In 2000, we considered executives from every corner of the industry and were delighted to identify 100 female leaders. In 2005, we looked especially hard for women in key product-development and manufacturing jobs. And we found them; women in those positions made up more than one-third of the list. Selecting just 100 leading women was a struggle.
Then the industry changed. Women at the very top of their companies are scarce. Our 2010 list shows the churn. Thirty leaders from the 2005 list are back; only seven of them have been on the list all three times.
Readers helped us find leading women by nominating more than 300 executives. A team of editors and reporters — with assistance from Terry Barclay, CEO of Inforum; Craig Giffi, U.S. automotive leader at Deloitte; and Katherine Otrompke, Automotive Women's Alliance Foundation board member — weighed the qualifications of each nominee. We looked for influential women at automakers, Tier 1 suppliers and dealerships who make major decisions.
No doubt we overlooked some terrific female executives. But the list is a tremendously strong roster of talented, powerful women.
We are proud of it.
— Mary Beth Vander Schaaf