As we look back on another incredible Pride Month, we wanted to continue the celebrations by highlighting five incredibly successful companies led by LGBTQ+ CEOs.
Every year, more and more companies, including some of the biggest in the world, celebrate Pride Month and make public gestures. Many even sponsor a variety of Pride events throughout the month. As well as this, an increasing number of businesses are taking more notice of the LGBTQ+ community when it comes to marketing, recruiting, and providing resources. However, when boardrooms are still largely dominated by straight, white men, it is seemingly up to a few LGBTQ+ CEOs to pave the way for a new generation of inclusivity at the very summit of business.
Below, we will take a look at five of the most successful LGBTQ+ CEOs operating in the world at the moment, all of whom are consistently breaking down barriers and representing the community in the workplace.
Alan Joyce – Qantas Airways
One of the most prominent and influential CEOs in the world at the moment is Alan Joyce from the Australian airline Qantas, who is also a member of the LGBTQ+ community. He even campaigned for same-sex marriage in his native country in 2017, while constantly speaking out about changing the way in which people think inside his company and his country. He appreciates the power he has in his position and intends to use it for good.
Thankfully, Australia did eventually pass a same-sex marriage law in December 2017 and Alan Joyce was finally able to marry his significant other, Shane Lloyd two years later.
Not only is Joyce determined to drive change for the LGBTQ+ community, but he has also been outspoken on gender quality and indigenous issues in the past.
In 2019, he gave a speech to 130 female pilots: “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.”
Anne Richards – Fidelity International
Anne Richards is the CEO of Fidelity International and was even recently recognised with a Damehood. In the Queen’s birthday honours, Richards was highlighted for her work in the financial sector, as well as her services to education, women, and science. In her day job, Anne Richards is determined to create an inclusive company in which there is clear diversity from top to bottom. Working her way up through the ranks, she experienced the lack of diversity first-hand and intends to create an environment in which people from all walks of life feel at home, feel as though they deserve to be there, and come together towards one shared goal.
Under 12 months after Richards was named CEO, Fidelity International was announced as one of the LGBT Great’s Corporate Membership founding members. This group aims to improve quality in the workplace not only for employees, but also investors and clients too. LGBT Great works in the savings and investment industry that specialises in diversity and inclusion.
Anne Richards also happens to be a huge advocate for female representation in the finance industry and has even claimed that there has been a recent ‘concentrated push on gender’ in the sector, which has led to significant progress.
Jeffrey Gennette – Macy’s Inc
In the USA, Jeffrey Gennette is one of the only openly gay CEOs leading the way at corporate level, working at Macy’s and fighting to pave the way for more like him.
He said: “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.”
Gennette has made sure to create a culture at Macy’s that encourages diversity and provides an equal opportunity from top to bottom. As well as this, the company’s annual Pride + Joy campaign for Pride Month raised money for the largest LGBTQ+ suicide prevention and crisis intervention organisation. This is the same charity that Macy’s has supported for years now, raising $1.6 million in that time. Additionally, Macy’s released some Pride merchandise, hosted Pride events, and supported numerous celebrations across the country.
Jim Fitterling – Dow
Jim Fitterling spent the vast majority of his working life hiding his sexuality but is now determined to create an atmosphere that gives people the opportunity to live their true lives, especially at Dow.
He said: “No one should be afraid to bring their whole self to work.”
In 2014, Fitterling came out to his colleagues in a work meeting and was reportedly greeted with ‘overwhelmingly positive support’ before eventually being name company CEO. After being named in the role, one of his early decisions was to create a Chief Inclusion Officer position to put an emphasis on diversity and inclusion. Fitterling believes that a company must support marginalised sections of the community in order to sustain success.
Tim Cook – Apple
Tim Cook publicly came out as gay back in 2014 in an editorial for Bloomberg Business which was a landmark day. He became the very first openly gay CEO of a Fortune 500 company.
He said: “I’m proud to be gay, and I consider being gay among the greatest gifts God has given me.”
Over the years, Cook has worked on a number of campaigns within Apple, including providing financial support for multiple organisations that work on LGBTQ+ advocacy. This year, Apple brought out an Apple Watch Pride Edition band and a new watch face inspired by Pride flags.
Cook said: “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.”