Whilst women remain criminally underrepresented in some of the most powerful roles in the business world, there have been many shining examples of savvy females who beat the odds and became leading lights in their industries over the last 15 years. Here are the ladies who are leading the way: our top 5 businesswomen of the 21st Century:
5. Indra Nooyi
Nooyi gets our #1 ranking by virtue of the sheer scale of the changes on the PepsiCo balance sheet since she adopted her roles as CEO and Chairman in 2001 – her tenure has seen a stunning 72% increase in revenue for the soft drinks giant.
4. Sheryl Sandberg
There’s simply nothing out there in the business world that’s bigger than Facebook, and the social network’s COO Sheryl Sandberg is credited as the business genius responsible for its transformation from hot prospect to high-profit stock market sensation. Sandberg also sits on the boards of The Walt Disney Company, Women for Women International, V-Day and Survey Monkey. Her net worth is thought to be in excess of $1.1 billion.
3. Oprah Winfrey
Oprah Winfrey first became known to the world at large as a celebrity – the much loved and admired host of the most successful chat show host in the history of television. But it’s in her achievements after The Oprah Winfrey Show that America’s sweetheart wrote her name into the history books; in her roles as CEO and Chairwoman of Harpo Productions and The Oprah Winfrey Network, she can now count herself as one of the leading lights in the global media industry, behind the cameras as well as in front of them.
2. Irene Rosenfeld
As the chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods, Irene Rosenfeld has a worldwide sphere of influence that quite probably reaches onto your own dinner table. Praised for bringing healthier choices to the fore, Rosenfeld isn’t just keeping her company in the black – she’s also keeping consumers out of the operating theatre.
1. Christine Lagarde
Whilst Christine Lagarde isn’t a businesswoman herself, her work as the head of the International Monetary Fund has profound implications for economies and businesses around the globe. Named the 5th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes magazine, Lagarde is a superstar of 21st Century economics
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