President and CEO, CVS
Leading through an unprecedented pandemic was a challenge that all executives faced in 2021, but no one had as much of an impact as CVS president and CEO Karen Lynch. Lynch—who took on the role leading America’s fourth-biggest company by revenue, and the largest in health care, in February 2021 during the height of COVID-19—was instrumental in the rollout of CVS Health’s pandemic response. Under her direction, CVS became the nation’s leader in both COVID-19 diagnostic testing and vaccination, administering more than 41 million tests and more than 50 million vaccinations through the end of November 2021. Not only that, CVS didn’t have to sacrifice revenue to serve public health needs; in fact, its stock outperformed the S&P 500 last year, up 17 percent and 10 percent, respectively. Named the most powerful woman in business by Fortune, Lynch has even loftier goals in mind for the future; through various investments, including up to $3 billion in tech and growth initiatives, she plans to transform CVS’ network of pharmacies into outlets devoted to primary care.