MARIA SILVIA MARQUES: CEO, NATIONAL STEEL CO.; RIO DE JANEIRO

THE BILLION-DOLLAR WOMAN TURNED AROUND THE BATTERED FORTUNES OF BRAZIL'S MOST STORIED CITY

At Latin America's largest integrated steel company, it's not the blast furnaces that are shooting off the biggest sparks these days. It's Maria Silvia Bastos Marques, 40, an economist and financial wizard hired in May to restructure Companhia Siderurgica Nacional, formerly an icon of Brazilian state-driven industrialization and, since 1993, Brazil's largest privately owned firm. She has more than her share of work ahead at CSN, where she is leading what she calls an "internal revolution" that is likely to set standards for other Brazilian industries as well.

Before coming to CSN, Marques was finance secretary for the city of Rio...

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