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In aerospace industry, female execs soar to top

In aerospace industry, female execs soar to top

The already small roster of Fortune 500 companies led by women will shrink even further after PepsiCo Inc. Chief Executive Indra Nooyi steps down from her role this year. But in one sector that has been male-dominated, gender balance seems to be moving in the opposite direction.

By next year, three of the top U.S. defense firms — Lockheed Martin Corp., General Dynamics Corp. and most recently, Northrop Grumman Corp. — will have a female CEO. And Boeing Co. has had a woman at the helm of its $21-billion defense, space and security business since 2016.

While industry officials and observers have cheered the progress, many also say the corner office moves don’t reflect sweeping...

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