150 Industry Leading

Women CFOs


2020 – BREAKING THE CFO GLASS CEILING

Firms are hiring women Chief Financial Officers in greater numbers

Below is Willard Powell's full list of 150 Industry Leading Women CFOs having significant business operations in the United States.

A Time For Change

2020 has been challenging year as the COVID-19 pandemic has forced every major organization to rethink traditional business strategies. Many firms have reduced hiring budgets, but increased their level of focus on transformation initiatives, including diversity hiring. Over the last decade, major corporations have hired more men into the CFO role than women by roughly a 5 to 1 ratio. The time for change and more equitable hiring is long overdue. Firms are hiring women CFOs in greater numbers.

The Path from CFO to CEO

As the pace of hiring women CFOs increases, the pace at which women CFOs are promoted into CEO roles remains too slow. In 2020 there have been a handful of women making the CFO to CEO progression. This will however gradually change as more Board seats are fulfilled by recently retired women CFOs.

The Need for Increased Diversity Amongst Women CFOs

In terms of race / ethnicity amongst women CFOs at major corporations, women CFOs are overwhelmingly white / caucasian, followed by women of asian / pacific islander descent. There should be a continued focus on creating greater opportunities for women CFOs in general, but also a particular focus on increasing hiring of black / african american and hispanic / latin women CFOs is needed.

Increasing The Scale of Opportunity

Women are taking on more CFO roles at larger firms. Here are the numbers by annual revenue:


  • 3% Women CFOs at firms with annual revenue greater than $100Bil


  • 7% Women CFOs at firms with annual revenue between $50Bil and $99Bil


  • 28% Women CFOs at firms with annual revenue between $10Bil and $49Bil


  • 62% Women CFOs at firms with annual revenue less than $9Bil

Greater Performance Together

Diverse teams form more comprehensive views of the world and lead organizations to higher levels of growth and understanding. Organizations with broader perspective and diversity of experience consistently outperform their competitors. Increased awareness and engagement are key to facilitation of creative thinking. Engagement with new communities in the world lead people to make better decisions and move towards more innovative ways of thinking and acting. It also leads towards more effective use of resources. In general, organizations have higher levels of performance through creating more inclusive environments and engaging more diverse ideas into processes.

Diverse Perspective

As an organization and society, we can only succeed if we make sure that we understand the wider world around us. Social structures are changing at increasing pace. We seek new perspectives from trusted advisors. Willard Powell has a diverse network of clients and executives who advise us on important emerging gender, nationality and cultural issues. In particular, we seek perspective from executive advisors with a "maternal" view on how the world, who can inspire others to better care for everyone. The African proverb "it takes a village," can be applied in professional communities.


Inspiring Everyone is A Worthwhile Goal


Every small change has an incredible impact on the way society evolves, thinks and cares for everyone. Firms that are committed to creating more inclusive environments, become well integrated across the organization. Positive change comes from a clear focus from inspirational leaders that are committed to cultural transformation. Building inclusive culture starts with finding leaders that inspire your team members to improve themselves, take greater responsibility for their team members and the larger community around them.

For more information on Willard Powell's diversity & inclusion services, market data on executive compensation, or general information on our talent research services, please email:

david.mcinnis@willardwpowell.com