Yahoo! Inc. (YHOO), General Dynamics Corporation (GD) – Women in Power: CEOs in Defense, Technology

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General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD)

OK, I’ll bet you knew about Whitman and Mayer but I bet most of you haven’t heard of these next two women CEOs. Phebe Novakovic runs General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD), the fourth largest defense contractor in the world. That’s not a small operation to be in charge of for anyone. Novakovic took over following the departure of Jay Johnson and was officially installed at the beginning of the year. Still, this has been her project for about nine months now.

General Dynamics is a great firm, even if it had a shaky year. But defense is dodgy right now with the sequester hanging over everything. Still, the stock is up since last July when she became the heir apparent to Johnson. And the firm did just increase its dividend by a bit less than 10%. There’s a lot to like about General Dynamics Corporation (NYSE:GD) and Novakovic’s leadership.

Lockheed Martin Corporation (NYSE:LMT)

Another recent move into the ranks of CEOs, Marillyn Hewson got elected by Lockheed Martin’s board last year and officially took over on Jan. 1. Still, leading the Pentagon’s top contractor isn’t for the faint of heart and Hewson isn’t. She’s tough and capable in the position, and I think she’ll do well.

Over the last few months, since it was announced that she was taking over, the firm’s stock has seen some highs and lows, but it’s been up overall. It’s gained almost 6% since mid-November even with some peaks and valleys. It also upped its dividend by 15% during that time. There’s a lot in Lockheed Martin to like, and you should think carefully about getting some.

Look, there’s nothing special about hiring a woman as CEO. But there’s also nothing negative about it, either. And that’s progress. There are still real problems with women as CEOs, given that fewer than 5% of the Fortune 500 are currently helmed by those with XX chromosomes, and that should likely be higher. But I like to think that’s a process that will occur over time. It may be slower than I like (I’m a father of two smart girls, after all), but it is happening. That’s the important thing. And for investors, it might just pay off if you move quickly enough. There are certainly some investors who will turn away from a well-run firm with a woman in the top slot. Take advantage of those guys, will you?

The article Women in Power: CEOs in Defense, Technology originally appeared on and is written by Nate Wooley.

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