Friday, August 29

Top-10 The Most Powerful Women in 2008

1.Angela Merkel

Chancellor Germany

Top-10 The Most Powerful Women
With $3.3 trillion in GDP, Germany is Europe's biggest economy, and Merkel's reforms are sparking a rebound, with unemployment falling (although consumer confidence just hit a five-year low). She pushed through a later retirement age, put more women in senior government posts, and raised payments to new parents. Bulldozes through controversy: hosted the Dalai Lama, chastised Mugabe, and wants to make the euro a bigger player in global financial markets as the dollar wanes. Also trying to make Germany more eco-friendly with steep greenhouse-gas cuts. Europeans voted her their most influential politician. — Tatiana Serafin

2 Sheila C. Bair

Chairman, Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. U.S.

Top-10 The Most Powerful Women
The head of the embattled FDIC has been trying to reassure an edgy American public that the country's financial institutions are sound—even as six banks have now failed this year. Bair's domain is the last stop for capital-starved banks (and their insured customers) before going under. But the July demise of IndyMac, the largest bankruptcy of a financial institution in the last two decades, has rattled nerves. As banks continue to fail, Bair must continue to show the fortitude that has helped her lead an institution that is suddenly an actor in this global drama. — Heidi Brown

3 Indra K. Nooyi

Chairman, chief executive, PepsiCo U.S.

Top-10 The Most Powerful Women
Nooyi continues to grow PepsiCo, the $39 billion food and beverage giant, through new product offerings and acquisitions. Company subsidiaries Quaker, Gatorade and FritoLay introduced a new line of whole-grain oatmeal and granola bars called Simple Harvest, and G2, a low-calorie "lifestyle beverage" for athletes. Nooyi orchestrated a major expansion into international markets, most notably with a $1.4 billion acquisition of a 75% stake in Russian juice giant Lebedyansky. — Kate Macmillan

4 Angela Braly

Chief executive, president, WellPoint U.S.

Top-10 The Most Powerful Women
Named CEO in June 2007, Braly crashed through health insurance's glass ceiling but still earned $26 million less last year than her male predecessor. The St. Louis attorney helped Missouri's Blue Cross convert from a nonprofit into an investor-owned company in 1994. Made the leap to WellPoint when the company acquired Blue Cross in 2001. The 35-million-member insurer revised its forecasts in March after reporting more claims than expected. Now facing wrath from employees who lost an estimated $100 million from their 401(k)s when company shares swooned 39% in March. — Emily Schmall

5 Cynthia Carroll

Chief executive, Anglo American U.K.

Top-10 The Most Powerful Women
The commodities boom means big money for Carroll. The Skidmore College geology major started her career with Amoco in 1981. Spent 17 years at aluminum company Alcan. In 2006, became the first woman and first non-South African to lead Anglo American, the mining giant founded by Ernest Oppenheimer in 1917. Completed $5.5 billion iron ore deal in Brazil. Recently appointed to the board of BP. — Emily Schmall

6 Irene B. Rosenfeld

Chairman, chief executive, Kraft Foods U.S.

Top-10 The Most Powerful Women
Rosenfeld was tapped in 2006 to helm Kraft. The first two years have been somewhat sticky, but Rosenfeld's three-year turnaround plan is showing some teeth. Last year Kraft delivered its best revenue growth since 2001, up 21% to $10.4 billion. Profits aren't yet up to par, but Rosenfeld, who holds a Ph.D. in marketing, plans to tackle those margins with higher prices, smaller portions and some surprising new gimmicks. The company's reformulation of the Oreo cookie with less sugar and a long, thin shape was a hit in China, raking in over $1 billion in sales last year. — Devon Pendleton

7 Condoleezza Rice

Secretary of state U.S.

Top-10 The Most Powerful Women
Shoring up her legacy before the Bush administration leaves office, Rice continues to try for peace in the Middle East; the U.S. is cautiously engaging North Korea and trying to contain Iran. But her efforts are coming to naught around the world: In Pakistan, U.S. support for anti-al-Qaida ally Pervez Musharraf, who resigned, may have jeopardized ties with his successor; Russia is growing more autocratic; and her State Department has come under fire for its lax oversight of contractor Blackwater. Successes: ties with Japan, China and India have solidified. — Tatiana Serafin

8 Ho Ching

Chief executive, Temasek Holdings Singapore

Top-10 The Most Powerful Women
The wife of the prime minister of Singapore, Ho Ching has been credited with converting Temasek from a Singapore-focused firm to a leading investor in Asia. She earned accolades by making investments in Indian and Chinese telecoms and banks, and as a result, brought the portfolio to roughly $100 billion. Temasek has bought a 15% stake in Merrill Lynch since last December in the wake of the bank's write-downs. Another deal, Temasek's tax-free takeover of Shin Corp., one of Thailand's biggest telecom companies, sparked a wave of protests. The tax-free deal eventually led to the overthrow of Thailand's prime minister. — Megha Bahree

9 Anne Lauvergeon

Chief executive, Areva France

Top-10 The Most Powerful Women
Lauvergeon has seen her leadership tested this year with two leaks of nuclear fuel in France this summer—one of which tainted drinking water in the southeastern town where it occurred. The incidents raised renewed questions about the safety of nuclear power. It's tough timing for Areva—and many hard-pressed governments around the world—as energy prices had spurred a new look at nuclear power. Although she enjoys the public backing of French President Nicolas Sarkozy, Lauvergeon's fate as chief executive may well hinge on her ability to quell fears about the fear of nuclear disaster. — Heidi Brown

10 Anne Mulcahy

Chairman, chief executive, Xerox Corp. U.S.

Top-10 The Most Powerful Women
Mulcahy, credited with pulling iconic copier manufacturer from the brink of financial collapse, is still winning praise for her remarkable turnaround effort. In June she became the first woman to be named by her peers as Chief Executive of the Year, an honor previously bestowed on the likes of Bill Gates and Jack Welch. But don't look for Long Island, N.Y., native Mulcahy to rest on any laurels. To fend off rivals Canon and Hewlett-Packard, she's doubled the software R&D budget to $1.5 billion and focused research efforts on color printing and eco-friendly technologies. — Devon Pendleton


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