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Number of female CEOs leading Fortune 500 companies at record high

Kathleen Joyce

The number of female CEOS leading Fortune 500 companies is higher than ever before, Fortune announced on Thursday.

As of June 1, 33 of the “highest-grossing firms” in the country are headed by female CEOs, according to Fortune. That's up from last year when 24 women held chief executive roles at Fortune 500 firms.

Fortune noted Williams-Sonoma CEO Laura Alber and Advanced Micro Devices CEO Lisa Su have been CEOs for years but their companies were recently named Fortune 500 companies after surpassing the $5.575 billion revenue cut-off.

Over the last 12 months, Best Buy named Corie Barry as its chief executive. Northrop and Land O’Lakes also named Kathy Warden and Beth Ford chief executives, respectively. Bed Bath & Beyond named appointed interim CEO Mary Winston to lead after the company faced heavy pressure from investors to replace veteran CEO Steven Temares.

Lorraine Hariton, the CEO of Catalyst, a research firm, told Fortune the reason for the increase of female CEOs is that more women and minorities are sitting on boards.

“We are seeing women and minorities on boards ticking up, and boards have a lot to do with who becomes CEOs,” Hariton told Fortune.

Fortune noted that few female CEOs are non-white.

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Last year, long-time PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi stepped down from her position. Her exit followed other notable departures including Campbell Soup’s Denise Morrison in May 2018 and Mattel’s Margo Georgiadis in April 2018.

The top five Fortune 500 companies on the list are Walmart, Exxon Mobil, Apple, Berkshire Hathaway and Amazon.

Fox Business’ Jade Scipioni contributed to this report.

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