BLACK ENTERPRISE reveals its latest list of the “Most Powerful Executives in Corporate America” as featured in the publication’s September/October 2017 issue. The publication’s editorial team conducted six months of intensive research to identify dynamic, high-level professionals who are leading and re-engineering a vast array of businesses.
The final tally includes 16 CEOs, 13 division chief executives, and a host of top executives that significantly contribute to their company’s revenues. Each executive holds a senior management position at publicly traded or privately held corporations or at an international corporation with a significant U.S. presence. These leading executives work for companies with gross revenues of $1 billion or more. In this special corporate leadership issue, we also reveal current trends such as tech, data, and talent that have driven the expansion of the list with commentary from those found on the list, including cover subjects Ann-Marie Campbell, EVP, U.S. Stores for The Home Depot and Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Cruise Line.
We have released the list at a time when Kenneth I. Chenault, CEO of American Express and the model of global corporate leadership, announced his retirement, leaving us to question the pipeline of black executives who can assume the helm of the nation’s largest public companies. As such, our list has identified 16 exceptional African American chief executives—including Chenault—who manage massive public and private operations. They are: Craig Arnold, chairman & CEO, Eaton Corp. plc; Lloyd A. Carney, CEO, Brocade Communications Systems Inc.; Lloyd H. Dean, president & CEO, Dignity Health; Arnold W. Donald, president & CEO, Carnival Corp. & plc; Marvin R. Ellison, chairman & CEO, J.C. Penney Co. Inc.; Roger W. Ferguson Jr., president & CEO, TIAA; Kenneth C. Frazier, chairman & CEO, Merck & Co. Inc.; Jo Ann Jenkins, CEO, AARP; François Locoh-Donou, president, CEO & Director, F5 Networks Inc.; Kevin E. Lofton, CEO, Catholic Health Initiatives; Charles E. Phillips, CEO, Infor Inc.; Tidjane Thiam, CEO, Credit Suisse; Bernard J. Tyson, chairman & CEO, Kaiser Permanente; Lisa W. Wardell, president & CEO, Adtalem Global Education; and Eugene A. Woods, president & CEO, Carolinas HealthCare System.
“When we published our first list of top black executives in 1988, we identified just 25 people, with no CEOs and no women on the list,” said Earl “Butch” Graves Jr., CEO & president of BLACK ENTERPRISE. “Our current list of 300 men and women in executive leadership includes 16 CEOs culled from a universe of more than 1,400 corporations. Although this is evidence of the undeniable progress, achievements, and contributions of outstanding black executive talent that have used their strategic focus and management prowess to heighten the global competitiveness of America’s largest corporations but also a need to increase the flow of the pipeline to the top ranks of corporate America. As such, we have developed a list that includes an array of other top executives who are more than worthy of such consideration.”
Each executive has a direct role in ensuring their corporations are market leaders and plays a vital leadership role in revenue generation, profitability, market share, and strategic development.
“In this special issue, our editors and research team engaged in a comprehensive examination of African American corporate leadership,” said Derek T. Dingle, senior vice president and chief content officer of BLACK ENTERPRISE. “We discovered a fascinating collection of executive talent ranging from men and women responsible for manufacturing aircrafts and autos, management of the most iconic brands and investment of billions in assets, just to name a few functions. In fact, the business leaders represent major facets of our personal, professional, and financial lives.”