Closing The Gap

Clorox names Linda Rendle as its next CEO, bringing the number of Fortune 500 women leaders to a record 38

Clorox's next CEO Linda Rendle.
Photo credit: Clorox

Clorox announced Monday that its current president, Linda Rendle, will be stepping into the CEO seat effective Sept. 14. With this new appointment, Rendle, who will replace current CEO Benno Dorer, will bring the total number of women running Fortune 500 firms to a record high of 38, reports Fortune

In her current role as president, Rendle oversees all of the cleaning company's corporate and business development plans, as well as its five global functions including marketing, sales, product supply, information technology and research and development. Before becoming president in May 2020, Rendle held several leadership positions at Clorox including vice president of sales and executive vice president of various divisions within the company. Prior to joining Clorox in 2003, the 42-year-old worked for Procter & Gamble where she held several sales management positions in the Boston and Charlotte markets.

Rendle, who graduated from Harvard University with a bachelor's in economics, will take over Clorox during a time when demand for the company's disinfecting products has surged due to the pandemic and shareholder return has more than doubled. In her 17-year tenure with the company, Rendle, who says she's "thrilled" to lead Clorox, has received significant praise for her work ethic and leadership not only as president, but also as a leader who helped to spearhead the company's IGNITE strategy, which is an initiative focused on putting environmental, social and governance priorities at the forefront of the company's decision-making.

"I'm delighted that our dedication to thoughtful, long-term succession planning positioned us to appoint such a strong and capable leader as Linda Rendle to the CEO role," Pamela Thomas-Graham, lead independent director of the board, said in a statement. "Linda will be an excellent CEO, building on her track record of outstanding business results, her strong oversight of the development of the company's IGNITE strategy and her values-led leadership."

Rendle, who will also be elected to the company's board of directors, joins an elite group of women who are running corporate America's top firms. Though her addition to the Fortune 500 group will bring the number of women CEOs to a record high, Rendle's appointment also indicates how much further there is to go before gender parity is reached. 

Right now, women make up less than 8% of the leaders on the Fortune 500 list, and none of those women are Black or Latina. When looking at the overall C-suite, women comprise only a fifth of these roles despite making up nearly half of the entry-level workforce. 

Lorraine Hariton, president and CEO of Catalyst, a global nonprofit that works to accelerate women into leadership positions, told CNBC Make It earlier this year that though we've seen an "incremental victory" in the increased number of women running Fortune 500 firms, there is still much more work that needs to be done to "create more equitable, inclusive and fulfilling opportunities and workplaces for everyone."

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