Mulcahy is chairwoman of Xerox. She retired from her position as the company's CEO in July 2009.
A Xerox lifer, Mulcahy started at the company as a lowly field-sales rep in the mid-1970s. After more than a decade and a half in the sales organization and a stint running departments like human resources and customer service, Mulcahy was named CEO in 2001, replacing retiring chief Paul Allaire. Few had high hopes when Mulcahy became the first female CEO in the company's history in early 2002. A longtime saleswoman, Wall Street analysts thought she lacked the requisite financial experience for the top job, and the stock dropped 15 percent the day it was announced she'd be taking over. Xerox's prospects weren't all that bright either: The stock was in the tank, the SEC was investigating questionable accounting practices, and the once proud copying and printing giant was teetering on the verge of bankruptcy. Indeed, with $17 billion in debt and just $154 million in the bank, it was a situation that would make even the greatest turnaround artists blanche. Mulcahy and her team put together a plan to turn the company around and quickly set about cutting costs, reducing debt and raising much-needed cash. Xerox largely rebounded during Mulcahy's reign. Thanks to steep cuts, the closure of several divisions, and the restructuring of the company's debt, Mulcahy helped Xerox to become more competitive than ever during her tenure as CEO. [Image via Getty]