Two Women Tapped To Lead Major Companies : The Two-Way Two Fortune 500 companies have selected women as their incoming chief executive officers. By New Year's Day, the ranks of female corporate leaders will set a record for the largest number of women serving as CEOs at the same time.
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Two Women Tapped To Lead Major Companies

Two Fortune 500 companies have selected women as their incoming chief executive officers. By New Year's Day, the ranks of female corporate leaders will reach a new record: USA Today notes there will be 18 women leading a Fortune 500 firm. Previously, only 16 women held such positions at the same time.

Heather Bresch

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Dale Sparks/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Heather Bresch

Dale Sparks/ASSOCIATED PRESS

Mylan Inc., one of the largest pharmaceutical companies in the world, today named Heather Bresch as its CEO effective January 1. Bresch, who is also the daughter of West Virginia senator Joe Manchin, is currently the company's president.

News of her promotion comes a day after IBM announced Virginia Rometty will become its next chief executive officer on the same day in January, succeeding Samuel J. Palmisano, who will remain chairman of the tech company's board of directors.

Virginia Rometty

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Virginia Rometty

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Ginni, as she's known, started at IBM as a computer systems engineer in 1981 before rising to take charge of several company divisions, including the financial services wing and business services department. She's currently a senior vice president.

Rometty's appointment at IBM comes as the company's rival, Hewlett-Packard, recently named a woman to its top job. Meg Whitman, formerly of Ebay and the Republican gubernatorial nominee in California, is taking over at H-P's CEO.

Bresch and Rometty will become part of a very small group of women running big firms, such as Patricia Woertz of Archer Daniels Midland and Ursula Burns of Xerox. The AP has put together the very short list here.

Their advancement is generating some positive buzz. Washington Post blogger Jena McGregor praises Rometty's promotion is a "feat".