Nine Black CEOs now lead Fortune 500 companies, setting a new record just weeks after Fortune marked eight earlier this month.
On Monday, Dave Bozeman became CEO of transportation and logistics company C.H. Robinson. Bozeman joins from Ford Motor, where he served as vice president of its customer services division and Ford Blue’s enthusiast vehicles unit for less than a year. Before that, he served as vice president of Amazon’s transportation services for over five years, leading supply chain optimization for customer delivery across the e-commerce giant’s global operations. There, he was instrumental in building its middle-mile global transportation network.
“I couldn’t be more excited about working with the incredible Robinson team as we embark on this next chapter of growth and success together. We will be building on a strong existing foundation, and the sky is the limit,” Bozeman wrote on LinkedIn following the announcement of his CEO appointment in early June.
Bozeman’s addition to the exclusive cohort of Black Fortune 500 chief executives is an optimistic sign that companies appear committed to increasing diversity in their highest ranks. Still, Black professionals only make up 1.8% of Fortune 500 CEOs—a far cry from the 56 additional corner office spots needed to reach parity with Black America’s 13% labor force participation rate.
“There are a plethora of talented, qualified, extraordinary leaders who happen to be Black. It’s never a surprise when they advance to the C-suite, or even to the CEO position,” Laura Morgan Roberts, an associate professor of business administration at the University of Virginia’s Darden School of Business, told Fortune earlier this month. “It says more about the company’s and the board of directors’ ability to recognize, develop, and advance talent from all backgrounds than it says about the representation of leaders themselves.”
Bozeman joins C.H. Robinson during a tumultuous period. The Eden Prairie, Minn.-based company has faced declining revenue amid waning demand for transportation services, resulting in two rounds of layoffs since November 2022. It’s also in an ongoing fight with activist investor Ancora Holdings Group, which has pressured the company to sell off its international freight forwarding unit. The company ousted former CEO Bob Biesterfeld in early January, while board chairman Scott Anderson stepped in to serve as interim CEO.
C.H. Robinson ranked at No. 160 on this year’s Fortune 500 list, dropping from No. 154 in 2022. It brought in $24.6 billion in revenue in its last fiscal year.
Reactions to Bozeman’s appointment have been mixed. Shares fell 5.3% after his appointment was first reported in early June, but some industry experts have suggested his experience at Amazon and industry-outsider status may help the company out of its slump. For his part, Bozeman told the Wall Street Journal that shareholders and activists would “say it’s the right company, with the right leader, at the right time” once they better understand his experience in “driving scale and building teams” and start seeing results.
Read the full article here