Margaret Keane
President and CEO, Synchrony Financial

This summer Margaret Keane went from business line head to CEO of a publicly traded company, the culmination of a decade's work.

In July, GE Capital spun off the retail consumer finance business that Keane had led since 2004. The newly independent company, called Synchrony Financial, is the largest private-label credit card provider in the United States by purchase volume and receivables, according to Morningstar. It provides private-label cards for big merchants like Amazon, Gap, PayPal and Wal-Mart.

Plans Keane helped put in place over the years are paying off. New ideas fostered by the company's Innovation Station, which Keane was instrumental in setting up, helped boost card purchases using digital channels by 62% from 2010 to 2013.

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