In this moment of crisis, Fortune listed the top 23 women in business and asked: How are they using their influence to shape the wider world for the better?
Photographed above: General Motors CEO Mary Barra (No. 2 on the ranking)
2020 will be the year when we finally say goodbye to business as usual.
From value creation, to Artificial Intelligence, to practices, habits and ways of leadership, the pandemic is redefining where work is done and how as society comes to terms with the enormity of the shared experiences.
When it comes to consumer-facing, consultants say companies are coming to the realization that they need a leader at the top who understands the American consumer, and that most people driving purchase decisions in households are women, and with a record 41 female CEOs are heading to lead Fortune 500 companies come February, it seems that 2021 arrives with a general notion of the size and importance that woman have in business and in the global economy.
Since 1998, when Carly Fiorina took the #1 spot, Fortune has ranked the Most Powerful Women (MPW) in Business using these criteria, but with COVID-19 disrupting everything we know, the approach with this ranking turned into revealing the how an executive is wielding her power, especially in this moment of crisis and uncertainty, is she using her influence to shape her company and the wider world for the better?
This new criterion has paved the way for 13 newcomers to be added to the list (up from 10 newcomers in 2019, and 7 in 2018). It has also led to a drop in the ranking of executives like Facebook’s COO Sheryl Sandberg and YouTube’s CEO Susan Wojcicki, whose “failure to rein in misinformation on their platforms overshadows their companies’ strong financial performance.” The top 5 women on the list are the CEOs of their companies: Accenture, General Motors, Fidelity Investments, Anthem, and UPS.
From February 2021 will become the first woman to head a major U.S. bank. The total market cap of public companies led by MPW CEOs is $1.02 trillion.Abigail Johnson, Ginni Rometty and Gail Boudreaux leading as the top women in business in 2019, the top five of 2020 are composed of Julie Sweet, again Mary Barra, Abigail Johnson, Carol Tomé and Jane Fraser, who in
Editor-in-Chief Clifton Leaf discussed to PRNewswire FORTUNE’s decision to award Accenture’s Sweet the top spot: “[Accenture], which commands a market cap of close to $150 billion, brought in $44.3 billion in revenue in its latest fiscal year, while profits rose 7% from the previous year. As the team writes: ‘Sweet steered Accenture’s more than half-a-million employees in 51 countries through the pandemic, a crisis that has made the firm’s skills more essential than ever.’ While some retail CEOs fell off the Fortune ranking, it elevated executives like Walmart International CEO Judith McKenna and Home Depot executive vice president Ann-Marie Campbell—both hailing from companies poised to emerge from this period stronger than ever.
THE TOP 10 OF FORTUNE’S 50 MOST POWERFUL WOMEN 2020 is as follows:
1. Julie Sweet, CEO, Accenture
2. Mary Barra, Chairman and CEO, General Motors
3. Abigail Johnson, Chairman and CEO, Fidelity Investments
4. Gail Boudreaux, President and CEO, Anthem
5. Carol Tomé, CEO, UPS
6. Jane Fraser, CEO of Global Consumer Banking; President, Citi
7. Ruth Porat, SVP and CFO, Google, Alphabet
8. Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook
9. Corie Barry, CEO, Best Buy
10. Judith McKenna, President and CEO, Walmart International, Walmart