West Africa native Tidjane Thiam is the first Black CEO ever to run a FTSE 100 company after he was named head of Prudential Monday morning.
The announcement puts the Ivory Coast-born 46-year-old at the corporation’s helm effective Oct. 1. A former business consultant and former Ivory Coast government official, Thiam was named second on a list published in The Guardian of the 50 “most powerful Black men” in Britain, where he furthered his corporate leadership experience in 2007. As Prudential’s top man, he’ll earn a base salary of $875,000. “I look forward to taking over from Mark (Tucker) on Oct. 1,” Thiam tells The Guardian.
“Mark is an outstanding chief executive, who has transformed Prudential into a strategically focused, efficient and very strongly capitalized business. It will be a privilege to work with the executive team to lead Prudential into its next stage of development.”
As head of a major corporation in a time when some of America’s most established firms are suffering to the point of near shutdown, Thiam’s leadership will likely face added scrutiny because of his race.
He adds: “There are racist incidents that I am exposed to, but I try not to give too much importance to that. A lot is about your own perception of yourself. I spent a lot of my childhood in Africa and I just cannot see myself as a minority. I see myself as a human being.”