Roz Brewer – America’s Only Black Woman Fortune 500 CEO


Feb. 5 2021, Published 2:20 a.m. ET

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Currently serving as the Chief Operating Officer (COO) of Starbucks, Rosalind “Roz” Brewer will be departing her position there to take over the role of CEO of Walgreens. As you takes on the new role at the end of February, she will be the only Black woman currently serving as a Fortune 500 CEO and only the third Black woman in Fortune 500 history to hold such a position.

Brewer Being Paid Her Worth

Brewer began her career as a scientist, which helps to fit her for the new role with Walgreens, which is leading the way in administering the COVID-19 vaccines.

Brewer will receive a one-time cash bonus of $4.5 million, a signing bonus of $20.2 million in Walgreens stock as a long-term incentive that fully vests in three years, and will receive a $1.5 million base salary with the possibility of annual performance bonuses of up to 200% of her eligible earnings.

A seasoned executive who launched her career as a scientist, Brewer will be charged with navigating the company through financial difficulties during the COVID-19 pandemic, as Walgreens takes a leading role in administering the vaccine.

Brewer will receive a one-time cash bonus of $4.5 million, which is subject to repayment if she leaves without “good reason” or is terminated for cause within two years, the filing said.

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Brewer Speaks Openly About The Bias She’s Faced

Before transferring to the role at Starbucks, Brewer was the CEO of Sam’s Club, which is owned by Walmart, for five years. Since that time until the present, Brewer has continued to make an impact at this level both for the companies she has worked with and for women and people of color.

She’s openly spoken on the bias she’s faced as one of the few Black women at the Chief level of Fortune 500 companies. In 2018 she gave a speech at her alma mater Spelman College, saying, “When you’re a Black woman, you get mistaken a lot. You get mistaken as someone who could actually not have that top job. Sometimes you’re mistaken for kitchen help. Sometimes people assume you’re in the wrong place, and all I can think in the back of my head is, ‘No, you’re in the wrong place.’”

Repeatedly, Brewer has experienced these kinds of expectations. She’s served as keynote speaker for events exclusively for CEOs and been named as No. 48 on the Forbes 2020 Power Women list, among other things. Yet she says, “If there is a place where bias doesn’t exist, I have not found it.”

Because of this disparity and disrespect of being “mistaken” thanks to bias and discrimination in the workplace, Brewer offers this message to women in business, “stay steadfast” and know that “your voice matters.”

In a Facebook interview in December 2020, she notes, “You’re going to get it wrong sometimes, and there are some ways to clean up your mistakes. First of all, admit that you made the mistake. But keep using your voice.”

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By: Rita Pike

Rita Juanita Pike is the granddaughter of Jerrie Mock, the first woman to pilot an airplane around the world. Rita has taken inspiration from her grandmother’s life and flight and pursued many of her own dreams in theater, podcasting, and novel writing. She now writes about travel, pets, faith, and the arts. She’s happily married to Matt, and faithfully serves a very fluffy kitten queen, Lady Stardust.

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