Women have proved time and again that they can lead companies – even those that are based in male dominated industries. On that note, here’s a look at some of the most popular women heading different kinds of businesses:
1. Indra Nooyi
Born in India, Indra Nooyi started her career in her birth country. A graduate of Physics, Chemistry and Mathematics from the Madras Christian College, as well as earning a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta, Indra worked as a product manager for Johnson & Johnson and Mettur Beardsell, a textile firm.
She has been a PepsiCo employee since 1994 and has been in charge of the global strategy of the company for over a decade. She was also involved in the company’s restructuring, as well as leading the company in acquiring Tropicana, merging with Quaker Oats and buying Gatorade.
Indra was named CEO of PepsiCo in 2006, the fifth person to hold that position in the company’s more than 40-year history.
2. Marissa Mayer
One of the most visible of all the female CEOs on this list, Mayer has made headlines not just for the moves she has made at Yahoo but also her personal life. A longtime employee of Google, Mayer made the jump to Yahoo in 2012 when she was named their CEO.
A Stanford graduate, Marissa joined Google in 1999 as Employee Number 20. Not only that, she was also the company’s first female engineer. She was the subject of many articles after she took the CEO position at Yahoo given that the company was in a sad decline.
Three years into the job, Mayer has made several changes – some of them highly criticized in major publications – as well as some acquisitions to slowly put Yahoo back in the right direction. One of her biggest acquisitions to date was the purchase of microblogging site Tumblr.
3. Meg Whitman
Meg Whitman is not a stranger to executive positions – she has held many of them throughout her career. She has served as executive for DreamWorks, Proctor & Gamble and Hasbro. From 1998 to 2000, she was president and chief executive officer of eBay.
Meg joined the board of directors of Hewlett-Packard in January 2011. By September she was named as the company’s CEO. Among the major decisions she has made include a renewed focus on the research and development division of HP. She also committed to the PC business of HP despite her predecessor veering away from it.
4. Irene Rosenfeld
Mondelez is the maker of Oreos, Trident and Ritz, and its current head once dreamed of becoming the president of the United States. Although that political career never happened, Irene now heads a global food company.
In June 2006, she was appointed chief executive officer of Kraft Foods. By 2011, Kraft Foods was divided into two publicly traded companies, one of which was focused on international snack brands called Mondelez International. Rosenfeld was kept as the CEO and has keenly guided the company in a world where prices for its main ingredients are getting more expensive.
5. Ginni Rometty
Ginni Rometty is the first female CEO of IBM. Before she was appointed to that position, she was the company’s senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy. She occupied the top position in 2012.
Ginni started her career working for General Motors Institute shortly after graduating in 1979. By 1981, she was working as a systems engineer for IBM in its Detroit office. Part of her accomplishments at IBM includes driving for the purchase of PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting. She has also been credited with heading the growth strategy of IBM by joining the cloud computing and analytics businesses.
6. Ursula Burns
Ursula Burns began as an intern for Xerox in 1980. Since 2009, she was named the company’s chief executive officer. As the company’s CEO, she helped transform Xerox to not just be a global leader in document technology but also a company that offers a diverse range of services for various sized enterprises and governments.
As a member of Xeros, she has held leadership posts in corporate services, manufacturing and product development before being named CEO in 2009. One of her biggest achievements was the acquisition of Affiliated Computer Services which became the biggest acquisition in the history of Xerox.
7. Mary Barra
Appointed chief executive officer of General Motors Company in 2014, Mary Barra is the first female to hold such a position in the automobile industry. Barra has ben with GM since she was 18. Over the years, she has held many engineering and administrative positions in the company, including the managerial position of GM’s Detroit/Hamtramck Assembly plant.
Barra has been exposed to the automobile industry since she was young. Her father worked for 39 years as a die maker for Pontiac. She is a graduate of electrical engineering from the General Motors Institute (now the Kettering University).
8. Carol Meyrowitz
TJX Companies include discount retail stores TJ Maxx, Homegoods and Marshalls. Heading this company is Carol Meyrowitz who made headlines in 2015 after she announced the company would be increasing the minimum wage for its workers. Meyrowitz assumed the CEO position in 2007, and since then, the company has experienced revenue growth from $17.4 billion to $29.1 million. Additionally, the company also experienced a jump in profits from $777 million to $2.2 billion.
9. Denise Morrison
As CEO of Campbell, she is the 12th person to ever hold that position in the 140-year history of the company. She took over the position in 2011 but was already part of the company since 2003. She served as global sales and chief customer officer then was named senior vice president and president of soup, sauces and beverages for North America.
Part of her plan to drive sales for the soup company was to target millennials by offering different kinds of soups as well as changing the packaging. Although the campaigned lagged at first, it did see a slight rise in 2013.
10. Marillyn Hewson
As head of Lockheed Martin (the largest defense contractor in the world), Marillyn Hewson has helped deliver record profits and helped double stock prices. She also helped the company branch out to industries such as alternative energy and cybersecurity to combat the decline of US defense spending.
Hewson spent 30 years with Lockheed Martin before she was appointed CEO, the first female in the company’s history.