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Verna Gibson – She Broke the Glass Ceiling

Verna Gibson, first woman CEO of a Fortune 500 company
Jean Snedegar

Verna LeMasters Gibson, a native of Elkview in Kanawha County, broke the ultimate corporate “glass ceiling” in 1985 when she became the first woman CEO to earn the top spot at a Fortune 500 company, The Limited Stores.  She ran The Limited for six years and during that time it became the nation’s first billion dollar specialty retailing chain. 

Today, at 68, Gibson is a director of Chico’s FAS, a fashion retailing company, where twice in the last five years she has been brought in to turn failing divisions around (and she succeeded).  She is also the Chairman of the Board of Governors at Marshall University, her alma mater.

Verna and her husband Jim now live part-time in Huntington, where they both serve the university and students in various ways.

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