appear not to be making similar advances in law firms. The
powerful business case for diversity and inclusion seems to
be better appreciated in corporate America currently, but
it’s still a small GC group. More change is needed.”
MCCA’s Lee agreed, adding, “Just because there’s an
uptick doesn’t mean we can rest on our laurels. Corporate
leaders have clearly taken action, but these numbers can
easily go down again.”
Last year’s roster of Fortune® 500 minorities was three
fewer than that of the previous year, resulting from 25 per-
cent of the African-American GCs vacating their positions.
More recently, Cox Enterprises announced in mid-October
that it hired Juliette Pryor away from US Foods Holding.
Pryor was in previous MCCA surveys.
So the influx of five female newcomers has also helped
stave off further dwindling of the overall minority roster.
Another bright spot lies in promotions of Emerson’s
Bosco and EMCOR’s Mauricio doubling the number of
Asian-Pacific American women. For many years, this subset
stalled at two.
Moreover, women of color such as Cummins’ Barner
populate 10 percent of the 100 companies ranked from
No. 69 to No. 168. That’s better representation than their 4
percent share of the total Fortune® 500 and supports the argument that diverse perspectives can yield strong business
results and higher profits.
Hence, diversity champions clamor for more leadership opportunities for historically underrepresented
“Kudos to corporations for pushing the needle forward,
but 22 is still really small,” Lee said of the minority female
When factoring in Caucasian women, the number of
female, Fortune® 500 GCs this year is 124—only four more
than a year ago. This follows increases of eight and seven in
two previous surveys.
Lee considers any growth—even at a modest pace—
positive, but pointed out that because women make up more
than one-third of the legal profession, there should be no
shortage of female job candidates.
Banks, meanwhile, said that diligent succession planning and preparation can exponentially boost general counsel opportunities for women. She knows this firsthand.
Less than a year ago at Gap (177), Julie Gruber succeeded Banks as executive vice president and global general
counsel, becoming the fourth consecutive woman to serve
as the retail clothier’s top lawyer. Gruber, Banks and previous GC Lauri Shanahan were all developed and promoted
from within the company.
Yet too few corporate law departments employ these
tactics, Banks and others said, which can cause underrepresented demographics to languish.
Take Hispanics, for instance.
COMPANY GENERAL COUNSEL
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Triple-S Management Carlos L. Rodríguez-Ramos 749 919 Health Care: Insurance and Managed Care
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Edgewell Personal Care Manish Shanbhag¹ 856 579 Household and Personal Products
A. Schulman Andrean Horton¹ 865 883 Chemicals
Public Storage Lily Yan Hughes 870 952 Miscellaneous
Wayfair Enrique Colbert 906 Internet Services and Retailing
Twitter Vijaya Gadde 914 Internet Services and Retailing
Herman Miller Tim Lopez 932 Home Equipment, Furnishings
Popular Javier D. Ferrer 938 970 Commercial Banks
Restoration Hardware Edward Lee 940 Specialty Retailers: Other
IDEX Denise Cade¹ 964 969 Industrial Machinery
Verifone Systems Albert Liu 971 Computers, Office Equipment
Shire Mark C. Darrell 980 Utilities: Gas and Electric
BlueLinx Holdings Shyam Reddy 991 Wholesalers: Diversified
EP Energy Marguerite Woung-Chapman 995 721 Mining, Crude-Oil Production