Marvin Ellison and Michael Strahan
Source: Getty

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

Kathryn Underwood - Author

Feb. 25 2021, Published 3:03 p.m. ET

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.  

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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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Ellison's vision for Lowe's

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 last year 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 four Black CEOs in Fortune 500 companies.  

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.  

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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Lowe's outlook

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 January 29, 2021, with a EPS of $1.32. The same period a year 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. 

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Home Depot doesn't own Lowe’s

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.  

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 all of Ace’s over 5,000 locations in the U.S. 


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