3. Anne-Marie Idrac
2005 rank: New
Idrac, 54, has spent more than a decade in government, serving as Secretary of State for Transportation and head of the Paris bus and subway systems. This summer she was handed the keys to France's railways, including its high-speed TGV trains, when her predecessor was dispatched to take over troubled Airbus. SNCF is one of the country's largest state-owned companies, with $26 billion in revenue last year. But Idrac faces an uphill battle: She inherits the tasks of turning around the railway's disastrous freight business, dealing with entrenched labor unions, and meeting President Jacques Chirac's goal of eliminating fossil fuels in the system by 2020.
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