The departure of Dick Parsons from Time Warner and Stan O'Neal from Merrill Lynch has reduced the already sparse population of African-American CEOs running Fortune 500 companies to an extremely paltry four, reports AP. CEOs of any color have a short shelf life, and the small numbers of black chiefs can make two resignations look like an overwhelming trend.
But the trend is eventually heading upward, according to the editor of Black Enterprise magazine, who expects the number of black CEOs to double in the next 20 years. That still-unimpressive result reflects the sometimes unfriendly conditions African-American executives continue to encounter in business. "The indicia of power in corporate America is still white and male," said an author who has studied the stats. (Read more Merrill Lynch stories.)