Successful Companies & Women at the Helm

Women currently hold just under 5 percent of chief executive officer positions in the list of Standard & Poor’s (S&P) 500 companies.

More specifically, just 23 of the 500 companies have women at the helm. While this number is definitely on the low side, this group of almost two dozen women runs some pretty amazing companies.

Every time you pop open a refreshing bottle of Pepsi, heat up a bowl of Campbell’s chicken noodle soup or shop for a new outfit at Ross, you are supporting a company that has a female CEO. The following three women are well-known not only for their personal drive and impressive achievements, but for leading their respective companies to financial success.

Mary Barra, CEO of General Motors

In January 2014, Mary Barra was named CEO of General Motors (GM). Under Barra’s leadership, the automotive company has strived to be the international leader in car design and technology and has also raised the bar in the industry in regard to safety, customer service and automotive quality. Barra is no stranger to GM and the car manufacturing world; prior to becoming CEO, Barra was executive vice president of global product development, purchasing and supply chain, and she also served as senior vice president of global product development. Seeking Alpha notes, although GM experienced its share of challenges during the recent recession, the company has managed to rebound in a most impressive manner and its stock is selling strongly on the New York Stock Exchange.

Keiko Brockel, President of Nitto Tire U.S.A.

Keiko Brockel is humble about her success and she prefers not to refer to herself as a pioneer or role model for women in the tire industry. When Brockel served as chief operations officer, five of her eight senior managers were also female. During her time as president, Nitto Tire U.S.A. has performed exceptionally well. The tire brand has been picked up by many reputable online merchants, including

Gracia C. Martore, President and CEO of Gannett Co., Inc.

In 1985, Gracia C. Martore came on board at Gannett Co., Inc., as assistant treasurer. She became a vice president in the treasury group. By 2003, she was senior vice president and chief financial officer, and in 2011 Martore was named president and CEO. Martore’s outstanding work with the company caught the eye of Fortune Magazine, which named her one of the 50 most powerful women in business in 2012. Gannett Co., Inc., has performed exceptionally well under Martore’s leadership. The company reported a 55 percent increase in 2014 fourth quarter non-GAAP earnings per share, as well as a 57 percent increase in adjusted earnings before interest, taxes, depreciation and amortization (EBITDA). Overall, the company has enjoyed a 24 percent increase in revenue growth and free cash flow rose to more than $200 million — all while Martore has served as president and CEO.


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