The 5 Biggest Companies with LGBTQ+ CEOs
To celebrate Pride Month this year, we take a look at the five companies across the globe that share two similarities – big revenues and an LGBTQ+ CEO at the helm.
Over the past few years, many companies have made public gestures of support during Pride Month, with hundreds of major consumer brands becoming regular sponsors of annual Pride events. In addition to this, an increasing number of companies are making business-critical decisions about recruitment practices, employee-resource groups and marketing that embrace the rights of their LGBTQ+ team members. But in a world where corporate boardrooms are largely straight and cis-gendered, being an openly LGBTQ+ leader while pushing for equality and inclusion is certainly challenging the status quo and creating an even more welcoming environment for the LGBTQ+ community in their company.
We take a look at the LGBTQ+ CEOs of five of the biggest companies in the world who are working hard to inspire this change and encourage more employees to feel represented in the workplace.
Alan Joyce, the CEO of Australian airline Qantas, is certainly one of the most influential LGBTQ+ CEOs in the world, who isn’t afraid to stand up for the rights of LGBTQ+ people, including campaigning in favour of same-sex marriage in Australia back in 2017. Mr Joyce is vocal about driving changes both at Qantas and his country, fully embracing the power he has as a high-profile business leader and putting it to good use.
After legislation to allow same-sex marriage passed the Australian Parliament on 7th December 2017, Mr Joyce married his long-term partner Shane Lloyd on the rooftop of The Museum of Contemporary Art in Circular Quay on 2nd November 2019.
In addition to his efforts connected to LGBTQ+ rights, Mr Joyce is devoted to supporting gender equality and indigenous rights too. “We want a fair go for the female community, we want a fair go for the indigenous community, we want a fair go across the board, and that’s why we feel passionate about getting this right,” Mr Joyce told 130 female pilots from 30 airlines back in 2019.
The current CEO of Fidelity International Anne Richards, who has recently been honoured with a damehood for services to the financial services industry, women, education and science in the Queen’s birthday honours, is another CEO leading by example by focussing on building an inclusive and diverse company. Having been an outsider herself in the past, she strives to build an environment where people feel welcome and have the right to be there without apologising about who they are. In 2019, less than a year since Richards was named CEO of the company, Fidelity International became one of the five founding members of LGBT Great’s Corporate Membership, committing to improving LGBTQ+ equality and inclusion for all employees, clients and investors. LGBT Great is a global membership organisation specialist in developing LGBT+ diversity and inclusion within the investment and savings industry.
Anne is also a big supporter of women in finance, believing that a lot of progress has been made over the past decade thanks to a very ‘concentrated push on gender’ in the industry.
As one of the very few openly gay CEOs at the heights of corporate America, Jeffrey Gennette has worked hard to ensure that diversity and inclusion are business imperatives at Macy’s. “Our mission is to embed D&I into how we think, act, and operate by fostering an inclusive culture and an environment that inspires, reflects, and embraces everyone,” he says.
In addition to the company culture Gennette has instilled, for this year’s Pride Month, Macy’s annual Pride + Joy campaign included a customer-centric give-back program to raise funds and awareness for The Trevor Project – the world’s largest suicide prevention and crisis intervention organisation for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer, and questioning young people. For more than a decade, Macy’s has supported the charity through a variety of initiatives and over the last two years alone, the company has helped to raise over $1.6 million to support The Trevor Project’s mission.
The company has also launched a celebratory assortment of Pride-inspired exclusive merchandise, has supported more than 18 celebrations across the US and has hosted numerous events, including this year’s virtual Macy’s Pride March.
“No one should be afraid to bring their whole self to work,” says Jim Fitterling, the CEO of Dow. And as someone who has spent the majority of his career hiding his sexuality, Jim is on a mission to make a difference and help ensure that everyone who works for Dow can be their whole selves.
Jim himself came out to his colleagues before he was appointed CEO. It happened during an internal meeting in 2014 and the announcement was met with an ‘overwhelmingly positive support’. Soon after becoming the company’s new chief executive, Fitterling appointed Dow’s first Chief Inclusion Officer, who reports directly to him. Their focus is on expanding inclusion, as Jim believes that if a company doesn’t have the type of culture that supports women, POC and LGBTQ+ people, then you might have diversity for a while but it will not sustain itself in the long run.
“I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me,” Tim Cook said in his editorial for Bloomberg Business back in 2014 when he came out publicly to officially become the first openly gay chief executive in the Fortune 500.
Among the numerous initiatives and campaigns Apple and Cook work on, including the long-running financial support for many LGBTQ+ advocacy organisations, to celebrate the LGBTQ+ movement this year, the company debuted a new Apple Watch Pride Edition band and dynamic watch face, both of which incorporate a broader set of colours inspired by multiple Pride flags that have represented the LGBTQ+ community throughout the years.
“On many fronts, Apple supports the ongoing and unfinished work of equality for diverse and intersectional communities, and we want to provide every opportunity to celebrate and honour this history during Pride season,” commented Cook.