The Diversity of the Top 50 Fortune 500 CEOs

It is no secret that corporate America has been dominated by white male CEOs throughout history, particularly those of Fortune 500 companies. Have times been changing? The team at Qualtrics has created a striking visual timeline showcasing (or exposing?) the diversity of the top 50 Fortune 500 CEOs over time. Take a look:


This visualization style was an excellent choice for highlighting the overwhelming majority of white male CEOs of Fortune 500 companies. Corporate diversity has mildly improved over the decades shown, but there is a long, long way to go. I especially appreciate the bottom chart on the infographic celebrating Fortune 500 CEO firsts, but I can’t believe it took until 2018 for there to be the first openly LGBTQ+ female CEO! I hope that if another infographic comes out like this in a decade, there will be far more diversity. The benefits of diversity in the workplace are abundant – diverse and inclusive businesses have been found to be more innovative, profitable, and productive.

What is a Fortune 500 company anyway? The Fortune 500 is a yearly list published by the well-respected business magazine Fortune. This list ranks the 500 largest corporations in the United States by revenue of that year. When it was first published in 1955, it was compromised entirely of companies in manufacturing, energy exploration, and mining. The top-ranking Fortune 500 company of that year was General Motors. Fortune also publishes a Global 500 List which is an annual ranking by revenue for global companies. In 2022, the top global companies by revenue were Walmart (United States), Amazon (United States), and State Grid (China).

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