IBM boss, Ginni Rometty, and bank chiefs Ana Botín at Santander and Gail Kelly at Westpac have topped Fortune magazine’s annual rankings of the world’s most powerful businesswomen.
Rometty, 57, tops the US league for the third year running, ahead of Mary Barra, who became the first woman to run a major carmaker when she took over as chief executive of General Motors in January.
IBM’s revenues have dipped below $100bn for the first time in several years, but Rometty’s decision to push IBM into mobile and cloud services and deals with Apple have started to bear fruit.
Ana Botín, who only last week succeeded her father to become chairman of Spain’s Banco Santander – Europe’s biggest bank measured by assets – topped the list of the most powerful businesswomen in Europe, the Middle East and Africa.
Ranked second in EMEA is Britain’s Alison Cooper, the chief executive of Imperial Tobacco Group, whose brands include Lambert & Butler, JPS and Gauloises. Cooper is credited for boosting the cigarette firm with the £5bn acquisition of US cigarette and e-cigarette brands. Carolyn McCall, the easyJet boss, was fifth, while a newcomer at six was Moya Greene, the Canadian running the newly-privatised Royal Mail.
Westpac bank boss Gail Kelly is rated the most powerful in the Asia Pacific region. The Australian bank recorded strong profits growth and its boardroom is more than 40% female. Two Indian bankers are also in the top four: Chanda Kochhar and Arundhati Bhattacharya, with top roles at ICICI bank and the State Bank of India.
The high profile younger executives of internet firms were highest paid, despite slipping down Fortune’s rankings, with Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg (down five places to number 10) taking home $38m last year, while Marissa Mayer, the youngest woman on the Fortune list at 39, earned $24m.
The list is compiled by Fortune according to the size, importance and direction of the business the women are running, as well as their career arc and influence. The magazine’s first list in 1998 heavily featured women in creative industries, and at the time lamented “no top women at blue-chip firms.” Today, 24 of the American list are company CEOs. Just over a third of the women on the list have an MBA.