General Motors (GM) just made one of the world’s most powerful women even more powerful. Yes, Mary Barra — already the global product development chief of GM, the highest-ranking woman at the company, the highest ranking woman in the auto industry and the 34th most powerful woman in the world — was named the new General Motors head honcho.
Barra will replace current General Motors CEO Dan Akerson on Jan. 15, bumping the disappointing number of female CEOs at Fortune 500 companies just slightly.
Even after decades of progress, women in business are still underrepresented at the top spots. Female CEOs hold the reins at fewer than 5% of Fortune 500 companies … even factoring in the General Motors news.
And it’s not because the top women in business don’t have a solid track record — far from it. While plenty of the twenty-odd female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies — including big shots like Meg Whitman of Hewlett-Packard (HPQ), Virginia Rometty at IBM (IBM) and Indra Nooyi at Pepsi (PEP) — have held their own, a handful of powerful women have posted simply outstanding results while occupying the corner office.
Only time will tell if Mary Barra can lead GM to similar new heights. But until then, let’s take a look at six of the best-performing female CEOs of Fortune 500 companies.