The Most Powerful Women in Business
Today’s business landscape is more evolved and equal than ever, where people of all gender, sexual orientation and colour can succeed. In celebration of International Women’s Day today’s blog celebrates ‘The Most Powerful Women in Business’. Discover the incredible tactics these women have employed to cement their place in business history.
Ginni Rometty :
Ginni Rometty is the Chairman, CEO, and President of tech company IBM and was the first woman to lead the tech giant. She joined IBM as a systems engineer in 1981, and began working her way to the top. In 1991 she joined IBM’s consulting group and began to have a direct influence on the direction of the company. She became Chairman, CEO, and President of IBM in January 2012.
Her winning strategy at IBM so far has been her focus on investment new technologies. IBM began to invest in areas like mobile and cloud services under Rometty’s leadership, with revenue rising 69% for each division in 2013. Notably Rometty signed a strategic partnership with Apple, in order to provide IBM’s services on the mobile iOS platform.
Indra Nooyi is the Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo. Nooyi was born in Madras (now Chennai) India and having earned her MBA at the Indian Institute of Management Calcutta she began studying in Yale. Nooyi joined PepsiCo in 1994 and having risen through the ranks was named president and CFO in 2001 where she quickly launched a successful restructuring plan.
Nooyi’s winning strategy thus far at the helm of PepsiCo has been to place a renewed focus on product innovation. PepsiCo have been placing investment into research and development, with spending on R&D up 25% since 2001. The products that have launched in the last three years as a result of this research, make up 9% of the overall revenue of PepsiCo. With the total revenue standing at $66.4 billion in 2013 that means almost $6 billion was earned through new products alone.
Marillyn Hewson is the Chairman, CEO, and President of the Aerospace & Defence firm Lockheed Martin. Having studied at the Columbia Business School and Harvard Business School executive development programs Hewson joined Lockheed Martin in 1983 where she quickly ascended the ranks holding positions including President and Chief Operating Officer, and Executive Vice President of Lockheed Martin’s Electronic Systems business area.
Her winning strategy has been a focus on researching new industries. In her first year as CEO of the world’s largest defence contractor Marillyn Hewson saw record operating profits and earnings per share. Her focus now is to research new industries, including those in the renewable energy sector.
Kullman began her illustrious business career at General Electric, before joining DuPont in 1988. There she acted as the marketing manager in the company’s medical imaging business, before quickly moving up within the company. Kullman is also the former director of General Motors having held the position from 2004 to 2008.
Her winning strategy at DuPont has seen focus on higher-margin areas. Her overall of the 212-year-old company saw her focus on the high margin sectors including bioscience, advanced materials and nutrition. Since becoming the CEO in 2009 DuPont’s market cap has more than doubled, showing that investors approve of her new approach.
Meg Whitman is the Chairman, CEO, and President of technology company Hewlett-Packard. Having studied at Princeton University and Harvard Business School Whitman served as an executive in The Walt Disney Company during the 1980s. She quickly ascended the ranks as an executive for DreamWorks, Procter & Gamble, and Hasbro until serving as President and CEO of online trading websites eBay from 1998 to 2008. She also made a political run for Governor of California in 2009. In January 2011, Whitman joined Hewlett-Packard’s board of directors and became CEO the following September.
Whitman has worked in a number of industries, and her winning strategy thus far with HP has been to focus on succession planning. Whitman outlined that she has a five-year plan to turn around the struggling tech giant and in late 2014 HP’s sales rose for the first time in over three years.
Pat Woertz is the Chairman, CEO, and President of food production giant Archer Daniels Midland. After graduating from Penn State University Woertz began working for Ernst & Young, before moving to Gulf Oil. She became the President of Chevron International and then succeed to Executive Vice President of Chevron’s global downstream operations. In 2006 Woertz became the CEO of Archer Daniels Midland.
Since joining Archer Daniels Midland Woertz’s winning strategy has been a focus on diversification within the agri-giant. Having come from Chevron Woertz brought a focus on ethanol to Archer Daniels Midland. As part of her diversification strategy Woertz spent $3.1 billion acquiring the Swiss-German flavouring company Wild Flavors.
Abigail Johnson is the President of FMR, the parent of Fidelity Investments. Having completed an MBA at Harvard Business School Johnson joined Fidelity as an analyst and portfolio manager. In 1997 Johnson was promoted to an executive role, and continued to climb through the ranks of the company until becoming President in August 2012.
Her winning strategy since becoming President has been to focus on new and often forgotten demographics. Two key demographics that Johnson has focused on are women & millennials. Connecting with the latter aided Fidelity funds with leading Uber’s latest funding round.
Sheryl Sandberg is the COO of the world’s largest social network, Facebook. Sandberg served as chief of staff for the United States Secretary of the Treasury during the Clinton era, and joined Google in 2001. While there Sandberg served as the Vice President of Global Online Sales and Operations and played a key role in launching Google’s philanthropic arm Google.org.
Since joining Facebook Sandberg’s winning strategy has been a focus on mobile and acquisitions. During her tenure as COO Facebook’s 2013 profits rose by an absolutely incredible 2,730%, which is largely credited to the focus on mobile advertisement. Last year Facebook made two high profile acquisitions, buying WhatsApp for $19 billion and the tech-forward virtual-reality company Oculus VR for over $2 billion.