Black 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 4 active, representing 1% of the Fortune 500 top leadership.


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. Ms. Burns stepped down as the CEO of Xerox in late 2016, following the completion of the separation of Xerox into two independent, publicly-traded companies. She will serve as chairman of the board of the post-separation Document Technology company.


On October 18, 2017, Kenneth Chenault announced he will be stepping down as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of American Express at the end of January 2018. He is the fourth black CEOs to have retired over the last three years. Ursula Burns left her post as head of Xerox in 2016 when the company split in two, and Rodney O'Neal retired from his role as CEO and president of Delphi in 2015. Don Thompson retired as CEO of McDonald's in 2015, as well.


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

Updated October 23, 2017.

Black Chairman & CEO's from America's 500 Largest Corporations 2017

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''
Roger W. Ferguson, Jr. TIAA-CREF 97 32.2 2,060

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, Company: Microsoft Corporation, Industry: Technology Country: United States

  • Kenneth C. Frazier

    Born: December 17, 1954, Position: President, Chief Executive Officer and Director, Company: Merck & Co., Inc., Industry: Health Care, Country: United States

  • Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.

    Roger W. Ferguson, Jr.,

    Born: October 28, 1951, Washington, D.C.; Position: President and CEO; Company: TIAA-CREF; Industry: Insurance; Country: United States

Former African American CEO's of Fortune 500 Companies

  • Aylwin Lewis

    Born: May 28, 1954, Houston, TX. Company: Potbelly Sandwich Works Position: Chief Executive Officer and President Industry: Food Services Country: United States

  • Clarence Otis, Jr.

    Clarence Otis, Jr.

    Born: April 11, 1956, Vicksburg, MS. Company: Darden Restaurants, Inc. Position: Former Chief Executive Officer and President Industry: Food Services Country: United States

  • Clifton R. Wharton Jr.

    Clifton R. Wharton Jr.

    Born: September 13, 1926, Boston, MA; Position: former United States Deputy Secretary of State, former chairman, CEO; Company: TIAA-CREF; Industry: Insurance; Country: United States

  • 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 Industry: Financial Services Country: United States

  • Kenneth I. Chenault

    Born: June 2, 1951, New York, New York; Company: General Catalyst Partners; Position: Chairman, managing director; Industry: Venture capital; Country: United States

  • Lloyd D. Ward

    Lloyd D. Ward

    Company: CleanTech Solutions Worldwide, LLC, Position: Chairman and CEO, Industry: Waste Management Services, Food Manufacturing, Country: United States

  • Richard Dean Parson

    Born: April 4, 1948, Brooklyn, NY; Position: Co-founder and Partner; Company: Imagination Capital; Industry: Venture Capital; Country: United States

  • Rodney O'Neal

    Born: c. 1954 Company: Delphi Corporation Position: Chief Executive Officer and President Industry: Automotive Country: United States

  • Ronald A. Williams

    Ronald A. Williams

    Born: 1949, Chicago, Illinois, United States Company: RW2 Enterprises Position: Chairman and CEO Industry: Health Care Country: United States

  • Stanley O'Neal

    Born: Oct. 7, 1951, Roanoke, Ala. Company: Alcoa Inc. Position: Director Industry: Financial Services Country: United States

  • Ursula M. Burns

    Born: New York, New York, September 20, 1958; Position: former Chairman and CEO; Company: Xerox Corporation; Industry: Information technology; Country: United States

Possible Future Black CEO's of Fortune 500 Companies

  • Charles E. Phillips, Jr.

    Born: 1959, Little Rock, Arkansas, Company: Infor Global Solutions, Position: CEO, Industry: Computer Technology, Country: United States

  • Myron Gray

    Myron Gray

    Born: c. 1959 Position: President of U.S. Operations, Company: United Parcel Service of North America, Inc., (NYSE: UPS), Industry: Courier Country: United States

  • Rosalind G. Brewer

    Born: c. 1962; Position: Group President and Chief Operating Officer; Company: Starbucks Corporation; Industry: Food & Beverages; Country: United States