Leadership by Geoff Colvin

Fortune 500 CEOs: Women on the rise

April 20, 2009: 1:18 PM ET

Have you seen the Fortune 500, released today?

Click around Fortune.com. It's a rich trove of facts and stats--a window into the depressing economic condition of the U.S. The most dismal news: Overall profits of Fortune 500 companies cratered to $98.9 billion from $645 billion in 2007.

But the news about women is positive: A record 15 female CEOs populate the latest Fortune 500. That's reassuring (and surprising, actually) since we've seen many women close to the top drop out voluntarily--like Susan Arnold, the former president at Procter & Gamble (PG)--or get bounced involuntarily. Remember Zoe Cruz, once the heir apparent at Morgan Stanley (MS)? Since CEO John Mack pushed her out in late 2007, Cruz is still on the sidelines figuring out what to do next.

Yet even as the female leadership pipeline seems to be leaking more than ever, women are still rising to CEO of America's largest companies. From our Women CEOs gallery, here's the new list of female Fortune 500 CEOs:

Pat Woertz - Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) - No. 27

Angela Braly - Wellpoint (WLP) - No. 32

Lynn Elsenhans - Sunoco (SUN) - N0. 41

Indra Nooyi - PepsiCo (PEP) - No. 52

Irene Rosenfeld - Kraft Foods (KFT) - No. 53

Ellen Kullman - DuPont (DD) - No. 75

Mary Sammons - Rite Aid (RAD) - No. 100

Carol Meyrowitz - TJX (TJX) - No. 131

Anne Mulcahy - Xerox (XRX) - No. 147

Brenda Barnes - Sara Lee (SLE) - No. 199

Andrea Jung - Avon Products (AVP) - No. 255

Laura Sen - BJ's Wholesale Club (BJ) - No. 269

Susan Ivey - Reynolds American (RAI) - No. 294

Carol Bartz - Yahoo (YHOO) - No. 345

Christina Gold - Western Union (WU) - No. 451

The list includes three newcomers to the Fortune 500: Ellen Kullman moved up to CEO of DuPont in January. Laura Sen became CEO of BJ's in February. And then there's Carol Bartz, "Yahoo's taskmaster," whom my colleague Jon Fortt profiled in Fortune's recent issue.pattie-signature9

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About This Author
Pattie Sellers
Pattie Sellers
Senior Editor at Large, Fortune
Executive Director of MPW/Live Content, Time Inc.

Pattie Sellers has written more than 20 Fortune cover stories including "Marissa Mayer: Ready to Rumble at Yahoo," "Muhtar Kent's New Coke," "Oprah's Next Act", "The $100 Billion Woman" (Melinda Gates), and "Gone with the Wind" (Ted Turner). She co-founded Fortune Most Powerful Women and oversees the Fortune MPW Summit, the preeminent gathering of women leaders in business and beyond—and programs such as Fortune MPW Entrepreneurs and the Fortune-U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership. Pattie also develops Live Content across Time Inc. Her blog, Postcards, is about how power players lead and navigate their careers. Pattie won Time Inc.'s prestigious MVP award for her performance in 2012.

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