Lowe's CEO Marvin Ellison Is One of Only Six Black Fortune 500 CEOs Currently

Lowe's CEO Marvin Ellison is one of only six Black Fortune 500 company CEOs, though he doesn't own Lowe's. Is Lowe's a Black-owned company?

Kathryn Underwood - Author

Jan. 27 2023, Updated 3:59 p.m. ET

Marvin Ellison and Michael Strahan
Source: Getty

Marvin Ellison (left) and Michael Strahan (right)

Lowe’s Companies Inc. is a publicly-traded company on the NYSE listed under the ticker symbol "LOW." Lowe's is led by Marvin Ellison, a Black man who took over as the CEO in 2018, and has remained in the position since.

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Ellison grew up in a segregated Southern community to parents who were sharecroppers. His successful career spans over 35 years in leadership and executive roles in retail companies including 15 years at Target and 12 years in a senior operations roles at Home Depot.

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What are Marvin Ellison's visions for Lowes?

In his time at Lowe’s, Ellison has increased diversity within the company by hiring more minorities in executive roles. The company also offered $25 million in grants for minority-owned businesses in 2020 to assist them in reopening and overall COVID-19 pandemic recovery.

Later, the grant amount increased to $30 million and another $25 million for small businesses in rural communities for a total of $55 million pledged to help small and minority-owned businesses.  

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Is Lowe’s a Black-owned company?

Ellison doesn't own Lowe’s, although he has been the CEO of the corporation since 2018. Currently, Ellison is one of only six Black CEOs in Fortune 500 companies. They include Ron Brewer, David Rawlinson, Robert Reffkin, Frank Clyburn, and Thasunda Brown Duckett.

Lowe's was founded by L.S. Lowe in 1921 and his son, Jim Lowe took over the company in 1940. Lowe and his brother-in-law Carl Buchan co-owned Lowe's from 1943 to 1952. Buchan became the sole owner of the company in 1952 and kept the company's name intact.

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According to Fortune, only 19 Black CEOs have led Fortune 500 companies (out of 1,800 in all) in the entire history of the listing. Ellison is the only Black person to have served as CEO of two different companies on the Fortune 500.

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At a virtual event hosted by the National Retail Federation in 2020, Ellison remarked on his belief that CEOs need to fight racism through more action and not only in their words. In that speech, reported by CNBC, he said, “As a Black man in America, this is mentally exhausting that in 2020, we’re still discussing racial injustice.”  

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When Ellison arrived at Lowe’s, there were only eight Black employees at or above a vice-president level. Through his commitment to improve diversity, Lowe’s now has two Black executive vice presidents, two Black senior vice presidents, and 11 Black vice presidents. Also, several top executive roles are now held by women. 

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How profitable is Lowe's?

CFO Dave Denton said in December 2020 that he expected company sales to decline in 2021. The shift would be largely due to many people getting COVID-19 vaccinations and venturing outside the home more frequently.  

Lowe’s reported $978 million in net earnings for the quarter ending Jan. 29, 2021, with a EPS of $1.32. The same period two years ago brought $509 million in net earnings with a diluted EPS of $0.66. The total sales for the fourth quarter of 2020 were $20.3 billion, which beat the sales from the same period in 2019 at $16 billion.

Lowe's has continued to show its resilience, even through the height of the pandemic. In November 2022, the company reported that it had $23.5 billion in sales for quarter three of 2022.

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Does Home Depot own Lowe's?

The Home Depot isn't an owner or parent company of Lowe’s. Home Depot and Lowe’s have been competitors in the home-improvement space for a long time. Home Depot was founded by Bernie Marcus and Arthur Blank in 1978. Today, it is a public company that trades on the the NYSE under the ticker symbol "HD."

Does Lowe’s own Ace Hardware?

No, Lowe’s doesn't own Ace Hardware. Ace Hardware is the world’s largest hardware retailers’ cooperative, based in Oak Brook, Ill. Local Ace retail entrepreneurs independently own and operate most of Ace’s 5,000+ locations in the U.S. Ace Hardware was founded by E. Lindquist, Frank Burke, Oscar Fisher, Richard Hesse and William Stauber founded Ace Hardware

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