Spelman Grad, Walgreens CEO Roz Brewer named highest paid Black Female CEO
If you hear glass shattering, it is from the ceiling that Roz Brewer just broke.
A new Equilar study has named Spelman grad and Walgreens Boots Alliance CEO Rosalind “Roz” Brewer as the highest-paid female chief executive in the country.
Brewer is one of two Black female CEOs that run Fortune 500 companies in the U.S.
In 2021, Walgreens Boots Alliance appointed Brewer its CEO, making her the only Black woman at the helm of an S&P 500 company.
Based on her expertise and leadership, Brewer was granted a $28.3 million compensation and $20.2 million in stocks, according to CNBC. The Equilar study listed her as the 14th highest-paid chief executive in the country.
In addition to being educated at what is widely recognized as the global leader in the education of women of African descent, Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia, Brewer gained immeasurable experience from her previous top roles as CEO at Sam’s Club and Walmart. She also served as Chief Operating Officer of Starbucks before settling in as CEO of Walgreens.
In describing her rise, Brewer said it’s best to start from a learning perspective before vying for a leadership position. She explained that she worked at the drive-thru at Starbucks and studied Walmart trucking logistics. “I was willing to take a step down to go much further, and then that’s when my career began to really explode. I was in a learning mode, but I took a step back to get ahead.”
Even though she has achieved this level of success, Brewer says she is often overlooked and questioned about her position. During an interview with the Today Show, she told host Hoda Kotb of an event she attended – a private meeting specifically for CEOs. One person in attendance had a hard time wrapping his brain around Brewer’s position. In her own words. Brewer said the following:
“I’M NOT THE PERSON THAT WILL WALK IN A ROOM AND TELL YOU MY TITLE, RIGHT? I’M JUST NOT THAT PERSON,” SHE MODESTLY SAYS TO TODAY IN A SIT-DOWN INTERVIEW IN 2021.
“BUT WHEN I’M IN THE ROOM WITH LIKE-MINDED PEOPLE, I WOULD JUST ASSUME THAT YOU WOULD THINK THAT I SHOULD BE HERE AT LEAST AT THIS POINT IN MY LIFE…I REFER OFTEN TO A SITUATION WHERE I WAS AT A MEETING JUST FOR CEOS, RIGHT, PRIVATE ATTENDANCE, UNDER 25 PEOPLE, AND I HAD ONE GENTLEMAN ASKED ME CONSTANTLY WHAT DID I DO FOR A LIVING, ALMOST LIKE ‘WHY ARE YOU HERE?’”
She recalls the man asking her up to 20 questions to pinpoint her actual position.
“IN MANY TIMES, YOU KNOW, I JUST FIND THAT WE ARE STILL SO UNDERREPRESENTED IN SO MANY DIFFERENT PLACES,” SAYS BREWER.
Based on their revenue filed by March 31, 2021, Equilar conducted a study of 100 of the largest companies, which helped the company determine how the private sector is improving for women seeking to enter the C-Suite status.
There are nine female CEOs but none of them broke the glass ceiling of the exclusive list of the highest-paid CEOs, according to CNBC.
The top-paid CEOs for 2021 include Intel’s Patrick Gelsinger (a $177.9 million salary and $170 million of that amount in company stocks and options), Number 2 – Apple CEO Tim Cook (a $98.7 million salary and $82.3 million locked in Apple stocks).
The women on the list were evaluated based on salary, stock, and options award packages.
Brewer enjoys the rank of CEO with three other Black women. Ursula M. Burns, the former CEO of Xerox. Thasunda Brown Duckett, the President
and Chief Executive Officer of TIAA, and Oprah Winfrey, CEO of OWN: Oprah Winfrey Network.
Other notes about Brewer’s career:
- In 2019, she became the only Black woman to sit on Amazon’s board.
- As Starbucks’ COO from 2017 to 2021, she implemented policy changes and racial bias training for employees in more than 8,000 stores.
- Before Starbucks, Brewer was CEO of Sam’s Club which she helped bring into the modern day with services such as advance online ordering of groceries.
- The daughter of assembly line workers at GM, she was a first generation college student who started her career as a chemist at Kimberly-Clark.
- She is a Spelman Alumna and Board Trustees Chair.
- She was named by Forbes Magazine to the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.
- She resides in Atlanta, Georgia with her family.