March 22, 2021
Rounding out Women’s History Month, we would like to spotlight c-suite women who have earned leadership positions at large multinational public companies. Only 6.2% of women hold CEO positions at S&P 500s, having overcome the biases and pay gaps that still exist today in the corporate world. Here are five women who have broken through the glass ceiling to earn C-suite positions at S&P 500s.
Mary Dillon, CEO of Ulta Beauty, Inc. (Tii:ULTA)
During her eight years at the helm, Dillon led the cosmetics retailer through a period of massive sales and earnings growth, transforming the company into a retail juggernaut with a leading e-commerce platform. Unfortunately, the ranks of women CEOs at global public companies will shrink once Dillon steps down this June. She previously served as CEO of United States Cellular Corporation (Tii:USM) and global chief marketing officer and executive vice president of McDonald’s Corp. (Tii:MCD). Like many in its space, Ulta has struggled with the pandemic. For its fiscal 2020 full year, net sales decreased 16.8% to $6.2 billion compared to $7.4 billion in fiscal 2019.
Michele Buck, Chairman, President and CEO of The Hershey Company (Tii:HSY)
When Michele Buck took the helm in March 2017, she became the first female Chairman, President, and CEO in the global chocolatier’s 120-plus year history. She was previously Hershey’s Chief Operating Officer and led day-to-day North American operations and oversaw Central and South America operations. She previously spent 17 years holding senior positions at Kraft/Nabisco and at the Frito-Lay division of PepsiCo, Inc. (Tii:PEP). Shares of Hershey Co. are up 31% for the trailing 12 months ended March 19, 2021.
Jayshree Ullal, President and CEO of Arista Networks, Inc. (Tii:ANET)
The tech industry is notoriously non-inclusive, particularly at the higher ranks, making Jayshree Ullal’s rise to leadership within it all the more impressive. A former Senior Vice President at Cisco Systems, Inc. (Tii:CSCO), she is credited for leading Arista Networks through a successful IPO. Throughout 2020, the Silicon Valley-based computer networking company executed its acquisition plans, buying out networking, AI and cybersecurity platforms and providers while rolling out new products to bring about future growth. While revenues of $2.32 billion mark a decrease of 3.9% compared to fiscal 2019, the company returned to growth in its fourth quarter, posting 7.1% higher sales compared to the third quarter and a rise of 17.4% from the fourth quarter of 2019.
Lisa Su, President and CEO of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. (Tii:AMD)
Ranked second in the 2020 Fortune Businessperson of The Year (coming in behind only Elon Musk), Su is credited with resurrecting the global semiconductor manufacturer from near-bankruptcy to establish a leadership position in PC processors. Having gained leadership experience at Texas Instruments Inc. (Tii:TXN), International Business Machines Corporation (Tii:IBM), and Freescale Semiconductor, sales at AMD have grown substantially on her watch. For full-year 2020, the company reported record-setting revenues of $9.76 billion, an impressive 45% increase from 2019. This resulted from a strong product portfolio and higher demand for AMD’s high-performance computing components across the PC, gaming and data center markets.
Joanne Crevoiserat, CEO of Tapestry, Inc. (Tii:TPR)
Named CEO in late October 2020, Joanne Crevoiserat’s task is leading the luxury fashion holding company back onto the growth track. With brands that include Kate Spade New York, Coach New York, and Stuart Weitzman, the company faced strong COVID-related external headwinds. These challenges resulted in lower brick-and-mortar traffic, store closures and capacity limits, as well as higher freight costs and shipping constraints. While net sales declined 7% to $1.69 billion for the company’s second-quarter of 2021, Tapestry is positioning itself to return to the growth track. The company recruited over 1.5 million new customers in North America through its e-commerce channels, expanded its network to deliver triple-digit digital growth, made significant inroads in the China market, and deployed new data and analytics tools to (among other things) optimize marketing messaging.
These are just a few examples of women’s achievements in the business world. More work to break the glass ceiling will undoubtedly result in more success stories – for female executives and shareholders of the companies they lead.