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Carol Bartz, 2006

Bartz became CEO of software developer Autodesk in 1992 following the resignation of predecessor Alvar Green, who had grown frustrated with company culture, among other things. Once Bartz took over, she quickly displayed her forceful leadership skills by cancelling Autodesk's weekly "beer bust" parties while establishing the "3F" concept – or "fail fast-forward," which directs a company to be resilient and rebound quickly from failure – that came to epitomize her tenure with the company. Despite some initial challenges, Bartz won the respect of her subordinates in coaxing Autodesk to operate more like a publicly traded firm, battling and eventually beating breast cancer while she did so.