There will soon be eight Black CEOs leading S&P 500 companies.
Forbes has reported that Chris Womack has been appointed CEO of Southern Co., and will start in his new role in May.
An industry friend of Womack, Calvin Butler, expressed delight upon hearing the news. The announcement of Womack’s new title came just days after Exelon named Butler as CEO.
“The day it happened I sent Chris a text and said, ‘I’m proud for you, and I’m happy for us,’” Butler told Forbes. “Chris is one of those [people] who’s been around the industry a lot longer than me, and he represents opportunity that should have existed a long time ago.”
Also joining in their celebration is Lloyd Yates, who serves as the CEO of NiSource. It was in 2022 that he stamped the title.
“I actually think it’s coincidental,” Yates explained to Forbes. “I think it’s just a point in time when there’s been a lot of CEO transition in the industry, and I know the three of us were prepared.”
The recent appointments join other Black S&P 500 CEOs such as Rosalind “Roz” Brewer, Walgreens Boots Alliance; Marvin Ellison, Lowe’s Companies Inc.; René Jones, M&T Bank; Craig Arnold, Eaton; and Frank Clyburn, International Flavors & Fragrances.
Currently, Forbes reports only two percent of Black CEOs lead S&P 500 companies.
Hopefully, the appointment of three new additions within the space signal promise for the future and diversification of executive leadership.