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Nooyi, Bali among top women in world biz

Last updated on: September 29, 2009 

Image: PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi.
Photographs: Reuters Rediff Business Desk

Indra Nooyi, chairman and CEO, PepsiCo has topped the Financial Times list of top 50 women in world business.

Nooyi, 53, is among four Indians who have made it to the list. "I think the United States represents the greatest meritocracy in the world. . . the United States is a country that likes to see others succeed," Nooyi said.

Nooyi became the chief executive officer of the company on October 1, 2006.  Nooyi has led major expansions into international markets and launched new products, putting PepsiCo's growth on the fast track amid a global crisis. PepsiCo had annual sales of $43.25 billion in 2008, up from $39.47 billion the previous year.

While Forbes magazine ranked Nooyi third on the 2008 list of The World's 100 Most Powerful Women, Fortune magazine has named Nooyi number one on its annual ranking of Most Powerful Women in business for 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2009.

Britannia Industries head Vinita Bali, Biocon chairman and managing director Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw and HT media chairperson Shobhana Bhartia are the other three Indians in the list.

Four Indians are listed in the 'women to watch' section: Cisco Chief Technology Officer Padmasree Warrior, and Hewlett-Packard India Managing Director Neelam Dhawan in the technology and media sector; and UBS India Chief Executive Manisha Girotra and HSBC India CEO Naina Lal Kidwai in finance.

The ranking comes at a time when the global crisis has turned a spotlight on male domination of the corporate world: would we be better off if more women were in charge? Some prominent people think so, says the FT.

Nooyi, Bali among top women in world biz

Image: Vinita Bali, managing director, Britannia.
Vinita Bali

Vinita Bali, managing director, Britannia, is ranked 22nd for her experience in the food production business.

"In the 1980s and 1990s, she shuttled between Cadbury and Coca-Cola, occupying key marketing roles in India, the UK, South Africa and across South America. Her opportunity to take the leadership role at Britannia came after the controversial resignation of Sunil Alagh in 2003," FT said.

Vinita Bali was appointed managing director of Britannia Industries on 31st May 2006. Vinita joined as chief executive officer of the company in January 2005.

She started her career with Voltas, where she launched the popular Rasna soft-drink concentrate. In 1980, Vinita joined Cadbury India, where she had a successful career.

She has also worked as the worldwide marketing director of Coca-Cola Company in 1994 where she was responsible for the worldwide strategy for Coke, and was one of the key players in doubling its growth rate.

Nooyi, Bali among top women in world biz

Image: Kiran Mazumdar Shaw managing director of Biocon Ltd
Photographs: Reuters

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw

Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw has been appreciated for her entrepreneurial skills. Ranked 47th, Shaw is credited with having taken Biocon from being a start-up in Bangalore to a successful, listed company.

Biocon established in 1978, has evolved from an industrial enzymes company to a fully integrated bio-pharmaceutical enterprise encompassing a well balanced business portfolio of products and services.

Sobhana Bhartia, ranked at 48, was lauded for helping shape HT Media into one of India's largest media companies.

Check out the women that make up the top 10 list of most powerful businesswomen in the world. . .

Nooyi, Bali among top women in world biz

Image: Andrea Jung
Photographs: Courtesy, Avon
Andrea Jung of Canadian origin is ranked second in the FT list, after Indra Nooyi.  "I think that whatever made me successful in the last few years may not be enough to make me successful in the next few years," she says.

Andrea Jung, chairman and CEO of Avon Products, is responsible for developing and executing all of the company's long-term growth strategies, launching new brand initiatives, developing earnings opportunities for women worldwide, and defining Avon as the premier direct seller of beauty products.

Jung was appointed CEO in 1999 and elected chairman in 2001. She has been a member of the board of directors since January 1998.

Nooyi, Bali among top women in world biz

Image: Anne Lauvergeon, chief executive of France's nuclear reactor maker Areva.
Photographs: Benoit Tessier/Reuters
Anne Lauvergeon

A female executive in an industry dominated by hazard signs, Geiger counters and safety-goggled men has always been an unusual sight. But this has never bothered Anne Lauvergeon, nicknamed "Atomic Anne", says the FT report.

Anne Lauvergeon, number 3 on the list, started her professional career in 1983, in the iron and steel industry and moved to Usinor.

In 1984, she directed the European safety studies for the chemical industry of CEA (the public technological research organisation in France). From 1985 to 1988, she supervised the underground utilities activities in and around Paris and was appointed, in 1988, Deputy Director of the General Mining Council.

In 1990, she was named Advisor for Economic International Affairs at the French Presidency and Deputy Chief of its Staff in 1991.  In 1995, she became a Partner of Lazard Fr res & Cie in Paris, spending several months in their New York offices.

Since June 1999, she is chairman and CEO of Areva group.

Nooyi, Bali among top women in world biz

Image: Kraft Foods Inc CEO Irene Rosenfeld.
Photographs: John Gress/Reuters
Irene Rosenfeld

Irene Rosenfeld, who is ranked the 4th most powerful businesswoman in the list, cites her childhood experience as a school basketball captain, when she regularly led her team to victory, as a reason for her success says the FT report.

The chief executive of Kraft since 2006, she became chairman after Altria Group spun off the food maker in March 2007.

In an industry that is prone to fluctuations, Rosenfeld's marketing acumen has kept her ahead of rivals, says FT.

Rosenfeld has nearly 3 decades of experience in the food and beverage industry. Rosenfeld's leadership helped make Kraft Foods one of the leading food and beverage companies in the world. She joined Kraft Foods in 1981.

Nooyi, Bali among top women in world biz

Image: Guler Sabanci, MD, Sabanci Group
Guler Sabanci

Guler Sabanci, 5th on the list, is the head of her family owned company, the Sabanci Group, the second-biggest industrial and financial conglomerate in Turkey. The company's business spans includes banking, food, tyre manufacture etc.

Sabanci has this advice for aspiring executives: "It is important what you are doing but it is much more important with whom you are doing it."

Guler Sabanci is the first female board member of the Turkish Industrialists' and Businessmen's Association (TUSIAD), the first Turkish member of the International Business Council and the first female member of the European Round Table of Industrialists.

Nooyi, Bali among top women in world biz

Image: Gail Kelly, MD, Westpac
Gail Kelly

Gail Kelly was appointed chief executive officer and managing director of Westpac on 1 February 2008. The FT list ranks her the 6th most powerful businesswoman in the world.

Prior to this, she served as chief executive officer and managing director of St.George Bank for five and a half years. During this period, St.George doubled its assets and net profit.

Gail also worked at the Commonwealth Bank. Gail began her career at Nedcor Bank, one of the largest banks in South Africa.

Nooyi, Bali among top women in world biz

Image: Annika Falkengren, CEO, SEB group
Annika Falkengren

Annika Falkengren, 7th on the list, assumed the role of president and group chief executive of the SEB Group on November 10, 2005.

SEB is a financial group for corporate customers, institutions and private individuals operating in the Nordic and the Baltic countries, Germany, Poland and the Ukraine.

Falkengren joined SEB in 1987 after graduating with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and Economics degree from the University of Stockholm.

Nooyi, Bali among top women in world biz

Image: Yoshiko Shinohara, MD, Temp Holdings
Photographs: Courtesy, Temp Holdings
Yoshiko Shinohara

Yoshiko Shinohara founded Tempstaff in 1973, one of the largest temporary staffing agencies in Japan. She learnt about staffing services when in Australia 35 years ago. FT ranks her in the 8th position.

"I founded Tempstaff because I knew that women would soon become more active in the Japanese workforce, and I wanted to create opportunities for them," Shinohara says.

"Working provides us with an opportunity to broaden our knowledge; indeed, all aspects of work - including success and failure - provide seeds for personal growth," she says.

In October 2008, Tempstaff merged with another Japanese group, People Staff, to create Temp Holdings.

Nooyi, Bali among top women in world biz

Image: Dong Mingzhu, CEO, Gree Electric Appliances.
Dong Mingzhu

"I never miss. I never admit mistakes and I am always correct," Dong Mingzhu, one of China's leading businesswomen and ranked 9th in the FT list, once said in an interview.

She heads China's largest air-conditioning manufacturer, Gree Electric Appliances. She was responsible for building Gree to its present day status with several innovative measures.

In 2006 she was ranked among the "magnificent 10" economic leaders of China.

Nooyi, Bali among top women in world biz

Image: Ho Ching, CEO, Temasek Holdings
Ho Ching

Ho Ching has been running Temasek Holdings, Singapore's state investment company and one of the world's oldest sovereign wealth funds, since 2002. She rounds off FT's top 10 most powerful businesswomen list at the tenth position.

Ho, who is the wife of Singapore PM, drove Temasek's expansion outside Singapore with acquisitions in China, Europe and the US, increasing financial assets to 40 percent of the fund's portfolio.

She will however, step down from October 1, 2009.

She joined Temasek as a director in January 2002, becoming its executive director in May 2002.

She began career with the Ministry of Defence and held various positions in the Defence Science Organisation and the Defence Materiel Organisation.