Though they make up 50% of the world’s population, women are still finding it difficult to land themselves employment at the top of the corporate ladder. The issue of underrepresentation of women on corporate boards has seen a lot of direct action in recent years, with several countries introducing legislation to establish mandatory minimum gender balances. In 2011, France passed a law requiring a minimum of 20% of a company’s board be made up of women. The result has seen a jump of about ten percent in women on corporate boards, with women now holding 22% of available positions. A definite improvement, though the highest positions remain elusive for women.
Early this month, it was announced that Mary Barra would become CEO of General Motors. The position would make her the CEO of the biggest American company to be run by a woman, beginning in mid-January of 2014. It’s a true accomplishment, especially when considering that, of companies on the Fortune 1000 list, only 48 currently have a female CEO. That means, of the top 1000 companies in America, 952 are run by men.
The number is expected to change dramatically, with some estimates projecting that women could hold double the number of CEO positions on Fortune 1000 companies within the next few years. The ongoing trend has seen more and more women take on higher positions with influential companies, heading up businesses specializing in everything from food and beverages to aerospace defense.
Most of the executives on this list started near the bottom of the ladder, their dedication and business smarts helping them on their way to executive-level positions, and then finally to the top of their respective companies, proof that that the glass ceiling is starting to crack with the passing of time. Here are the ten women serving as CEO for the biggest American companies, arranged in ascending order by total company revenue.
10 Ursula M. Burns – Xerox (F500 #131): $22.4 Billion
As the CEO of Xerox, Burns earns a salary of $4.02 million for overseeing the company, which provides business processing and document management services for large companies worldwide, and is a leader in document printing. She began her career as a mechanical engineer in 1980 with Xerox, and later moved to product development and planning. Her first position with the company was working as an unpaid intern straight out of college. From 1992 to 2000, she worked with the company as the leader of several business teams, including the color printing team. In 2009 she was named CEO, and in 2010, she became chairman of the company.
9 Carol M. Meyrowitz - TJX (F500 #115): $25.9 Billion
The CEO of TJX since January 2007, Meyrowitz earned more than $21.8 million - including salary, stock options, and other incentives - in 2013, more than double her prior year's earnings. Prior to holding this title for the home goods and apparel company, she worked as a member of the board of directors beginning in September 2006, and as president from October 2005 to September 2011. She also held several advisory roles and managerial positions with the company, and worked with all of the home goods and clothing lines, within each of the companies that makes up the TJX family.
8 Phoebe Novakovic - General Dynamics (F500 #98): $31.5 Billion
As the CEO of General Dynamics, she holds the position of the one of the world's most powerful, and one of the nation's oldest, military contractor teams. In addition to providing military contractors for work in private sectors, the company also commissions out to overseas jobs. Prior to this position, she worked as a senior Pentagon official, and held positions with the CIA for several years. Total compensation for her position is $6.8 million, including salary, stock options, and other short term compensation.
7 Irene B. Rosenfeld - Mondelez Internatinal (F500 #88): $35 Billion
Rosenfeld was appointed chairman in 2007, and CEO of Mondelez (then Kraft Foods) in 2006. Previous positions include serving as president of North American Businesses, Group VP of Kraft Foods, President of Kraft Canada, and marketing director for Kraft Foods in the US, Canada, and worldwide. She has worked in the US market, as well as marketing and development for the Kraft Foods brand, and throughout several other markets around the world as well. With a total annual compensation of $28.8 million, she is one of the highest paid women in the US.
6 Ellen J. Kullman - Dupont (F500 #72): $39.5 Billion
Kullman has held the position of CEO of Dupont, and has been a member of the board and worked as chairman of the board, since 2009. The American Chemical Company produces gunpowder, and other supplies for commercial and military use, and also deals in overseas trading. Prior to her current role as CEO and chairman of the board, she served as the president for the company in 2008, and worked as the executive vice president prior to that. She currently earns about $11.3 million, which includes salary and any stock options in the company.
5 Marillyn Hewson - Lockheed Martin (F500 #59): $47.2 Billion
Hewson is the CEO and president of Lockheed Martin, one of the leading airline and development companies for the American government contracts, as well as other commercial businesses in the USA. Prior to this role, she held many positions within the company, including president and COO, and executive VP of electrical development. She also serves as a member of the board for the organization. Her earnings are just over $3 million annually, including salary, stock options, and compensation from the board of directors.
4 Indra K. Nooyi - PepsiCo (F500 # 43): $65.5 Billion
The CEO of one of the biggest beverage companies in the world, Nooyi earns approximately $14.2 million annually as CEO of Pepsi CO. She currently serves as chairman and CEO for the company, which prdocues over 22 beverage lines. She was named president and CEO in 2006, and previously worked developing global strategies for the YUM line. She served as CFO in 2001, and was named to the board of directors that same year.
3 Patricia A. Woertz – Archer Daniels Midland (F500 #27) - $89 Billion
As CEO OF Archer Daniels Midland (ADM), Woertz controls one of America’s largest food processing and commodities trading companies. She is also chairman, and a member of the board of directors. Woertz was named CEO in September of 2006, and has helped lead the company to record financial results, while growing sourcing and transportation. She began her career as an accountant, and held several positions in marketing, internal operations, and global workforce with Chevron in the late 1980s. She has also served on the board of Proctor & Gamble, and has worked as Obama's Export Council leader since 2010. She earns approximately $2 million for her role as CEO.
2 Virginia Rometty - IBM (F500 #20): $104.5 Billion
As CEO of IBM, Rometty heads up one of the world leaders in computing, IT, and other online solutions. She became CEO in January of 2012, and chairman of the board that same year. She began her career with the company in 1981, and has held a series of leadership roles; prior to becoming CEO, she was VP and group executive, an IBM sales leader, and worked in marketing and strategy. In 2012, she earned $16.1 million as CEO of the company.
1 Meg Whitman – Hewlett Packard (F500 #15): $120.4 Billion
As CEO for the second largest computer company in America, HP, Whitman earns a salary of $15.4 million. Serving as CEP since September of 2011, she also serves as the president, and on the board of directors, for the company. It primarily develops computers, tablets, and routers for home and business users. Prior to her promotion to CEO, she worked as a part time strategic adviser to Kleiner, Perkins, Caulfield & Byers. She also served as president and CEO of eBay from 1998 to March 2008.