10 must-know women CEOs

10 women CEOs you need to know about

If I asked you how many women CEOs there are in the UK's top 100 companies, what would your answer be? 30? Too high? How about 15?

Wrong. It's eight.

In 2021, the Cranfield School of Management reported that only eight of the FTSE 100 companies had a woman as CEO. Things are a little more promising across the pond, with 15% of CEOs at Fortune 500 companies being female, but it's still an alarmingly low number.

Women CEOs are increasing, but if we're being realistic, growth has been slow. 20 years ago 1.4% of CEOs were women in the Fortune 500.

Today, we're introducing you to some absolute powerhouse CEOs, if you're not aware of them already. So, coming in first on our list…

1. Whitney Wolfe Herd: Bumble

The world's youngest self-made woman billionaire, as well as the youngest female CEO to take a company public. Introductions don't come better than that.

If you don't recognise the name, you'll know the companies she's built. As the Vice President of Marketing at Tinder, she was credited with naming the app in addition to fuelling its popularity.

In 2014, tensions grew between company Tinder executives and Wolfe Herd over sexual harassment, job title issues and derogatory texts by her previous boss and boyfriend. After suing Tinder, she settled for $1 million according to Forbes.

You'd think that'd be enough for anyone to deal with, but oh no. Wolfe by name, wolf by nature – she didn’t back down. 

She founded Bumble in 2014 which, like Tinder, is a dating app. Only, there's a little more focus on women. If two profiles match then the woman has 24 hours to send a message, otherwise the match disappears.

Bumble is less than 10 years old and is already a billion dollar brand. With Wolfe Herd leading the pack, it's likely the company will continue to conquer dating app market share.

2. Susan Wojcicki: YouTube

YouTube logo

Remember when Google took over YouTube? Well, you've got Wojcikci to thank for that.

As one of the founding team members of Google, Wojcicki was the first Marketing Manager in 1999. Google Images and Google Doodles (when Google's homepage temporarily changes to a seasonal holiday) were just two of the projects she co-created in the early days.

Seven years into her role, she noticed that YouTube may have potential for Google. Google acquired YouTube as a way to integrate video content into their brand. This was a natural step given the success they had with Google Images.

In 2014, Wojcicki became the CEO of YouTube and was deemed to be the most important person in advertising. Time also regarded her as the most powerful woman on the internet thanks to two of her most notable accomplishments:

  1.  YouTube reaching 2 billion active users per month

  2.  YouTube amassing over one billion hours of watch time per day

YouTube has played a significant role in developing the content creator economy, and much of that is thanks to Wojcicki's focus on content monetisation. In other words, she played a large part in YouTubers being able to generate a full-time income from the platform.

In 2022, she's estimated to be worth three quarters of a billion dollars.

3. Anjali Sud: Vimeo

Vimeo Logo

Carrying on the theme of video content, meet Anjali Sud, CEO of Vimeo.

She was appointed CEO after leading as the company's Head of Marketing and General Manager. Similar to Wojcicki, Sud has contributed to the way content has shaped modern day lives. 

She was made a Young Global Leader of the World Economic Forum in 2019, which sees industry leaders discuss technological changes that are changing the way we live, work and relate to one another.

In the last five years, she has been listed as The Hollywood Reporter's Next Gen: 35 Under 35 honorees, named #14 on Fortune's "2018 40 Under 40" list, and was named one of the most powerful women in business by Business Today.

4. Sallie Krawcheck: Ellevest

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Boasting a Bank of America leadership background and a previous CEO position at Citigroup, Krawcheck knows how to keep a staff force in check.

After time spent dominating the financial industry, Krawcheck turned her attention to breaking the mould in 2014 with regard to women and wealth management. She co-founded Ellevest, which brings a personalised approach to investing. Tailored goals are made and shared to each individual so members can benefit from private wealth management and money coaching.

Krawcheck has also been an active voice for women striving to break the glass ceiling in banking. She's spoken out on the wage gap that exists between men and women, as well as assumed gender roles.

As an investing app ourselves, we tip our hat to the wonderful work Krawcheck has been conjuring up at Ellevest.

5. Izzy Obeng: Foundervine

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We don’t just want to talk about  global FTSE and Fortune 500 CEOs we also want to shine a light on some CEOs at younger companies.

As Founder and CEO of Foundervine, Obeng helps future business founders find their feet.

Entrepreneurs from diverse backgrounds are encouraged to join and connect with other founders who are in a similar position. The company exists to help new founders network, grow quicker and develop leadership qualities early on.

In a time where side hustles are transforming into full-time businesses more than ever, Foundervine is catering for a growing market.

When Obeng launched Foundervine, no one was paid and everyone worked in their full-time jobs. She described themselves as "a tiny speck in the ecosystem" but with a mission to "help diverse founders build start ups from scratch."

To learn more about the people Foundervine have helped, visit their community spotlight page.

6. Fidji Simo: Instacart

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French businesswoman, Fidji Simo, co-founded Women in Product in 2016. This non-profit organisation is aimed at women in product management who want to advance their career in technology and strive for equal representation in the workplace. It's aimed at all levels and has 33,000 members and delivers over 125 events annually. Women in Product has undoubtedly become a central hub for women.

Oh, and did we forget to mention she's also leading the way as CEO for Instacard, a $14 billion technology company in North America?

Think of Instacart like Deliveroo, only for grocery shopping and not takeaways. They work with retailers to help deliver shopping to people's doors. Prior to this Fidji worked at Meta as Head of the Facebook App, VP of Video & Game and Director of Product Management. So yeah, she's certainly been there and done it!

7. Kike Oniwinde Agoro: BYP Network 

BYP Network logo

It's fair to say Kike Oniwinde Agoro is one of those people who is good at everything she tries. From representing Great Britain as a javelin thrower, to blitzing her academics with straight As, she certainly has bags of skills. Her greatest skill though? Some might argue it's spotting the skills in others.

As Founder and CEO at BYP Network, Oniwinde Agoro helps businesses diversify their talent pool by tapping into the black professional community. She empowers black professionals to connect with each other, network and attend events where they can learn about new opportunities in the business world. Her mission is to change the black narrative and has built a 150,000 plus strong community and delivers over 50 events annually.

From leadership conferences, to shining light on some of the finest black healthcare professionals, the BYP Network knows how to deliver an event.

There's also an opportunities section that lists job openings in industries such as engineering, tech and sport. As a brand heavy on community ourselves, it's great to see the BYP Network continuing to grow.

8. Ayesha Ofori: Black Property Network

Black Property Network logo

After studying an MSci from Imperial College London, completing an MBA at London Business School and then working for Goldman Sachs as a Private Wealth Adviser to ultra-high net worth individuals, Ofori has an extremely decorated background.

The secret to Ofori's early success? Hard work. Ofori's mother, a nurse and social worker, installed a strong work ethic and highlighted the importance of education. Whilst it's clear these qualities shone through, Ofori had a desire to pass these teachings on through the Black Property Network after resigning from Goldman Sachs in 2018.

Ofori said she started BPN due to a lack of financial literacy and limited education.

"Financial literacy isn't taught at schools, but there is often a knowledge gap within black society that perpetuates through generations and which can lead to poor decisions being made, which in turn can cause unnecessary poverty or criminality in pursuit of wealth. There is an alternative to this and BPN wants to be part of the solution and part of the national discussion to progress the black community."

There's three courses at BPN - 'the first time buyer', 'the semi-seasoned investor' or 'advanced participant'.

The core mission is to use property as a tool to promote financial, educational and mental well-being within the black community. BPN do this by bringing members inspiration, education, facilitation and wealth creation.​

9. Leena Nair: Chanel

Chanel logo

We're finishing the last two with how we started - with some global names. And it's harder to get any more global than Chanel.

British-Indian businesswoman, Leena Nair, joined Chanel as CEO at the start of 2022 and still acts as a Non-Executive Board Member for BT.

She started at Unilever in 1992 and was one of the few female managers in the factories, where she had a 30-year-long career. She started her career there as a Management Trainee - don't let anyone tell you that you can't work your way to the top, few exemplify this better than Nair! In 2016, Nair was named the first Asian and youngest ever Chief Human Resources Manager of Unilever. 

If you want to check out her journey from Trainee to CEO, her LinkedIn page has a very detailed summary.

Nai studied engineering before management. But, her college professor told her she'd make a 'lousy engineer' and should explore management as she likes being with people. Tough advice at the time? Perhaps. Did it pay off? Absolutely. 

10. Lynsi Synder: In-N-Out Burger

We did say we'd finish how we started – and we meant it. We've even included another video for this one.

Lyndsi Synder, CEO of In-N-Out Burger, has one of the craziest stories you'll ever hear in the world of business.

Four husbands, two close call kidnappings and a billion dollar burger empire – this is a woman who I'd feel extremely boring playing Never Have I Ever with.

Synder was nearly abducted when she was 17 and again at 24 in a "van with boarded-up windows." The first attempt took place when she was still at school in Shingletown. The second happened a few years later in Baldwin Park, near one of In-N-Out's distribution centres. Understandably, Synder has tried to avoid heavy media attention since. Although, she has said these incidents have "helped mould me into who I am now".

The In-N-Out CEO is estimated to have a net worth of $4.2 billion. Right, I think I'm ready to almost be kidnapped and learn what it takes to become a billionaire.

What's next?

The number of women in leadership roles is changing, but the growth is slow. What do you think can be done to completely normalise women in the top jobs?

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Meet the authors

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James Ashoo

Senior Content Writer

James has been investing for over five years. His aim is to explain the hard stuff, easily! When he's not chewing your ear off about stocks and crypto, he'll most likely be telling bad jokes.

Harjas Singh

Harjas Singh

Chief Product Officer & Co-Founder

With a wealth of experience in fintech, Harjas is the man in the know when it comes to all things product. Investing features, chatting capabilities and thriving communities – he oversees all development on the Shares app!

Harry Harrison

Harry Harrison

Finance Writer

Harry is an experienced business writer, with a love for all things tech. In his free time, he enjoys reading, playing sport and winning at chess. He also loves posting inside the Shares app!