Frank Clyburn 

CEO of International Flavors and Fragrances

Rank on the 2023 Fortune 500 list: 332

Frank Clyburn, an African-American businessman, rose to prominence when he assumed the position of CEO at IFF (International Flavors and Fragrances) in February 2022. His appointment marked him as the 22nd member of the exclusive group of black Fortune 500 CEOs.

Prior to IFF, Clyburn showcased his talent for effective execution during his tenure at Merck & Co. (Merck), where he successfully developed a thriving cancer business, making it the company’s largest in the world.

#7 David Rawlinson 

CEO of Qurate Retail Group

Rank on the 2023 Fortune 500 list: 342

David Rawlinson is the CEO of Qurate Retail Group, an American media conglomerate that owns QVC, HSN, and Zulily shopping television networks.

He previously served as president and CEO-elect of Qurate Retail, Inc. from Aug. 2021 to Sept. 2021 before assuming the position of CEO in October 2021. Prior to joining Qurate Retail, Rawlinson was the CEO of NielsenIQ, overseeing the company’s transition to new ownership.

#8 Rene F. Jones

CEO of M&T Bank

Rank on the 2023 Fortune 500 list: 439

Rene F. Jones is the Chairman and CEO of M&T Bank, a leading community-focused banking franchise in the eastern U.S. Under his leadership, M&T Bank has amassed $200 billion in assets and operates a network of 1,000+ branches

Jone joined M&T Bank in 2005 and held the position of chief financial officer until 2016. He played a pivotal role in managing the company’s finances and was later appointed chairman and CEO in December 2017. 


The newfound representation of Black CEOs at the highest echelons of corporate America is a testament to the progress made in creating a more inclusive business landscape.

As efforts to enhance diversity and equality continue, it is hoped that this positive momentum will inspire other companies to embrace similar measures and pave the way for a more representative and equitable future.

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