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9 Black Business Leaders of Billion-Dollar Operations You Probably Don’t Know


Janice Bryant Howroyd — Act•1 Group

Oprah Winfrey may be the first Black female self-made billionaire, but Janice Bryant Howroyd, CEO of Act•1 Group, is the first Black woman to own a billion-dollar company, with $1.4 billion in revenue in 2010. Over the last 30 years, Bryant Howroyd has steered her Torrence, Calif., based-company through turbulent economic climates to emerge as a leader in the $120 billion staffing industry.

In 1978, Bryant Howroyd started Act•1 Personnel Services as a single-office operation that evolved into the ACT•1 Group, an expansive global operation that today employs more than 1,300 people in 240 satellite offices in the U.S. and eight other countries, offering services from employee background checks to executive travel management. This growth has earned ACT•1 the distinction of being the largest woman-minority-owned employment agency in the United States.


Don Thompson — McDonald’s

As president and chief executive officer of McDonald’s Corp., Don Thompson leads the world’s largest food-service company. McDonald’s serves 69 million customers every day in 118 countries and employs 1.8 million people across the globe in corporate and restaurant positions.

During his 23 years at McDonald’s, Thompson has helped drive business results and global strategic innovation across the organization. Since joining as an electrical engineer in 1990, he has held a variety of key leadership positions within the company. In July 2012, Thompson became president and CEO, and is leading the company on its mission to become “our customers’ favorite place and way to eat and drink.”

A true advocate of collaboration and believer in the strength of the McDonald’s, Thompson and his leadership team work closely with the 5,000 independent owner-operators, corporate staff and restaurant employees around the world as well as countless McDonald’s suppliers.

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