Magazine article Ebony

15 at the Top: In Corporate America

Magazine article Ebony

15 at the Top: In Corporate America

Article excerpt

DEFYING the limitations of the glass ceiling, many African-American women are adding new shades of color and verve to the corporate rainbow.

>From technology to finance, advertising, electronics, media, foods, insurance and publishing, the 15 executives featured on the following pages are setting new standards and redefining American corporate culture.

They are not the only Sisters at the top, but they are representative of a new generation of executives who are masters of technology, media and management. Some have Harvard MBAs, but some, like Ursula Burns, started as summer interns and worked their way up the corporate ladder.


COO, Genentech

The No. 2 post at Genentech, the global biotechnology giant, is held by Myrtle Potter, who is in charge of commercial operations, including sales, marketing, managed care, business development, and commercial development. She is a member of the company's executive committee and co-chairs the product portfolio committee.

Before assuming the post of chief operating officer and executive vice president, Potter was president of Bristol-Myers Squibb's multibillion-dollar U. S. cardiovascular/metabolics business.

In 2003, Fortune magazine named her one of the "Top 50 Most Powerful Women" in business. Time magazine called her one of the " 15 Young Global Influentials."

Potter, who graduated from the University of Chicago, serves on the board of directors of the California Healthcare Institute.


President, Business Group Operations, Xerox

URSULA Burns has been given credit for reviving xerox's fortunes. By persuading the computer powerhouse to outsource its manufacturing operations, she reportedly saved the company $2 billion in 2003.

Burns, a mechanical engineer, joined Xerox in 1980 as a summer intern and advanced quickly through the ranks, holding posts in product development and planning. In 2002, she was named president of the $12 billion Business Group Operations, which is responsible for more than 80 percent of Xerox's sales.

Burns grew up in "the projects" in Manhattan, graduated from the Polytechnic Institute of New York and received a master of science in mechanical engineering from Columbia University.


Chair and CEO. Young & Rubicam

ANN Fudge is the first African-American woman to head a major advertising firm.

She is chair and CEO of Young & Rubicam Inc. (a global network of marketing communications companies) and Y&R Advertising, a major industry leader that has developed ad campaigns for Lincoln-Mercury, AT&T, Colgate, Sears and Metropolitan Life. Fudge also oversees several other Y&R companies, including the Landor Associates branding firm, the Burson-Marsteller public relations firm and the Sudler & Hennessey health care communications firm.

Previously, Fudge served as group president of the Kraft Foods Beverage, Desserts and Post divisions. She stepped down from Kraft and the corporate whirlwind in 2001, joining several high-profile boards and becoming more involved in philanthropic work. She was named chair and CEO of Young & Rubicam in 2003.

Fudge earned a bachelor's degree in retail management from Simmons College, and an MBA from the Harvard Business School. She serves on the board of directors of General Electric Co. and Marriott International Inc.


CEO, Starcom North America

NAMED a "Media Maven" by Advertising Age in 2001, Renetta McCann is responsible for the largest division within Starcom MediaVest Group, one of the top brand communication networks in the world. Responsible for planning and investing more than $6 billion in client dollars annually, McCann leads a 600-member workforce in the United States and Canada and serves as a chair of the American Association of Advertising Agencies' Media Policy. …

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