25% of Top American CIOs are Women

Every one out of seven Fortune 500 American CIOs is a woman

(1) Jamie Miller, CIO of GE; (2) Karenann Terrell, CIO of Walmart; (3) Marcy Klevorn, CIO of Ford Motors; (4) Kathy McElligott, CIO of McKesson Corporation; (5) Cheryl Thomas, CIO of Valero Energy

CIOs of five of the top 20 American companies are women. The list of companies where women hold the top IT job includes Walmart, America’s—and the World’s—largest publicly listed company. In contrast, only one of the top 20 Indian listed companies has a woman CIO.


These top five women CIOs of corporate America are Karenann Terrell, EVP &CIO of Walmart (the largest American company, according to Fortune 500 list of 2015); Jamie Miller, SVP & CIO of GE (the 8th largest); Marcy Klevron, VP & CIO, Ford Motors (the 9th largest); Kathy McElligott, CIO & CTO of McKesson (11th largest); and Cheryl Thomas, VP & CIO, Valero Energy (the 13th largest).


An analysis by CIO & Leader shows that roughly, one out of seven Fortune 500 American companies has a woman CIO. From the 486 of the Fortune 500 companies, whose information is available, 68 have women CIOs at the helm. Though a similar analysis for Indian companies is difficult to do—a few Indian companies do not have a central CIO while a few public sector firms have frequent changes—it is estimated that the top 500 of them would have less than 15 women CIOs—that is one woman CIO in every 33 largest Indian companies.


Airtel’s Harmeen Mehta is the only woman CIO among the 20 largest Indian companies.


Apart from the names listed above, here are some of the women CIOs who have been spearheading the IT strategy of some of the Fortune 500 American companies, selected mostly on the basis of familiarity of their names in India.

  • Meg McCarthy of Aetna
  • Maya Leibman, American Airlines Group
  • Catherine P. Bessant of Bank of America
  • Colleen Dunn of Best Buy
  • Julie Lagacy of Caterpillar
  • Theresa Wise of Delta Airlines
  • Paula Tolliver of Dow Chemicals
  • Kim Stevenson of Intel
  • Cora Carmody of Jacobs Engineering
  • Jeniffer Sepull of Kimberly Clark
  • Sondra L Barbour of Lockheed Martin
  • Linda Clement-Holmes, Procter & Gamble
  • Rebecca R Rhoads of Raytheon
  • Martha Poulter of Starwood Hotels
  • Sheila Jordan of Symantec
  • Ellen Barker of Texas Instruments
  • Denise M Clark of Estee Lauder
  • Susan O’Day of Walt Disney
  • Nancy Davis of UTC


While this is just a representative list, it is large enough to show that the phenomenon of women CIOs is not just restricted to the ‘softer’ consumer focused companies such as retail, hospitality, travel, consumer goods and fashion, which have had a larger percentage of women employees but also encompasses the traditional bastion of men—the engineering and manufacturing companies. GE, Ford Motors, Jacobs Engineering, Raytheon, Dow Chemicals and Caterpillar are some such companies that have entrusted the top IT jobs to women.  


India—despite its IT industry boasting of a larger percentage share of women employees as compared to most other industries—still does not have enough women CIOs.


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