In this article we are going to list the 12 biggest companies with gay CEOs. Click to skip ahead and jump to the 5 biggest companies with gay CEOs.
A couple of decades ago it was not usual to find an openly-gay person at a senior position in any organization. This is because while companies claimed to be a welcoming place for LGBT, the reality was far-fetched. People from LGBT had to fight for their basic rights for a prolonged period. For example, in 2013 the Supreme Court of USA allowed the government to not provide federal benefits to homosexual couples. It is only five years ago same-sex marriages have been legalized in the USA and then later on in other parts of the world.
Even then, while the United States has banned discrimination based on sexuality, many people still face a lot of discrimination in the workplace, which is quite hard to fight off and can often be at a subtle enough level that it gets quite hard to prove. Even a couple of decades ago the concept of LGBT workplace protection was relatively unheard of and many companies used to lay off people based on their sexuality. Moreover, people have now become more vocal against companies that marginalize LGBT. But still, even in today’s world, many companies prefer to have a heterosexual person as their CEO.
You will note that many companies which have become accepting enough to have gay CEOs belong to the developed world. This is because despite the fact that advancements have been made, these advancements have mostly been restricted to only developed economies, where the view on human rights is drastically different from other countries, especially those based in Asia and Africa. Countries in these continents mostly still have laws against gay relations and same sex acts, and it doesn't look like this will end anytime soon. Many countries have these arcane laws because of religion; Islam has a very strict stance against homosexuality leaving little wiggle room and these countries have adopted rules to reflect that very stance. This is why in some African and Asian countries, same sex acts are actually punishable by death. You can learn more about these countries if you visit the 15 most dangerous companies for gay travelers.
Having said that, there are still many well-known Chief Executive Officers who came out as gay and became a source of inspiration for the young generation belonging to the LBGT community. For example, the appointment of Inga Beale was a CEO of Lloyd in 2014 was hailed by many as they claimed that it will encourage other organizations to have more visible LGBT representation. Similarly, it was Tim Cook who paved the way for other LGBT leaders by becoming the very first openly gay CEO of a renowned company that is a part of the Fortune 500 list. However, even companies which are said to be gay-friendly such as Coca Cola (NYSE:KO) or General Motors (NYSE:GM) Now, if you search for the biggest companies with gay CEOs, other than Apple and a few others, there are few proper lists. To ensure that our data was correct, we checked the revenues of these companies either from Forbes, Fortune or their own annual reports, with foreign currencies converted to US dollars. Therefore let's take a look at the 15 biggest companies with CEOs that are challenging the status quo by being openly gay, starting of course with number 15:
12. Neptune Flood Insurance
Name of CEO: Trevor Burgess
Total revenue of the company in 2019: $7 million
Trevor Burgess is the CEO of Neptune and along with that is also the founder of TRB Development. He came out as gay at an early age and has been a part of many human rights campaigns. He was the first openly gay CEO of a bank at that time when homophobic culture was prevalent. He is married to Gary Hess and has a daughter named Logan. He also won several awards such as ‘Entrepreneur of the Year Award by Ernst & Young. In 2015, he was named to be one of the leading global LGBT executives by Financial Times.
Name of CEO: Michael Adams
Total revenue of the company in 2019: $ 13 million
Sage is one of the oldest and largest organizations in the USA that is focusing on improving the lives of LGBT. It was found in 1978 and the main aim of SAGE is to ensure that the elders from the LGBT community can live a comfortable life in the USA. The scope of Sage has increased immensely under the leadership of Micheal Adams. It is because of Adams, Sage has become the primary key player in the LGBT aging issues dialogues. Adam was appointed as an Executive Director at Sage in 2006. He was able to use his knowledge and expertise to improve the lives of millions of LGBT elders in the USA. He also has served on the advisory council for AARP. He has done his Bachelors from Harvard University in 1984 and then, later on, received a Master’s degree in Law & Latin American Studies from Stanford Law School in 1990.
Name of CEO: Sarah Kate Ellis
Total revenue of the company in 2019: $16 million
GLAAD (Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) is a media monitoring organization that is famous for taking a strong stance against the biased and derogatory representation of LGBT. Sarah Kate became the CEO of GLAAD in 2014 and previously served as a media executive. She has played a vital role in repositioning GLAAD’s attention on creating acceptance of the LGBT community in society. She is a powerful communicator and has used her position to represent the LGBTQ community in a fair manner. She was also part of Variety’s 2016 New Power of New York List. Before joining GLAAD, she has also worked at several other national media brands.
Name of CEO: Brian Bickell
Total revenue of the company in 2019: $172 million
Brain Bickell joined Shaftesbury back in 1986. He became the CEO of Shaftesbury in 2011 and has previously also served as the Finance Director. As a CEO he is responsible to devise a strategy and supervise day-to-day operations. He is also a qualified Chartered Accountant. His experience and knowledge as immensely helped in delivering success. In 2017, he was also considered to be one of the leading LGBT executives in the organization. He has been openly gay throughout his 30-year career. Currently, apart from Shaftesbury, he is also serving as a Director of Longmartin Properties Limited. He has also been applauded for taking the initiative to promote workforce diversity and inclusion.
8. United Therapeutics
Name of CEO: Martine Rothblatt
Total revenue of the company in 2019: $506 million
Martin Rothblatt is widely popular for her dynamic personality as she is not just a business person but also a lawyer and an author. She is the co-founder and CEO of United Therapeutics. United Therapeutics is an American biotechnology company that aims to develop life-extending technologies. Before United Therapeutics, Rothblatt has also served as a CEO of GeoStar and was also the creator of SiriusXM. In 2018, she was considered to be one of the tops most earning CEO in the biopharmaceutical industry. Moreover, she was also recognized as one of the most powerful LGBT+ in the tech industry in 2019. Not only she has been a strong supporter of LGBT+ but has also publicly opposed the Public Facilities Privacy & Security Act due to its controversial nature.
Mila Supinskaya Glashchenko/Shutterstock.com
7. Bupa Global & UK
Name of CEO: David Hynam
Total revenue of the company in 2019: $ 4.5 billion
Bupa Global & UK is a premium international private medical insurance company that was established in 1947. David Hynam joined Bupa in 2014 and served as Transformation Director. He became the CEO of Bupa Global & UK in 2016 and is accountable for both Bupa’s the UK and Global business. Before Bupa, he was also part of Friends Life, a life insurance organization that was defunct in 2018. At Friends Life, he served as a COO and then later as a CEO.
6. Land O’Lakes
Name of CEO: Beth Ford
Total revenue of the company in 2019: $14 B
Beth Ford became the CEO of Land O’Lakes in 2018 and is the first openly-gay female CEO of a company that is a part of Fortune 500. She is also married to Jill Schurtz, who is also a successful businessperson just like Ford, and a CEO of the St. Paul’s Teachers' Retirement Fund Association. In 2020 she was listed in ‘Fortune Most Powerful Women List’ for the third time. Moreover, over the career span of 34 years, she has been a part of a total of six industries and has worked at seven companies.
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Disclosure: No position. 12 biggest companies with gay CEOs is originally published at Insider Monkey.