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CVS will be the largest Fortune 500 company led by a woman

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Story at a glance

  • Karen Lynch will take over for current CEO Larry Merlo on Feb. 1.
  • CVS Health is ranked fifth on the Fortune 500 list, behind Apple, Exxon Mobil, Amazon and Walmart — companies all led by men.
  • She will join 39 other women on the Fortune 500 CEO list.

Pharmacy giant CVS Health is set to become the largest Fortune 500 company to be led by a woman. 

CVS announced on Friday that Karen Lynch, executive vice president at CVS Health and president of its Aetna health insurance subsidiary, has been named as the company’s next president and CEO. 


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Lynch, 57, will take over for current CEO Larry Merlo, who is retiring from the role, on Feb. 1, 2021. 

“I am deeply honored to have the opportunity to succeed Larry and lead CVS Health on the next phase of our important journey to meet America’s health care needs,” Lynch said in a statement. “I am highly confident about our company’s future and look forward to further accelerating the value we bring to all of our stakeholders.”

CVS Health is ranked fifth on the Fortune 500 list, behind Apple, Exxon Mobil, Amazon and Walmart — companies all led by men. 

She will join 39 other women on the Fortune 500 CEO list, including General Motors CEO Mary Barra, who is currently the highest ranking woman on the list. General Motors ranks 40th. 

Lynch has been named in Business Insider’s Top 100 People Transforming Business and from 2016 to 2020, she was named in Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business List. 

While the number of women leading large corporations has been increasing in recent years, they still make up only about 8 percent of the Fortune 500 CEO list.


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