When you look at the CEOs of companies in the Fortune 500, you might notice that the overwhelming majority of them are men. The top female CEOs, therefore, stand out among their peers.
Here are five female CEOs making waves in big business.
Sarah London, CEO of Centene
Sarah London, CEO of Centene, is the youngest woman to hold the CEO position at a Fortune 500 company.
She was just 41 years old when the Board of Directors promoted her from vice chair and senior vice president of technology and modernization. Now, she oversees one of the country’s largest managed care and health insurance providers.
London didn’t take a traditional path to corporate leadership. She started her career at the Kennedy/Marshall Company, the production company that has helped make several blockbuster films, including Seabiscuit and The Sixth Sense.
After a few years in Hollywood, she realized that she wanted to put her Harvard education to use in the healthcare industry. She found a job at UnitedHealthcare’s Optum Ventures and earned an MBA from the University of Chicago’s Booth School of Business, where she graduated With Honors.
At Centene, she earns about $13.25 million per year, including stocks, options, and other bonuses. Experts tracking her career give vastly different estimates of her net worth. Some say she’s worth about $8 million. Others estimate her net worth at $35 million. The confusion likely comes from the fact that nearly 90% of her compensation comes from bonuses.
Regardless, Sarah London is still very young and likely has a long career ahead of her. Centene seems confident that she can run the country’s largest Medicaid provider. The company’s stock price has wavered some since she became CEO, but its early innings for this newly minted executive.
Jennifer Rumsey, CEO of Cummins
Jennifer Rumsey is the youngest executive at Cummins, a multinational company with more than $35 billion in annual sales. Rumsey has a long career in engineering and management that prepared her for the current position leading Cummins. She earned degrees in mechanical engineering from Purdue and MIT.
After completing her Master’s program, she started working for an energy start-up in Cambridge, MA. She joined Cummins as a technical advisor in 2000. Her expertise and hard work quickly earned her a director position overseeing Advanced Engineering.
By 2010, she was the executive director of Heavy Duty Engineering, a title she held for about two and a half years before becoming Engine Business’s vice president of engineering. Engine Business is a division of Cummins.
As vice president and CTO of Cummins, she contributed to the company’s broader energy profile, which included more renewable energy technologies. She then received several promotions that quickly lifted her through the ranks until she became the CEO in 2022.
Although Jennifer Rumsey has only been at the top of Cummins for a couple of years, she has made impressive changes within the company. She’s reaffirmed the business’s commitment to reaching net-zero emissions by 2050, encouraged managers to diversify their teams, and supported technologies that remove greenhouse gases from the atmosphere.
Cummins’s stock price has reached $258.75 under Rumsey’s direction. The price has only exceeded that amount once, during a brief stock market rally when governments around the world poured money into businesses to prevent a health-related recession.
Christine Leahy, CEO of CDW
Christine Leahy, who goes by “Chris,” attended Brown University and earned a law degree from Boston College Law School.
After finishing law school, Leahy worked for Sidley Austin, a global law firm with nearly two dozen offices around the world. When she left Sidley Austin, she held several positions with CDW, including chief legal officer and chief revenue officer.
After 20 years at CDW, the board chose her as the new president and CEO in 2019.
CDW’s stock price has more than doubled under Chris Leagy’s leadership. At the beginning of 2019, shares traded for about $90. Recently, the price exceeded $240 per share.
Boosting profitability has required some hard choices. Leahy laid off between 450 and 750 employees in 2022, the same year her compensation increased by 24%. She currently receives over $11 million per year. About 90% of her compensation comes from bonuses, including cash and stock options. Leagy likely has a net worth between $55 and $60 million.
Leahy is a noted industry leader championing a more inclusive workforce. She also serves her community as the founder of CDW’s Women’s Opportunity Network and a board member of Brightpoint (formerly called Children’s Home and Aid).
Ellen Cooper, CEO of Lincoln National
Ellen Cooper became the first CEO in Lincoln National’s history in 2022 after nearly a decade working for the financial company. Cooper studied business administration and actuarial science at Temple University in Philadelphia.
After graduating, she became an actuarial consultant for three years before joining the staff at Ernst & Young Global Limited. She then moved into asset management as a risk assessment officer at Aegon.
Cooper’s career got a significant boost in 2008 when Goldman Sachs hired her as managing director and head of global insurance strategy. She spent four years with Goldman Sachs before transferring to Lincoln National.
Ellen Cooper had a quick impact on Lincoln National’s business. When she started as chief investment officer and executive vice president, she oversaw $300 billion in assets. She was instrumental in expanding Lincoln National’s investment strategy by splitting accounts into “general” and “separate” categories.
Cooper’s total compensation comes to about $9.1 million per year. Unfortunately, Lincoln National’s stock price has slipped below pre-pandemic levels during her tenure. Immediately before the pandemic, shares traded for about $60. The price reached a $75 high in October 2021. Shares currently trade for about $25.
Judith Marks, CEO of Otis Worldwide
Judith Marks has enjoyed a long career with some of the world’s most influential companies. After earning a degree in electrical science from Lehigh University, she joined Lockheed Martin as president of the distribution technologies division.
Over the next decade, she held various positions within Lockheed Martin, including:
- Executive vice president of transportation and security solutions
- President of transportation and security solutions
- President of information systems and global services
- Vice president of electronic systems and strategy and business development
Marks left Lockheed Martin to become the president and CEO of Siemens Government Technologies (SGT), a division of Siemens that works exclusively with government contracts.
At Siemens, she oversaw products that helped the US federal government reach energy, healthcare, and infrastructure goals.
From SGT, Marks moved to Dresser-Rand, another property owned by Siemens. As the executive vice president of global solutions, she primarily worked with clients in the oil and gas industry. She helped them explore and select appropriate technologies.
Marks also helped overhaul Dresser-Rand’s management structures as it integrated with Siemens. Perhaps not surprisingly, she became chief executive offer and assumed the CEO’s office within just two years.
Judith Marks took her current job by joining Otis Elevator Company in 2017. She was president for about two years, during which she set global strategy and encouraged technologies that would make elevators more useful in exceptionally tall buildings. She became president and CEO in 2019. That move put her in charge of transitioning Otis from a private company to one traded publicly on the market.
After Otis Elevator’s IPO, shares sold for about $45 in 2020. Other than a few dips, the stock price has risen steadily. Shares currently trade for about $90.
Marks receive an annual compensation package worth about $14.5 million.
The author has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. Financhill has a disclosure policy. This post may contain affiliate links or links from our sponsors.