The 23 most powerful LGBT executives in the world

Still a work in progress

Position of power
Inga Beale, CEO of major insurance firm Lloyd's of London, is considered one of the most powerful executives in the world.

And since she is openly bisexual, she uses her position of power to lobby for equality for the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community in the workplace.

On Friday, she told delegates at the Stonewall Workplace Conference that LGBT inclusion is "still a work in progress" in Britain.

But there are a number of other LGBT executives that OUTstanding, the networking group, considers incredibly powerful and who are poised to make a difference in the corporate world.

OUTstanding lists 100 people who it thinks challenges the presumption that you can't be openly LGBT and successful in business.

"Those featured are an inspiration to anyone who fears that they may have to be closeted at work, and waste valuable effort muting their authentic selves," said Suki Sandhu, chief executive of OUTstanding.

But Apple's CEO, Tim Cook, was notably missing. OUTstanding said that it was forced to omit him because it was unable to gain permission for him to be included in the list.

No. 23. Brian Bickell, CEO of Shaftesbury

Bickell heads the FTSE 350 Real Estate Investment Trust and is also a board member of Freehold, the LGBT group for real-estate professionals. He is a member of Property Week's Open Plan diversity panel and an ambassador for gay charity Stonewall.

No. 22. Andrew Swaffield, CEO of Monarch Airlines Group

Swaffield was given the accolade for being in charge of one of the major business success stories of the past year, as well as talking openly about his sexuality. He restructured Monarch, which is projected to turn around a profit of 100 million pounds ($155 million) this year from a 94 million-pound ($146 million) loss.

No. 21. David Furnish, CEO of Rocket Entertainment Group

Furnish and Sir Elton John.

Furnish gained a lot of power after becoming legendary musician Elton John's partner, and he used his influence and position at Rocket Entertainment Group to champion LGBT rights in a number of ways. This included pushing for marriage equality. Furnish and John became one of the first gay couples in Britain to get a civil partnership.

No. 20. Stephen Clarke, CEO at WH Smith

Clarke, speaking to OUTstanding, said: WH Smith adopts a clear results-driven culture, where individuals succeed on merit alone irrelevant of sex, age, disability or sexual orientation. Openly gay people are therefore promoted on merit every bit as much as everyone else. As a result, being gay at WH Smith is simply not an issue.

No. 19. Alex Schultz, VP of growth at Facebook

Schultz leads growth marketing, analytics, and internationalisation for Facebook and is involved with the group's LGBT product initiatives. He joined the company in 2007 and is also active in Facebook's LGBT employee-resource group.

No. 18. Paul Wood, chief risk and compliance officer at Bloomberg

Wood is not only one of the most senior employees at Bloomberg, but he also takes time to mentor LGBT staff and has spoken at a number of events, panels, and conferences about being an openly LGBT leader in business. He was awarded an MBE in 1995.

No. 17. Trevor Burgess, president and CEO of C1 Financial

Burgess heads one of the 20 largest banks headquartered in Florida. In 2006, at 34, Burgess became one of the first openly gay investment bankers at Morgan Stanley to be promoted to managing director and then, in 2014, became the first openly gay CEO of a publicly traded bank in the US.

No. 16. Jan Gooding, group brand director at Aviva

Gooding is one of the most senior directors at Aviva Group. Not only is she responsible for the leadership, oversight, and governance of brand and marketing strategy worldwide, but she is also a sponsor of the LGBT employee network Aviva Pride and was elected chair of trustees of Stonewall in May of last year.

No. 15. Louis Vega, chief of staff, office of the chairman and CEO and VP of Olympic and sports solutions at The Dow Chemical Co.

Vega is one of the most senior executives at the Dow group and works with most of the country's senior leaders as part of his chief of staff role. He also advocates workforce equality and represents Dow's Gays, Lesbians & Allies at Dow (GLAD) employee network as management sponsor.

No. 14. Jason Grenfell-Gardner, president and CEO at IGI Laboratories

Grenfell-Gardner was until recently the only openly gay CEO of a public company in the US. He has consistently made sure that his workplaces are welcoming to the LGBT community and installed corporate nondiscrimination policies and health and family benefits.

No. 13. Arjan Dijk, VP of marketing at Google

Dijk is one of the executives who manages a large international team across 43 countries. He is also one of the most influential LGBT advocates as part of his role as global executive sponsor of Google's LGBT employee-resource group, dubbed the "Gayglers." OUTstanding noted that under Dijk's direct leadership, Google released a form of advertising that had a global impact: It was of a story of a transgender person.

No. 12. Joseph Evangelisti, chief communications officer for JPMorgan Chase

Evangelisti reports directly to CEO Jamie Dimon at one of the world's largest investment banks. He has the hard task of heading all media relations and corporate communications worldwide for JPM as well as playing a key role in the company's Global Diversity Initiative.

No. 11. Liz Bingham, most senior LGBT partner in the UK and Ireland firm EY

Bingham is the most senior LGBT partner in the UK and Ireland accountancy firm of EY. She is an influential advocate of LGBT rights inside and outside work. She was awarded an OBE for her work in developing LGBT equality in the workplace this year.

No. 10. Sander van 't Noordende, group chief executive of products for Accenture

Van 't Noordende is a major employer, with 9,000 employees under his watch. He has also been out since he first started at Accenture in 1987. He is seen as a role model because he is involved in expanding the company's LGBT networks around the globe.

No. 9. Anthony Watson, president and CEO of Uphold

Watson became the first British citizen and first non-American citizen to be appointed to the board of directors of GLAAD, the world's largest LGBT media-rights advocacy organization, in October 2013.

No. 8. Christopher Bailey, chief creative and chief executive officer of Burberry

Bailey is responsible for over 11,000 employees at the iconic British fashion brand Burberry. He has won various fashion accolades, including Menswear Designer of the Year at the British Fashion Awards, and is a vocal supporter of LGBT rights and equality.

No. 7. Beth Brooke-Marciniak, global vice chair of public policy for EY

Brooke-Marciniak is seen as a champion for LGBT issues after she came out in an "It Gets Better" video in 2011. She has spoken at a number of events related to LGBT rights and has also been named as one of the World's 100 Most Powerful Women eight times by Forbes.

No. 6. Paul Reed, CEO of the integrated supply and trading division at BP

Reed is the executive sponsor of BP's Pride Affinity Network and, according to charity Stonewall, this enabled BP to rise up the rankings from 250th to 22nd in the Stonewall Workplace Equality Index.

No. 5. Claudia Brind-Woody, VP and managing director at IBM

Brind-Woody is one of the most senior executives in one of the world's largest companies: IBM. She is also the global cochair for the IBM LGBT Executive Task Force. Her work in creating a number of successful initiatives to promote best practice at companies concerning LGBT rights has been shared and replicated across the world across corporations and sponsors 41 diversity-network groups across 30 countries.

No. 4. Martine Rothblatt, co-CEO of the United Therapeutics Corp.

Rothblatt is the joint leader at a $3 billion biotech company. She is an openly transgender leader who has extensively talked about her transition to raise awareness. She also authored the book "Apartheid of Sex: A Manifesto on the Freedom of Gender."

No. 3. Antonio Simoes, CEO of HSBC Bank

Simoes, a former Goldman Sachs banker, was awarded the 2013 OUTstanding LGBT Role Model of the Year Award. He has spoken publicly about "diversity and authenticity, linking this to his leadership experience of being an out gay man in banking," said OUTstanding.

No. 2. Alan Joyce, CEO of Qantas

Joyce became the leader of Qantas in 2008 and, under his watch, the group became one of the first companies to officially support Australian marriage equality.

No. 1. Inga Beale, CEO of Lloyd's of London

Beale, in 2014, became the first female CEO in the insurer's 327-year history. She is also openly bisexual and has been instrumental in the launch of Pride@Lloyd's, an internal LGBT employee-resource group.


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