Business and Commerce

Corporate America

Who was the first African American woman to head a major corporation?

Corporate executive Ann M. Fudge (1951–) became the first African-American woman to head a major company, when she was appointed president of the Maxwell House Coffee division of Kraft General Foods in 1994. Her success in corporate America began in 1977 when Fudge joined Minneapolis-based General Mills Company and, in 1978, was named assistant product manager. Four years later she was made product manager with responsibility for four brands. Honey Nut Cheerios was developed under her leadership and became one of the division’s top performers.

Kenneth C. Frazier, president and CEO of pharmaceutical giant Merck & Co., is seen here at the 2012 World Economic Forum on Africa in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia.


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