America's top 10 female CEOs

Women still make up only one-fifth of senior management, but these bosses exemplify their strong leadership.

By InvestorPlace May 11, 2012 9:39AM

Little by little, women are stepping into a growing share of executive posts at major corporations. And research suggests those corporations are better for it: Grant Thornton’s 2012 International Business Report says companies with more women on senior management teams or boards are likely to have higher stock growth and sales, as well as better returns on equity and invested capital.


Still, women constitute only one-fifth of senior management roles globally, and only 10% of businesses have a female CEO. Among Fortune 1000 companies, women currently hold only 39 CEO positions, according to Catalyst Research. However, four of those run Dow Jones Industrial Average components.


Here's a look at the top 10 female CEOs of American companies based on Fortune's 2012 ranking of company size, limited to women named CEO by Dec. 31, 2011:


10. Beth E. Mooney, Chairman and CEO of KeyCorp (499th)

Beth Elaine Streeter Mooney was born in Midland, Mich., in 1955. The 56-year-old Mooney earned a BA in history from the University of Texas at Austin and an MBA at Southern Methodist University. She was appointed CEO of KeyCorp (KEY) on May 1, 2011, and is the first female head of a major publicly traded U.S. bank. (Read more about Beth Mooney)


9. Ursula Burns, Chairman and CEO of Xerox (127th)

Ursula Burns was born in New York City on Sept. 20, 1958. The 53-year-old Burns earned her BS in mechanical engineering from the Polytechnic Institute of New York University and her MS in mechanical engineering from Columbia University. She was appointed CEO of Xerox (XRX) on July 1, 2009, and is the first African-American woman to become CEO of a Fortune 500 company. (Read more about Ursula Burns)


8. Carol Meyrowitz, President and CEO of TJX Companies (125th)

Meyrowitz was born in 1954, the daughter of a New York furrier. A 29-year veteran of TJX, she has served in several key positions, including VP of TJX Companies and president of Marmaxx Group. She was appointed CEO of TJX Companies (TJX) on Jan. 28, 2007. (Read more about Carol Meyrowitz)


7. Ellen Kullman, Chairman and CEO of DuPont (72nd)

Ellen Jamison Kullman was born in Wilmington, Del., in January 1956. The 56-year-old Kullman earned her BS in mechanical engineering from Tufts University and an MBA at Northwestern. She was appointed CEO of DuPont (DD) on Oct. 1, 2008. (Read more about Ellen Kullman)


6. Irene Rosenfeld, Chairman and CEO of Kraft (50th)

Irene Blecker Rosenfeld was born in Westbury, N.Y., on May 3, 1953. The 59-year-old earned a BA in psychology, an MS in business and a PhD in marketing and statistics from Cornell University. She was appointed CEO of Kraft (KFT) on June 26, 2006. (Read more about Irene Rosenfeld)


5. Angela Braly, Chairman, President and CEO of WellPoint (45th)

Angela Braly was born in Dallas, Texas, on July 1, 1961. The 50-year-old Braly earned a bachelor’s degree at Texas Tech and her juris doctor degree from Southern Methodist University. She was appointed CEO of WellPoint (WLP) on June 1, 2007. (Read more about Angela Braly)


4. Indra Nooyi, Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo (41st)

Indra Nooyi was born in Chennai, India, on Oct. 28, 1955. The 56-year-old Nooyi earned a BS in chemistry, physics and mathematics from Madras Christian College; an MBA from the Indian School of Management in Calcutta and a masters in public and private management from Yale School of Management. She was appointed chairman and CEO of PepsiCo (PEP) on Oct. 1, 2006. (Read more about Indra Nooyi)


3. Patricia Woertz, Chairman, President and CEO of Archer Daniels Midland (28th)

Patricia Woertz was born in Pittsburgh, Pa., on March 17, 1953. The 59-year-old former executive VP at energy giant Chevron (CVX) earned her BS in accounting at Penn State. She was appointed CEO of Archer Daniels Midland (ADM) on April 27, 2006. (Read more about Patricia Woertz)


2. Virginia 'Ginni' Rometty, President and CEO of IBM (19th)

Rometty was born in a Chicago suburb in July 1957. The 54-year-old received a BS in computer science/electrical engineering with high honors from Northwestern University. She was appointed CEO of IBM (IBM) on Oct. 25, 2011. (Read more about Virginia Rometty)


1. Meg Whitman, President and CEO of Hewlett-Packard (10th)

Meg Whitman was born on Aug. 4, 1956, in Oyster Bay, N.Y. The 55-year-old received a BA in economics from Princeton and an MBA from Harvard. She was appointed CEO of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ) on Sept. 22, 2011. (Read more about Meg Whitman)


For more on female leadership in finance, check out a special feature from InvestorPlace called "Women and Wall Street."


More from InvestorPlace

May 11, 2012 11:22AM
Seriously, who cares!  This womens movement where every day you are reading women this, women that.  It is tiring.  A CEO who is good and does their job, will be hired.  It is about the money that person can make, not their gender, which the MEDIA is trying to imply it is. 
Look at the fat overweight police females who couldn't waddle down a street, or the 98
3 female cop who would be blown away in the wind.  Look at the female firewoman who can't kick in a door at a fire building and are in these jobs.  Why doesn't the media report on these gifts to affirmative action.  If my home was burning, I'll take a 60 year old man any day.  Same goes for the cops.  Women still expect the doors opened for them, yet want to be first in line.  Not going to happen.

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