The multinational business magazine published and owned by Times Inc., Fortune, has released the 2017 list of the most powerful women in the world. This year, the list comprises of 26 CEOs from around the globe who control close to $ 1.1 trillion in market capitalization. The full list includes 51 successful women including nine women from the tech industry.
The Chief Executive Officer of General Motors, Mary Barra topped the list for the third consecutive year. She was instrumental in beating Elon Musk’s Tesla Model 3’s release in the market with the Chevrolet Bolt EV which even boasted of a better battery.
Indra Nooyi, who has led PepsiCo as the CEO and president for a decade, took the second spot on the list. She also played a significant role in the acquisition of Tropicana and the company’s merger with Quaker Oats. Nooyi was featured 18 times in the 20 years the Fortune list of most powerful women has been published.
Marillyn Hewson, the Chairwoman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lockheed Martin along with Abigail Johnson, the Chairman and CEO of Fidelity Investments and Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook take the 3rd, 4th and 5th spots on the list respectively.
Sandberg was instrumental in Facebook’s blockbuster 2016 ad revenue growth, which increased to 57% or over $ 26.9 billion and propelled the company to new heights. Her book titled Option B, which deals with grief over the loss of her husband, also topped the best seller list this year.
Seven newcomers made it to the list this year, including Hollywood actress Reese Witherspoon. Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Gas and Electric Company, Geisha Williams, became the highest ranking newcomer on the list. She is also the first Latin woman to run a Fortune 500 company and is currently ranked at 19. Boeing’s Defense, Space and Security CEO, Leanne Caret, Staples CEO Shira Goodman, Reinsurance Group of America CEO Anna Manning, Hershey CEO Michele Buck, Ulta Beauty CEO Mary Dillon and Mattel CEO Margo Georgiadis are the other newest editions to the list.
The number of female chief executive officers in the Fortune 500 companies hit a record low in 2017. Only 6% of the total 500 or 37 women hold the top managerial positions in reputed organizations around the world. The number of women in the leading roles in tech companies also brings to light the uncomfortable realities of a big gender gap in one of the fastest growing industries in the world.
According to Fortune, four main criteria are looked at while making the list. It includes the size and importance of the woman’s business in the global economy, the health and direction of the business, the arc of the woman’s career and social and cultural influences.