The new faces leading Fortune 500 companies

June 2, 2021, 9:00 AM UTC

Good morning,

The role of the CFO is “really to be the partner to the CEO and the business,” Aneel Bhusri, co-founder and co-CEO at Workday, Inc., said during Workday and Fortune’s recent CFO Collaborative event. In the past year, CEOs have addressed the challenges of the pandemic and digital disruption, along with a deeper focus on environmental and social issues. 

Unprecedented times called for greater collaboration in the C-suite, which helped many companies excel financially despite the odds—with new leaders at the helm. There are 56 returning Fortune 500 companies which have new CEOs, and 39 new companies (including 24 companies making their debut and 15 returning to the list) this year.

Writing for Fortune, Chris Taylor takes a look at new talent at the top in industries including retail, health, energy, banking, and finance.

For example, No. 4 on the list is CVS Health led by Karen Lynch, who became CEO in February 2021. At No. 5 is UnitedHealth, now led by Andrew Witty. Chris writes: Particularly welcome is some racial and gender diversity among these powerful new CEOs. Drugstore chain Walgreens Boots Alliance at No. 16 is now led by Roz Brewer, No. 33 Citigroup is helmed by Jane Fraser, and financial services giant TIAA (No. 79) by Thasunda Brown Duckett. A couple of industry sectors stood out in terms of executive changes: Energy saw a number of new arrivals like No. 294 FirstEnergy’s Steven Strah, No. 160 PG&E’s Patricia Poppe, and No. 249 Consolidated Edison’s Timothy Cawley.

Chris writes: All of these Fortune 500 newcomers have one challenge in common: Now that they have made an impressive entrance, the task ahead is to keep up that momentum, and come out of this year with renewed focus and drive.

To find out more this year’s Fortune 500 list, including deep dives into newcomer companies Chipotle, Chewy and Carvana, visit

See you tomorrow.

Sheryl Estrada

Big deal

A Gallup report released June 1 found that although most Americans value the goals of environmental, social, and governance, 64% of respondents said they are unfamiliar with the term ESG. Overall, consumers pay attention to corporate actions. The data was derived from an April 1-21 Gallup survey.

Going deeper

The results of the 2021 Trends in Investing Survey released on June 1 by the Journal of Financial Planning and the Financial Planning Association indicate financial advisors are warming up to cryptocurrencies. About 14% of advisors surveyed are currently using or recommending crypto in 2021, compared to below 1% in both 2019 and 2020, the report found. In the 2021 survey, 26% of advisors indicated they plan to increase their recommendation of crypto over the next 12 months. Almost half (49%) of respondents said, in the last six months, clients have asked them about investing in crypto, up from 17% in 2020, according to the report. The data is based on a survey of 529 of financial advisors.


Adam Drapczuk was named CFO at NEXGEL, Inc., a provider of hydrogels for healthcare and consumer applications. Prior to joining NEXGEL, Drapczuk served as financial controller for R-Pharm US.

Patrick Flanigan was named CFO at Kallyope Inc., a biotechnology company. Flanigan most recently served as CFO at Ichnos Sciences.


"The overwhelming thing to remind people of is the origin of this particular shortage is just incredible demand—no one could have predicted this type of demand."

—Advanced Micro Devices Inc. CEO Lisa Su on the semiconductor industry's struggle to meet the increasing global demand for chips. AMD is working to increase production to fix the problem, as reported by Fortune

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