Delphine, Jenna, Virginia and Maureen: ‘Fortune’ Says These Women Are On Their Way To Becoming CEO

Jenna Lyons

Fortune & Money, just put out a list of the 10 next CEOs in the making. Four very successful women nabbed spots on the list. They may not occupy the corner office yet or even be household names (one of them is not even 30), but they are climbing that corporate ladder fast and the CEO title is not far away. They dominate the fashion and technology industries and see no end in sight when it comes to their careers.

  1. Maureen Sullivan: The 29-year-old senior was named Vice President of Corporate Communications at AOL  in 2010. She has apparently played a very big part in the company’s rebranding push. She started at AOL as CEO Tim Armstrong’s assistant. AOL had been looking for a Chief Marketing Officer outside the company, but meanwhile, Sullivan was helping to remake AOL’s logo into hundreds of colorful designs the company calls “canvases”. “It is a global brand that is really loved by a lot of people,” Sullivan said of AOL.  “It is their identity on the web. Whether it’s their AIM screen name they’ve had for 15 years or their e-mail they can’t imagine changing because that is who they are — there is a love.”
  2. Virginia Rometty: The 53-year-old Senior Vice President Chief of Sales for IBM is currently the front-runner to replace CEO Sam Palmisano. Seth Harris, a managing director at Cook Associates and an IBM alum himself, told Fortune Rometty’s decades-long tenure at IBM makes her a known quantity, and a proven choice to lead Big Blue. She helped integrate PricewaterhouseCoopers in a $3.9 billion acquisition that allowed the company to offer strategic advice which enabled IBM to forge closer ties to customers’ CEOs.
  3. Jenna Lyons: J.Crew’s President and Creative Director has risen from assistant to her current position in 20 years. Current CEO Mickey Drexler was once asked by Bloomberg TV whether Jenna Lyons could one day succeed him. He replied, “Well how could you say no, right?” She has doubled the sales of the company in the last seven years and helped it become a company valued annually at approximately $1.7 billion. The company is also planning a major global expansion over the next few years starting with China. When asked about feeling the responsibility of designing for the average woman Lyons said “I feel the sense of responsibility to make clothes that anyone can have and I don’t think women are average, I think they’re awesome.”
  4. Delphine Arnault: The deputy managing director at clothier Dior, one of the brands under parent company LVMH Moët Hennessy Louis Vuitton, is the daughter of CEO Bernard Arnualt. According to Forbes, she “has more than style. (Though she also has a lot of that too.)”. Arnault, a London School of Economics graduate, was appointed to the board of directors at LVMH after working at McKinsey for a short amount of time. At 28, she was the only woman to serve on the board. “Those high-powered positions have primed speculation that she could eventually inherit the reins to her father’s multinational luxury empire.”

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