African American Chairman & CEO's of Fortune 500 Companies

The "Fortune 500"  is a list of the 500 largest companies in the United States as compiled by Fortune magazine. Only 15 black executives have ever made it to the Chairman or CEO position of a "Fortune 500" listed company. Of these 15 executives, there are currently 5 active. In 1987, Dr. Clifton R. Wharton, Jr. became Chairman and CEO of TIAA-CREF — distinguishing him as the first black CEO of a Fortune 500 company. 

Franklin Raines became the second black person to lead a "Fortune 500" company, when he became CEO of Fannie Mae in 1999. 

On July 1, 2009, Ursula Burns became the first black woman to head a Fortune 500 company.

There are currently no black majority owned company in the Fortune 500 rankings.

Updated January, 29, 2015.

Black Chairman & CEO's from America's 500 Largest Corporations.

Chairman/CEO Company Rank Revenue ($ bil.) Profits ($ mil.)
John W. Thompson Microsoft Corporation 35 73.7 16,978
Kenneth C. Frazier Merck & Co., Inc 58 47.3 6,168
Kenneth I. Chenault American Express 90 33.8 4,482
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr. TIAA-CREF 97 32.2 2,060
Ursula M. Burns Xerox Corporation 131 22.4 1,195

Current Black CEO's of Fortune 500 Companies

John W. Thompson

John W. Thompson

Born: April 24, 1949, in Fort Dix, New Jersey

Position: Chairman, Board of Directors,


Kenneth C. Frazier

Company: Merck & Co., Inc.

Position: President, Chief Executive Officer and Director


Kenneth I. Chenault

Born: June 2, 1951, New York, New York.

Company: American Express

Position: Chairman and...

Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.

Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.,

Born: October 28, 1951, Washington, D.C.

Company: TIAA-CREF

Position: President and...

Ursula M. Burns

Born: New York, New York, September 20, 1958

Company: Xerox Corporation

Position: Chairman and...

Former African American CEO's of Fortune 500 Companies

Aylwin Lewis

Born: May 28, 1954, Houston, TX.

Company: Potbelly Sandwich Works

Position: Chief Executive...

Clarence Otis, Jr.

Clarence Otis, Jr.

Born: April 11, 1956, Vicksburg, MS.

Company: Darden Restaurants, Inc.

Position: Former Chief...

Don Thompson

Born: 1963, Chicago, IL.

Company: McDonald's

Position: CEO

Industry: Food

Country: United States

Franklin Delano Raines

Born: January 14, 1949, Seattle, Washington

Company: Revolution LLC

Position: Director


Lloyd D. Ward

Lloyd D. Ward

Company: CleanTech Solutions Worldwide, LLC,

Position: Chairman and CEO,

Industry: Waste...

Richard Dean Parson

Born: April 4, 1948, Brooklyn, NY.,

Company: Los Angeles Clippers,

Position: interim CEO,...

Rodney O'Neal

Born: c. 1954

Company: Delphi Corporation

Position: Chief Executive Officer and President...

Ronald A. Williams

Born: c. 1950

Company: RW2 Enterprises

Position: Chairman and CEO

Industry: Health...

Stanley O'Neal

Born: Oct. 7, 1951, Roanoke, Ala.

Company: Alcoa Inc.

Position: Director

Industry: Financial...

Possible Future Black CEO's of Fortune 500 Companies

Charles E. Phillips, Jr.

Born: 1959, Little Rock, Arkansas,

Company: Infor Global Solutions,

Position: CEO,


Myron Gray

Myron Gray

Born: c. 1959

Position: President of U.S. Operations,

Company: United Parcel Service of North...

Rosalind G. Brewer

Born: c. 1962,

Company: Wal-Mart Stores, Inc.,

Position: President and CEO, Sam's Club,...