Today (25 Oct) the annual OUTstanding LGBT+ Role Models 2018 lists have been released to celebrate the work being done by LGBT+ business leaders and allies across the globe in both private and public sectors to promote diversity and inclusivity.

This year’s leader on the 30 LBGT+ Public Sector Executives list is Antonio Zappulla, Chief Operating Officer of Thompson Reuters Foundation. Other listers include:

  • Kevin Jennings, President and CEO of Tenement Museum
  • Dinesh Bhugra CBE, President of World Psychiatric Association
  • Lee Marshall, Chief of Staff at Church of England Pensions Board
  • Dominic Shellard, Vice Chancellor of DeMontfort University

Now in its sixth year, this year’s lists are our most international and diverse featuring role models from over 20 countries and 40 different sectors. Collectively, they represent organisations which employ nearly twelve million people around the world.

Despite the encouraging work being done by organisations across the globe, the need for LGBT+ diversity has never been so prevalent with the landscape currently showing the following:

  • In 71 countries same-sex relationships are still illegal and 10 of these countries impose the death penalty
  • Stonewall’s LGBT+ in Britain Work Report found that over a third of LGBT+ staff have hidden their sexuality at work
  • ONS statistics show nearly a quarter (23%) of LGBT+ employees have had a negative reaction in the workplace due to their sexuality

Following the UK Government’s consultation into the Gender Recognition Action closing last week and trans* rights under threat in the US, LGBT+ diversity and inclusivity has never been so topical for organisations and their employees. 

Dow Chemical Company’s CEO, Jim Fitterling and Bank of America’s Chief Operations and Technology Officer, Catherine P. Bessant lead the 2018 FT & OUTstanding LGBT+ Role Models lists 

  • The 2018 FT & OUTstanding LGBT+ Role Model lists are revealed celebrating executives in both the private and public sectors, future leaders and allies
  • Jim Fitterling, CEO, Dow Chemical Company, tops this year’s 100 LGBT+ Executives list
  • Catherine P. Bessant, Chief Operations and Technology Officer, Bank of America, leads the 50 Ally Executives list
  • Antonio Zappulla, Chief Operating Officer, Thomson Reuters Foundation leads the 30 LGBT+ Public Sector Executives list
  • Billy Kamberis, Head of Sales, Service & Performance, Barclays’ tops the 50 LGBT+ Future Leaders list
  • Our most international and diverse lists ever celebrate exceptional business leaders across the world who are committed to promoting LGBT+ diversity and inclusion in the workplace

The OUTstanding LGBT+ Role Models 2018, presented by the FT, have been announced today. The lists celebrate the work being done by LGBT+ and ally leaders across the globe in both the private and public sectors. This year, the lists feature role models from over 20 countries and 40 sectors. They represent organisations which collectively employ nearly twelve million people around the world.

100 LGBT+ Executives

Jim Fitterling, CEO, Dow Chemical Company, has ranked first in this year’s LGBT+ Executives category. The Chief Executive is currently the only openly gay CEO within the Fortune 500 after coming out to all Dow employees in 2014, 30 years after starting at the organisation. Since then, Jim has been instrumental in driving greater diversity within the company and appointed Dow’s first Chief Inclusion Officer. Stacey Friedman, General Counsel, JP Morgan Chase, earned the number two spot, whilst Peter Arvai, CEO, Prezi, came in third.

50 Ally Executives:

This list recognises the important role ally executives play by being outspoken and supporting the rights of their LGBT+ colleagues. This year, Catherine P. Bessant, Chief Operations and Technology Officer, Bank of America placed first in recognition for her role as Bank of America’s LGBT+ Pride Ally Programme Executive Sponsor. Under her leadership, the programme has globally expanded to 1,000 cities across 30 countries and now has over 25,000 members. Jose Berenguer, CEO, JP Morgan Brazil ranked second, whilst Greg Case, CEO, Aon has come in third.

30 LGBT+ Public Sector Executives

Antonio Zappulla, Chief Operating Officer, Thomson Reuters Foundation, was recognised as the top LGBT+ Public Sector Executive. Antonio recently created Openly, the world’s first platform entirely dedicated to global LGBT+ news featuring under-reported content from around the world. Stories from Openly will be distributed to all Reuters clients, reaching a daily audience of 1 billion. Kevin Jennings, President & CEO, Tenement Museum, ranked second, with Dinesh Bhugra CBE, President, British Medical Association, taking third place.

50 LGBT+ Future Leaders:

Billy Kamberis, Head of Sales, Service & Performance, Barclays, was recognised as the top LGBT+ Future Leader thanks to his work in creating the first trans* focused apprenticeship scheme at Barclays, which has since been emulated by five other firms. Billy has also worked tirelessly in his home country of Greece, campaigning and lobbying ministers and MPs to end the mandatory sterilisation of transgender people and enabling them, from the age of 15, to affirm their desired gender identity without court ruling. Alberto Pino, Customer Experience and Digital Market Place leader in Latin America, Dow Chemical Company, ranked second, whilst Joanna Walker, Customer Experience & Sustainability Manager, Virgin Money, took third place.

Suki Sandhu, Founder & CEO, INvolve, said:

“Our sixth OUTstanding lists are our most international and diverse ever. They features executives representing 21 countries around the world – from Ghana to Germany and from India to Israel. We’re so proud to see so many senior and future leaders recognised as role models for their work driving cultural change and creating environments where everyone can succeed. Everyone – regardless of gender, sexuality or ethnicity - benefits from a level playing field where people feel able to bring their whole selves to work.”

Jim Fitterling, CEO, Dow Chemical Company, says: "I am incredibly proud and grateful for this recognition and honored to be among so many inspiring leaders. Communities are made stronger through full inclusion and equal treatment for all, and Role Models are crucial in proving that being different should not be an obstacle to success. At Dow, we champion a fully inclusive workforce because we see tangible business benefits from doing so, and it’s simply the right thing to do."

Catherine P. Bessant, Chief Operations and Technology Officer at Bank of America, says: “Every day, I’m proud to work for a firm that insists on equality and opportunity.  We are stronger and better for it. The world is a better place AND we support the clients and communities we serve.  It’s smart and right and we will continue to pioneer.”

Antonio Zappulla, Chief Operating Officer, Thomson Reuters Foundation, says: “I have been asked a few times about the need for such a list: ‘Does an LGBT+ ranking really matter?’. The answer is that, yes, it does matter, and here’s why. I grew up with no LGBT+ role models. I remember fearing the implications coming out might have on my career. This fear is still very much prevalent among young professionals. The OUTstanding list is a significant step in the right direction towards encouraging widespread acceptance and inclusion. Last year, after being featured, I received hundreds of messages from people in Italy – the country where I was born – emphasising the positive impact my appearance on the list had had on them. It is for precisely this reason that lists such as this one matter.”

Billy Kamberis, Head of Sales, Service & Performance, Barclays says: “Role modelling so important in any minority group, especially in the LGBT+ community. A vast majority of us grow up with this “shame” ingrained on us for being different, so much so that we end up living lives that we think others will approve of and only just so we get validation from the society and the people close to us. When the LGBT+ student at grad school or the colleague who is in the middle of his career and has always been in the closet at work, see that there are others out there, like them, and they succeed not in spite of being LGBT+ but because they fully embrace their identity and their full selves that is a powerful nudge for them. The experience is cathartic, and by that the results are great too. And that is the importance of having a good role models in our life.”

The FT and OUTstanding Top 10 LGBT+ Executives


Full Name


Job Title


Jim Fitterling

The Dow Chemical Company

Chief Executive Officer


Stacey Friedman

JPMorgan Chase

General Counsel


Peter Arvai


CEO & Co-Founder


Stephen Jacques

Key Assets

Chief Executive


Martin Chavez

Goldman Sachs

Managing Director


Edward Enninful

British Vogue



David Hynam




Angelica Ross




Margot Slattery


Country President - Ireland


Suresh Sundararaj

Zeno Group

Managing Director, Global Business Development


The FT and OUTstanding Top 10 Ally Executives


Full Name


Job Title


Catherine Bessant

Bank of America

Chief Operations & Technology Officer


Jose Berenguer

JP Morgan Chase

CEO JP Morgan Brazil


Greg Case


President & CEO


Rekha M Menon


Chairman and Senior Managing Director India


Jean-Laurent Bonnafe

BNP Paribas



Gregg Alton


Executive Vice President, Chief Patient Officer


Mark Wilson




Larry Ryan

The Dow Chemical Company

President, Growth Platforms & Technologies


Peter Grauer




Jules Quinn

King & Spalding

Equity Partner


The FT and OUTstanding Top 10 LGBT+ Future Executives


Full Name


Job Title


Billy Kamberis


Head of Sales, Service & Performance - Corporate & Investment Banking


Alberto Pino

The Dow Chemical Company

Customer Experience and Digital Market Place leader in Latin America


Jo Walker

Virgin Money

Customer Experience & Sustainability Manager


Wally Suphap

Morgan Stanley

Vice President, Legal & Compliance Research


Anjeli Patel


Senior Consultant, People Advisory Services


Robert Ronneberger


Vice President


Christina Riley


Senior planner


Nathan Eastwood

Clifford Chance

Senior Associate


Caitlin Hudson


Senior Manager, R&D Strategy & Portfolio


Krishna Omkar

King & Spalding



The FT and OUTstanding Top 10 LGBT+ Public Sector Executives


Full Name


Job Title


Antonio Zappulla

Thomson Reuters Foundation

Chief Operating Officer


Kevin Jennings

Tenement Museum

President and CEO


Dinesh Bhugra CBE

World Psychiatric Association



Martin Shanahan

IDA Ireland



Lee Marshall

Church of England Pensions Board

Chief of Staff


Ian Adams

NHS Resolution

Director of Membership and Stakeholder Engagement


Carole Anderson

Golden Jubilee Foundation

Head of Strategy & Performance


Dominic Shellard

DeMontfort University

Vice Chancellor


Pav Akhtar

UNI Global Deadline

Director of Professionals & Managers


Tammy Smith

US Military

Major General


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