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The Fortune 500 Now Has Two Black Women CEOs. That’s Actually an Improvement

Source: Erie News Now

Thasunda Brown Duckett officially took the helm as the new CEO of TIAA on Saturday, becoming the fourth Black woman ever to head a Fortune 500 company.

Her new position is noteworthy for a number of reasons. Duckett and Walgreens’ new CEO Rosalind Brewer, who left Starbucks in March, are the only two Black women currently heading major US corporations.

Duckett is the third African American to serve as CEO of TIAA. The 103-year-old money management firm provides retirement account and other financial services for educators and health care professionals as well as government and non-profit employees. (Its original name was Teachers Insurance and Annuity Association of America.)

A spokesperson for Duckett declined a request for comment.

TIAA was managing $1.1 trillion in assets for more than five million active employees as of year-end 2019, according to Fortune.

Duckett is TIAA’s second consecutive Black chief executive, succeeding Roger W. Ferguson, who announced his retirement in November after 12 years at the helm. The company made history in 1987 when it made Clifton R. Wharton Jr. the first Black Fortune 500 CEO.

“It’s an organization that appreciates the contributions of CEOs that happen to be Black,” said Michael Hyter, president and CEO of the Executive Leadership Council, a non-profit working to increase the number of Black executives in Corporate America. “Their market is a diverse market relative to the people that they serve and have served since the company’s origins.”

Hyter said Duckett is a member of his organization and has been a positive leader throughout her career. “She’s a real person with a passion for the community who happens to be a value creator in the financial space and an extraordinary developer of leaders to boot.”

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