One in six Fortune 500 CIOs is woman

Women CIOs are not restricted to just a few industries

In India, it is abysmal. Despite a high share of women the in Indian IT industry workforce, user companies have somehow failed to attract the fairer sex.

Seventy five of Fortune 500 companies in America have women CIOs. While the industry there is concerned about this ‘low’ share of women CIOs, in India, the figure is abysmal. A research CIO&Leader just conducted—which is being released in the forthcoming issue—just 3% of Indian CIOs are women. The worse news is: it is not going to change anytime soon. An analysis of IT NEXT’s NEXT100 winners in the last seven years—the potential future CIOs—the number is only marginally higher at 4%.  

Wal-Mart, the largest company in America, has a woman CIO in Karenann Terrell, who has been leading the retail company’s IT for last six years. Including Terrell, there are four women CIOs in the top 10 club— McKesson’s Kathy McElligott, Ford Motor’s Marcy Klevorn and AT&T’s Pam Parisian being the others.

Interestingly, the bigger the companies are, the more likely they are to have women CIOs. If it is four out of top 10 Fortune 500 companies that have women CIOs (40%), the top 100 have 20 women CIOs; the next 100 (101-200) have 18; the next 100 (201-300) have 16;  the next 100 (301-400) have 12 and the final 100 have 9. This seems to indicate that the bigger companies have clearly scored in terms of diversity.

In terms of industries, however, there is a good representation. Women CIOs in Fortune 500 companies come from as many as 25 industries, though some like Healthcare & Pharma, Banking & Financial Services and Retail have a slightly higher share.

In India, women representation in enterprise IT is significantly low and their elevation to CIO level is even lower, despite a large number of women working in India’s large and vibrant IT services industry. 


Women CIOs in Fortune Top 100 Companies



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