The 2017 Fortune 500 list broke a record by featuring 32 companies whose chief executive officers are women. This means that 6.4% of the featured CEOs were women, and though that may seem low it is the highest percentage in the 62-year history of the Fortune 500 List. It was also a notable increase for last year’s 21 women CEOs.
Indra Nooyi and Geisha Williams were the only two women of color whose companies made the list. Nooyi is the chairwoman and CEO of PepsiCo which came in forty-fourth. The Yale School of Management graduate has been an executive at the food and beverage company for 23 years and the CEO for 11 years. This makes her no stranger to being among the few featured women because PepsiCo is a Fortune 500 regular.
On the other hand, Pacific Gas and Electric Company CEO, Geisha Williams just recently assumed her position in March 2017. PG&E’s spot as number 157 on the list also contributed to making this a historical one by making Williams the first Latina Fortune 500 CEO. Even though Williams is new to her CEO position, the Nova Southeastern University graduate has served as a PG&E executive since 2011.
Even as are just two of thirty-two, Nooyi and Williams represent progression. It is almost impossible to tell whether or not future Fortune 500 Lists will continue to break records for women CEOs and if more of those CEOs will be women of color, but that does not change the importance of this year’s list.
A complete list of Women CEOs included in the 2017 Fortune 500 List is available here.