Phebe N. Novakovic

Venture among Fortune 500-Land, and you’ll find that a female CEO is a rarity. Though the number of women in top positions is growing, just four percent of CEOs of these coveted companies are females. Phebe N. Novakovic is one of them.

Phebe N. Novakovic

IMG: via General Dynamics

The CEO of General Dynamics (#98), Novacovic leads one of the world’s largest and the nation’s oldest military contracting companies. Appointed to the position in January, she joins Marillyn Hewson of Lockheed Martin in pushing the defense industry into a new, female-led, era.

Novakovic is a former CIA officer and senior Pentagon official, and is no stranger to U.S. defense, making her the perfect fit for her new role as General Dynamics’ CEO. She first began working for the company in 2001, and in just twelve years worked her way up to the top position.

Phebe Novakovic has been honored by Forbes as one of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women (#75) in 2013, and was also listed as one of Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business (#49) in 2010. Her rise in the ranks fits well with the current trend of more women rising to top positions.

According to the Pew Research Center, about 40% of women today are the primary breadwinners for U.S. homes with children under 18. That’s about four times what it was in 1960. Men still clearly dominate the top positions in the country’s most successful companies, but that gap will continue to dwindle if the current trend stays on track.

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