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12. Maureen Kempston Darkes
Maureen Kempston Darkes
President, Latin America, Africa, and Middle East
General Motors
Country: U.S.
Previous rank: New

Canadian-born Kempston Darkes oversees GM's most complex and most profitable region, one that spans nine time zones, three continents, and 84 countries and produced almost $19 billion in sales last year. Resolutely unflashy, Kempston Darkes, 60, tailors GM's global product portfolio to local markets, adapting Chevrolets for Ecuador and Cadillacs for Dubai, for example. Subordinates describe her as collegial, empowering, firm, and focused on results and growth--just what GM needs these days.

NEXT: Nancy McKinstry
Last updated September 29 2008: 1:21 PM ET
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