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Phebe Novakovic

94 - Phebe Novakovic
2012 Rank: 93

Chairman & CEO, General Dynamics
One of the more private executives of a top defense company, Novakovic doesn’t make many big public speeches or spend much time with reporters. That may be because Novakovic is accustomed to secrecy — she was once a CIA operations officer — and prefers to work quietly and methodically to adapt her company for the coming drop in spending. Novakovic joined General Dynamics in 2001 and became a protégé of the company’s forceful and equally private former CEO Nick Chabraja, ascending to her current role at the beginning of 2013. She’s had her hands full since taking over, however, trimming the company and tackling a $2.1 billion goodwill impairment as the company adjusts for the downturn. She was special assistant to William Cohen when he was defense secretary and a deputy associate director in the Office of Management and Budget, ensuring she’s both well connected and knows her way around strategy and budgets.