Job now: CEO Deere & Co.
Since 2000, Lane has led farm-equipment maker Deere through many of the same hurdles facing General Motors: workers represented by the United Auto Workers, a web of dealers and strong
foreign competition. The difference: Deere grew stronger while GM floundered. Under Lane's watch, Deere's stock price has doubled and profits have grown fourfold.
Executive headhunters say Lane's management and manufacturing experience tee him up for an auto spot. "If GM called, you have to wonder," says one.
NEXT: Richard Kovacevich