Behind every successful leader is an executive team of select aides working around the clock to make them and the company look good.
Inspired by our latest list of the Sexiest CEOs Alive, we took a look at some hot CEOs-in-waiting who are rising stars of the business world. It’s not all about looks. These execs are on fire, having sprinted up the ranks, often at young ages, to take on massive responsibility. And they’ve managed it with style.
All incredibly influential, both inside and outside of their companies, if these 10 stars don’t make it to the top where they are today, we expect they will somewhere else.
Chief Operating Officer at Ford
COOs are typically heir apparents at auto companies, and when Fields was elevated to the position in December of last year, it was even more evident that he could eventually replace 67-year-old CEO Alan Mulally.
Fields has an excellent pedigree and is best known for helping lead the firm's North American operations from record losses four years ago to record profits this year. Now, the firm's North American division is its most profitable, keeping the whole company in the green even as it loses money abroad.
Chief Technology and Strategy Officer at Cisco
Before coming to Cisco, Warrior spent 23 years at Motorola, where she served as CTO. Cisco CEO John Chambers has already named her as a possible successor and has given her a huge role, helping define the company's technology and innovation strategies.
Chief Design Officer at PepsiCo
Porcini was a long-time employee at 3M, rising from a 26-year-old designer to the company's first Chief Design Officer in just 10 years. He was known for bringing some flair to a company with a sometimes stodgy image.
He was brought in at Pepsi to help infuse design into all of the company's processes, change its culture, and help update its massive and iconic brands.
Senior Vice President for Global Product Development at General Motors
There's open speculation that Barra will be GM's next CEO, and it's not without cause. CEO Dan Akerson showed faith in Barra when he promoted her from running human resources to the essential top job in product development, where the company actually creates, tests, and engineers new product models.
She's the highest ranking woman in the global auto industry, and a GM lifer. Her father was a die-maker at a Pontiac plant for 39 years. Her first car was a Chevy, and she went to college as a co-op student who worked half of each year at the company.
She started out as an engineer in a Pontiac plant but was quickly recognised as management material and was then sent to Stanford Business School on the company's dime. She's one of Akerson's closest allies in remaking what had been a rather dysfunctional organisation.
CEO and President of Wal-Mart International Operations
McMillon is one of two candidates identified by insiders as one of the potential internal successors to Wal-Mart CEO Mike Duke. McMillon truly rose from the bottom, starting in 1984 as a summer worker in one of the country's distribution centres, before rising up the ranks.
Prior to running Wal-Mart's massive international operations, McMillon was the head of the company's Sam's Club stores.
Senior Vice President and Chief Business Officer at Google
Arora is one of the most prominent, highly respected, and highly paid executives at Google, as one of the architects of its business and sales strategy. Every time there's an opening for a big-time tech CEO, his name comes up, as it did when Yahoo was looking. He's been suggested as a candidate for Microsoft, too.
Google obviously has amazing products and reach, but it took a great deal of work to turn it from an innovative search company into the business behemoth it is today. In the nine years since its 2004 IPO, Arora's been at the center of it.
Chief Operating Officer at Facebook
Sheryl Sandberg is one of Mark Zuckerberg's most trusted lieutenants at Facebook, often the face and public representative of the company, who helped shepherd it through one of the largest tech IPOs of all time. She is cited as one of the big reasons the company was able to become profitable and move toward going public.
Through the publication of her book, 'Lean In,' and her public activism on behalf of women in the workplace, she's become one of the central figures in one of the biggest debates in the business world.
Senior Managing Director, Global Head of Institutional Client Business and BlackRock Solutions, at BlackRock
Goldstein came on board right out of college when BlackRock was only 6 years old and had 55 employees. He never left, and it's now the world's largest asset manager.
After helping create and eventually lead the company's increasingly important analytics department, Goldstein was elevated to the company's executive committee last year. He was also put in charge of its institutional business, which manages $US2.2 trillion in long-term assets, while still running the analytics department, BlackRock Solutions.
'You are going to hear more and more, as investors, about Rob Goldstein,' CEO Larry Fink said last year.
Executive Vice President of Development & Acquisitions at the Trump Organisation
Trump, a 2004 graduate of Wharton, is one of the most powerful and effective people at her outspoken father's Trump Organisation. Her fashion brand will do nearly $US250 million in retail sales this year as it rolls out an apparel line, even as she works on massive real estate deals and raises a young daughter.
She recently hired Kate Spade's highly regarded head of e-commerce to serve as her brand's CMO. She's led more recent high-profile deals than either of her two siblings, and is regarded as the most likely heir to the company, though the elder Donald Trump claims he plans for the three of them to run it together.
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