Fortune has unveiled the highly anticipated 2023 edition of the Most Powerful Women in Business list, a comprehensive compilation celebrating the achievements of 100 exceptional female leaders hailing from diverse industries across the globe. This record-breaking roster encompasses influential women at the helm of Fortune 500 companies, Fortune Global 500 giants, as well as visionary leaders spearheading innovative startups.
Meet the five Black women who are at the forefront of the world’s largest corporations:
Thasunda Brown Duckett
Ranked at number 16, Thasunda Brown Duckett, the President and CEO of TIAA is the highest-ranking Black woman on the list. Appointed in 2021, she is the first female CEO of TIAA and one of the two Black women CEOs leading a Fortune 500 company. With more than 4.7 million individual customers and over 12,000 institutional clients, Duckett is responsible for $1.3 trillion in assets under management. She recently led the sale of TIAA’s bank to a group of private investors at $36.8 billion. Renamed EverBank, the financial services company retains a board seat and a non-controlling ownership stake in the bank.
Annie Marie Campbell
Annie Marie Campbell’s journey at Home Depot began more than four decades ago when she joined the company as a cashier. Today, she holds the prestigious position of Executive Vice President of U.S. Stores and International Operations. In this influential role, Campbell oversees critical aspects of the business, including supply chain management, merchandising, sourcing, and overall strategy for Home Depot in Canada and Mexico. Her responsibilities extend to more than 2,300 stores and a workforce of 400,000 associates in the United States, contributing to the company’s impressive $157 billion in revenue last year. Notably, Home Depot took a significant step in February by announcing a raise in the starting wage to $15 an hour for its employees in both the U.S. and Canada, under Campbell’s leadership. Furthermore, she serves as the Board Chair of the Homer Fund, a remarkable initiative that provides vital financial support to Home Depot associates facing unexpected hardships.
A familiar figure on the list is Mellody Hobson, the President and Co-CEO of Ariel Investments. With a career dedicated entirely to the company, she climbed the corporate ladder to take the helm of this Black-owned money management fund, overseeing approximately $16 billion in assets under management. In response to the Black Lives Matter movement in 2020, Hobson established Project Black, a private equity fund valued at $1.45 billion. Project Black specializes in acquiring middle-market companies and facilitating connections with potential minority executives, board members, and Fortune 500 customers. Notably, Hobson also made history as the first Black female owner of an NFL team.
A new appearance on the list, Sharon White is the Chair of John Lewis. The UK’s largest employee-owned business owned in Trust by over 74,000 Partners, has suffered the brunt of the pandemic. Amidst rising inflation, spiralling energy bills, and a shoplifting boom, the company offered the Police free coffee in its stores to deter record shoplifting. For the six months through July 2023, the retailer posited a pre-tax loss of $71.6 million, a 43% improvement from earlier. A former civil servant, White will step down at the end of her five-year term in February 2025.
Ranked at number 94 is Mpumi Madisa, the CEO of Bidvest, a prominent South African services, trading, and distribution company. Notably, she holds the distinction of being the first black and the first African woman to assume the role of CEO in a Johannesburg Stock Exchange top 40 company. In her third year at the helm of Bidvest, the company achieved remarkable success, boasting revenues exceeding $6 billion for the fiscal year ending in June 2023. Notably, all seven divisions within the company experienced significant profit growth under her leadership. Expanding its already extensive portfolio of over 250 companies across different continents, Bidvest recently made strategic acquisitions, including a forklift operator, an auto insurance underwriter, and two international cleaning companies.