Phebe Novakovic

Phebe Novakovic, chairman and chief executive of General Dynamics Corp., left, and her husband David Morrison, chief lobbyist and vice president for government relations at Boeing Co., attend the Ford's Theatre Annual Gala in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Sunday, June 2, 2013. Emergency workers who responded to the devastation in West, Texas, Newtown, Connecticut and Boston were honored at the event. Photographer: Stephanie Green/Getty Images
PHEBE NOVAKOVIC, CHAIRMAN AND CEO OF GENERAL DYNAMICS CORP. ALIX COLOW. PICK UP. Photographer: Stephanie Green/Getty ImagesPhotograph by Stephanie Green — Getty Images
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    General Dynamics

Unlike her short-tenured predecessor, Jay Johnson, who made a series of acquisitions outside the defense giant’s core areas and exited after a traumatic loss, Novakovic has restored profits by, as she says, “doing what we know how to do.” Since the former CIA operative took command in 2013, Novakovic has been busy in its more traditional missions: building major military hardware and business jets, like the M1 Abrams tank, nuclear submarines, as well as Gulfstream jets. Last year, the company landed a contract to deliver $10 billion worth of armored vehicles to Saudi Arabia and received a $17.6 billion order to build Virginia-class attack submarines for the U.S. Navy in partnership with Huntington Ingalls Industries. In going back to basics, Novakovic has led the company to four consecutive quarters with more than $1 billion in operating earnings. Still revenues have been flat and analysts say Novakovic’s next mission is to find new avenues of growth and revenue to keep the stock from submerging.