PepsiCo Chief Indra Nooyi Is Stepping Down But These Fortune 500 Companies Still Have Famous Female CEOs

PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi will step down after 12 years in the top job at the food and beverage company. President Ramon Laguarta will take over as CEO on October 3. Nooyi, who has spent 24 years at Pepsi, will remain as chairman through early 2019.

Indra Nooyi

Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo Indra Nooyi | Bryan Bedder/Getty Images for The New York Times

Nooyi’s decision to move on reduces by one the already small list of female Fortune 500 CEOs. In 2018, there were just 24 women among America’s top executives, down from an all-time high of 37 in 2017, according to the magazine. Recent high-profile departures include Meg Whitman, who left HP in late 2017, and Irene Rosenfeld, who retired from food company Mondelez International, which owns brands like Oreo and Ritz.

While the number of women heading big companies is down, there are still some prominent names on the list. Here are 10 more famous female Fortune 500 CEOs.

Mary Barra

  • Company: GM
  • Fortune 500 rank: 8

General Motors CEO Mary Barra is the only woman to head a top 10 Fortune 500 company. She was No. 1 on Fortune’s list of most powerful women in 2017 and has been in the CEO role since 2014. She started her career at GM when she was just 18, when she landed at a plant in Pontiac, Michigan, to help pay for her college tuition.

Gail Boudreaux

  • Company: Anthem
  • Fortune 500 rank: 29

Gail Boudreaux has been the CEO of health insurance company Anthem since 2017. Prior to that, she was CEO of United Healthcare. Anthem is the second-largest health insurer in the U.S.

Ginni Rometty

  • Company: IBM
  • Fortune 500 rank: 32

In 2012, Ginni Rometty became the first woman to head IBM in the company’s 100-plus year history. Like Barra, she started her career at GM before moving on to Big Blue in 1981.

Marilyn Hewson

  • Company: Lockheed Martin
  • Fortune 500 rank: 56

Hewson’s career at Lockheed Martin spans more than 35 years. She stepped in to the CEO role in 2012.

Safra Catz

  • Company: Oracle
  • Fortune 500 rank: 81

Israeli-born Safra Catz has been the CEO at tech company Oracle since 2014, when founder Larry Ellison stepped down. But earlier in 2018, there were some who thought she might not be in the top spot for much longer. She was reportedly on the short list to replace Lt. Gen. H.R. McMaster as President Trump’s National Security Adviser – a job that eventually went to John Bolton.

Phebe Novakovic

Phebe Novakovic

General Dynamics CEO Phebe Novakovic | Saul Loeb/AFP/Getty Images

  • Company: General Dynamics
  • Fortune 500 rank: 90

Phebe Novakovic has been CEO of General Dynamics, one of the biggest defense contractors in the world, since 2013. Unlike some other women on this list, her path to the top didn’t start in the corporate world. In the mid-1980s she worked at the CIA and later had a job at the White House.

Tricia Griffith

  • Company: Progressive
  • Fortune 500 rank: 120

No, the CEO of insurance company Progressive isn’t its famous spokeswoman Flo. Tricia Griffith has been in the CEO seat since July 2016. She started her career at the company as a claims representative in 1988.

Lynn Good

  • Company: Duke Energy
  • Fortune 500 rank: 121

In 2013, Lynn Good made history by becoming the first female CEO of Duke Energy, the largest utility company in America. Before that, she was Duke’s chief financial officer.

Michelle Gass

  • Company: Kohl’s
  • Fortune 500 rank: 150

One of the newest entrants on Fortune’s list of top female CEOs, Michelle Gass took over the top job at Kohl’s in May 2018. Experts are hoping that Gass, who’s only been with the company since 2013 (prior to that, she worked at Starbucks), will help the department store weather the “retailpocalypse.”

Geisha Williams

  • Company: PG&E Corp.
  • Fortune 500 rank: 157

Geisha Williams became the first Latina CEO of a Fortune 500 company in 2017. She’s come a long way since arriving in the U.S. as a five-year-old Cuban refugee who didn’t speak a word of English. Today, she’s the head of the largest utility company in California.

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