When Corie Barry was named the new CEO of Best Buy on April 15, her route to the top drew attention as a promising career path up through the glass ceiling. Barry had been the Minnesota-based company’s chief financial officer (CFO), a post increasingly occupied by women.
The number of female CFOs among the S&P 500 and Fortune 500 rose to 84 last year, an all time high, reported Bloomberg, calling Barry’s promotion “a positive sign for the rising number of women who are taking on finance jobs at the largest U.S. companies.”
The number of women CEOs among the Fortune 500 has been rising steadily and reached an all-time high of 32 in 2017, but slid back to 24 last year.
Barry, 44, takes over from Hubert Joly, 59, who is credited with rescuing the company during his seven-year tenure, a time of massive disruption in the retail industry.
Barry, who led the company’s pivot into services, including tech help for consumers, will face the challenge of keeping that momentum going. “There’s no room for mediocrity in retail,” she said in a call with reporters. “Anytime it’s easier to do something digital—whether that’s booking a plane ticket or purchasing a TV—your expectations as a customer are constantly rising.”
Not long after Barry’s promotion was announced, the largest U.S. banking company, JPMorgan Chase, announced the elevation of two women to top positions. Marianne Lake, currently the bank’s CFO, was promoted to CEO of the bank’s consumer-lending operations, while Jennifer Piepszak was promoted to CFO.
“For years, Lake’s name has come up as a potential successor to the company’s current CEO Jamie Dimon, which would make her the first female chief executive officer of a U.S. bank,” reported Forbes. Piepszak’s promotion, meanwhile, adds another potential contender to that succession race.