Angela Merkel is named the world's most powerful woman by Forbes

Angela Merkel is named the world’s most powerful woman by Forbes for ninth year running, as she is praised for ‘standing up to Trump and allowing a million refugees into Germany’

  • German Chancellor Angela Merkel tops Forbes’ list of the most powerful women 
  • The publication praised her for her ‘steely reserve’ and for standing up to Trump 
  • Growing up behind the iron curtain, Merkel has served as Chancellor since 2005
  • Also in top 3 are ECB head Christine Lagarde and House Speaker Nancy Pelosi 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been crowned Forbes’ most powerful woman for the ninth year running. 

The German leader topped the Forbes 2019 list of the most powerful women in the world, closely followed by European Central Bank head Christine Lagard from from France, and US Speaker of the House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi. 

The publication praised her for her ‘steely reserve’, for standing up for US President Donald Trump and her ‘open door’ refugee policy which saw more than a million Syrian refugees enter the country amid the 2015 migrant crisis. 

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has been crowned Forbes’ most powerful woman for the ninth year running

Growing up behind the iron curtain in the former East Germany, Merkel rose to become the Chancellor of Germany, a position she has served in since 2005. She led the country’s centre-right Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party for 18 years, from 2000-2018. 

She has often been hailed as the de facto leader of the European Union and even the ‘leader of the free world’.  

Her time in office is expected to come to an end in 2021, with Merkel announcing last year that she intends to step down at the time of the next federal election in Germany. 

This would make her the second longest-serving chancellor in Germany’s federal republic, behind Helmut Kohl. 

In second on the list is Christine Lagarde, who became the first woman to head the European Central Bank (ECB) on November 1. The election means Lagarde is in charge of European monetary policy. 

Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi came in third on the list. Pelosi’s role makes her the highest-ranking elected woman in the country and second-in-line for the presidency. 

In second on the list is Christine Lagarde (pictured), who became the first woman to head the European Central Bank (ECB) on November 1

Speaker of the US House of Representatives Nancy Pelosi (pictured) came in third. Pelosi’s role makes her the highest-ranking elected woman in the country and second-in-line for the presidency

This year she initiated the fourth-ever impeachment proceedings in history, against US President Donald Trump.

This year saw 23 newcomers on the Forbes list, including youth climate activist Greta Thunberg, who was named at number 100 and honoured for ‘galvanizing millions of young people around the globe.’

The publication recalled Thunberg’s now-infamous words at the United Nations General Assembly in September: ‘You have stolen my dreams and my childhood with your empty words.’   

Forbes’ 100 Most Powerful Women 2019 

1. Angela Merkel, German Chancellor The German leader topped the Forbes 2019 list of the most powerful women in the world, for her ‘steely reserve’ and standing up to Donald Trump.

2. Christine Lagarde, head of the European Central Bank Lagarde, who became the first woman to head the European Central Bank (ECB) on November 1, putting her in charge of European monetary policy 

3. Nancy Pelosi, US Speaker of the House of Representatives Pelosi is the 52nd Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives. The role makes her the highest-ranking elected woman in the country

4. Ursula von der Leyen, President of the European Commission Von der Leyen has served as president of the European Commission since July and is the first woman in the role 

5. Mary Barra, CEO, General Motors She has served as CEO of GM for five years and has invested billions in electric cars

6. Melinda Gates, Co-Chair, Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation Founded in 2000, it’s the world’s largest private charitable foundation 

7. Abigail Johnson, CEO, Fidelity Investments She has served as CEO since 2014 and chairman since 2016. She has also embraced cryptocurrencies

8. Ana Patricia Botín, Executive Chairman, Santander Botín became chair of the company in 2014 after her father’s death and has championed fintech

9. Ginni Rometty, CEO, IBM The first woman to head the company, she first joined IBM as a systems engineer in 1981

10. Marillyn Hewson, CEO, Lockheed Martin Hewson joined defense company Lockheed Corporation in 1983 before becoming CEO in 2013 and has helped put the company at the forefront of security

11. Gail Boudreaux, President and CEO, Anthem An American businesswoman, Boudreaux fronts the second largest American company with a woman as CEO, after serving as executive for a number of companies 

12. Susan Wojcicki, CEO, YouTube An American technology executive who has been the Chief Executive Officer of YouTube since February 2014 and was involved in the founding of Google 

13. Isabelle Kocher, CEO, ENGIE A French businesswoman who rose to become the only woman CEO in the CAC 40 index

14.  Safra Catz, CEO, Oracle An Israeli-born American banker and technology executive. She is the current CEO of Oracle Corporation. She has been an executive at Oracle Corporation since April 1999

15. Kristalina Georgieva, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund A Bulgarian economist, she has been managing director of the International Monetary Fund since October 2019

16. Julie Sweet, CEO, Accenture Sweet became the CEO of global services company Accenture in September 2019. Diversity is a priority for her. ‘A culture of equality helps everyone. It is not a zero-sum game,’ she told Forbes

17.  Emma Walmsley, CEO, GlaxoSmithKline She succeeded Sir Andrew Witty, who retired in March 2017. Before working for GSK she worked for L’Oréal for 17 years and was a non-executive director of Diageo until September 2016

18. Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook An American social media executive, author, and billionaire. She is the chief operating officer of Facebook and founder of

19. Ruth Porat, Senior Vice President and CFO, Google An American business executive, who is chief financial officer of Alphabet Inc. and its subsidiary Google

20. Oprah Winfrey, Entrepreneur, Personality, Philanthropist Winfrey transformed her talk show, which ran for 25 years, into a media and business empire

21.  Judith McKenna, CEO, Walmart International CEO of Walmart’s international division since 2018. Previously, she held leadership roles within Walmart’s US division and Asda, a subsidiary of Walmart International

22. Jessica Tan, Ping An Insurance Group (Class A) Before joining Ping An, Tan was a partner at McKinsey. She holds a degree in engineering from MIT

23. Ho Ching, Executive Director and CEO, Temasek She is married to the current Prime Minister of Singapore, Lee Hsien Loong. Ho first joined Temasek Holdings as a Director in January 2002 then became its Executive Director in May 2002 and was appointed Chief Executive Officer in 2004

24. Phebe Novakovic, CEO, General Dynamics Chairwoman and CEO of defense giant General Dynamics since 2013 and one of the only female executives in the military-industrial space

25. Shari Redstone, Chairwoman, ViacomCBS  The daughter of media mogul Sumner Redstone, is chairwoman of media empire ViacomCBS

26. Amy Hood, Executive Vice President and CFO, Microsoft An American businesswoman currently serving as the Chief Financial Officer at Microsoft Corporation. Hood joined Microsoft in 2002 holding positions in the investor relations group.

27. Stacey Cunningham, President, NYSE Group A banker, and the 67th president of the New York Stock Exchange. She is the second female president of the NYSE

28. Jessica Uhl, CFO, Royal Dutch Shell Uhl was announced as the chief financial officer of Royal Dutch Shell from March 2017 to replace Simon Henry

29. Sheikh Hasina Wajed, Prime Minister, Bangladesh Wazed is a Bangladeshi politician serving as the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, having held the office since 2009. She had previously served as Prime Minister from 1996 to 2001

30. Adena Friedman, President and CEO, NASDAQ An American businessperson. She currently serves as the president and CEO of Nasdaq. She was formerly the managing director and CFO of The Carlyle Group

31. Mary Callahan Erdoes, CEO, J.P. Morgan Asset & Wealth Management, Chase Erdoes remains a strong rainmaker for JPMorgan Chase

32. Jane Fraser, President, Citigroup A Scottish-American banking executive. Educated at Girton College, Cambridge, and Harvard Business School, she was a partner at McKinsey & Company for 10 years before joining Citigroup in 2004

33. Laurene Powell Jobs & family, Founder and President, Emerson Collective Executive and the founder of Emerson Collective, a social impact organization that advocates for policies concerning education and immigration reform, social justice and environmental conservation

34.  Nirmala Sitharaman, India’s first full-time female finance minister An Indian politician of the Bharatiya Janata Party, who is currently serving as the Minister of Finance and Minister of Corporate Affairs. She previously served as Indian defense minister

35. Marianne Lake, CEO of Consumer Lending, Chase Former chief financial officer of the bank JPMorgan Chase. She was appointed on 20 November 2012, replacing Douglas Braunstein

36. Gina Rinehart, Executive Chairman, Hancock Prospecting Australia’s richest citizen who built her wealth on iron ore

37. Kathy Warden, CEO, President and Chairman, Northrop Grumman Served as CEO and president of Northrop Grumman Corporation since January 2019

38. Jacinda Ardern, Prime Minister, New Zealand Ardern set new norms as a government leader when she gave birth, took six weeks maternity leave and shared that her partner will be a stay-at-home dad

39. Anne Finucane, Vice Chairman, Bank of America An American banker who is vice chair of Bank of America. She leads the bank’s environmental, social and corporate governance committee

40. Queen Elizabeth II, Monarch, United Kingdom Queen Elizabeth is the longest-reigning monarch in British history. She is much-loved and respected worldwide 

41. Tsai Ing-wen, President, Taiwan The first female leader of Taiwan (and the first unmarried president) of the country when she was elected in 2016

42. Ivanka Trump, Advisor to the President, The White House, United States An Advisor to the President who has taken on a role in the White House that is unprecedented for first daughters

43. Rosalind Brewer, COO, Starbucks The first African-American and first woman to serve as COO of the company

44. Mingzhu Dong, Chairperson and President, Gree Electric Appliances She joined Gree in 1990 as a salesperson. Today she is president of China’s top air-conditioning manufacturer and a major player in the world market

45. Erna Solberg, Prime Minister, Norway Dubbed Norway’s Angela Merkel, Solberg was elected to a second term in 2017 after steering the country through an oil crisis

46.  Dana Walden, Chairman, Disney Television Studios and ABC Entertainment, Walt Disney Walden heads 20th Century Fox TV, ABC Studios, the Freeform network, ABC-owned TV stations, ABC Entertainment and other divisions

47. Vicki Hollub, CEO and President, Occidental Petroleum Hollub became the first woman to head a major American oil company when she was named the president and CEO of Occidental Petroleum in 2016

48. Jennifer Salke, head, Amazon Studios A former NBC Entertainment president who was named head of streaming giant Amazon Studios in February 2018

49. Jennifer Morgan, Co-CEO, SAP SE Morgan went from head of regulated businesses at SAP to overseeing the Americas, Japan, and Asia Pacific in five years

50. Nicola Sturgeon, First Minister of Scotland, United Kingdom A Scottish politician who is currently serving as the fifth First Minister of Scotland and leader of the Scottish National Party since November 2014

51. Donna Langley, Chairman, Universal Pictures, Comcast Donna Langley is a British movie executive who is Chairwoman of Universal Pictures. She was profiled in Variety’s ‘Power of Women’

52. Thi Phuong Thao Nguyen, Cofounder and Chairman, Sovico Holdings A Vietnamese businesswoman, and the President and CEO of VietJet Air

53. Elvira Nabiullina, Governor, Central Bank of Russia A Russian economist and head of the Central Bank of Russia. She was Russian President Vladimir Putin’s economic adviser between May 2012 to June 2013

54. Roshni Nadar Malhotra, CEO and Executive Director, HCL Enterprise The Executive Director and the CEO of HCL Enterprise. She is the only child of HCL’s founder, Shiv Nadar

55. Gwynne Shotwell, President and COO, SpaceX An American businesswoman and engineer. She is the President and Chief Operating Officer at SpaceX, an American space transportation company

56. Tricia Griffith, President and CEO, Progressive Insurance Company Ltd. Griffith began her time at Progressive 31 years ago. Progressive is the third-largest car insurer in 2019

57. Maggie Wei Wu, CFO and Head of Strategic Investments, Alibaba Group Wu Wei known professionally as Maggie Wu, is a Chinese business executive who is the Chief Financial Officer of Alibaba Group, a family of Internet-based businesses

58. Feng Ying Wang, CEO, Great Wall Motor Company Limited A Chinese businesswoman, and the CEO and deputy chairman of Great Wall Motor. Wang Fengying was born in Baoding in Hebei province in the north of China

59. Lynn Good, Chairman, President and CEO, Duke Energy Chairman, president and chief executive officer of Duke Energy, a Fortune 500 company. Good is an Ohio native and graduated from Miami University where she earned a BS in Systems Analysis and in Accounting

60. Paula Santilli, CEO, PepsiCo Latin America, PepsiCo Santilli started in her role as CEO of PepsiCo Latin America in May 2019 and leads the company’s food and beverage businesses for Mexico, South America, Central America, and the Caribbean

61. Rihanna, Musician Rihanna has made a fortune from Fenty Beauty, the makeup brand she co-owns

62. Melanie Kreis, CFO, Deutsche Post CFO of Deutsche Post, the world’s largest logistics company, since October 2016. She is also the only woman on its executive board

63. Hooi Ling Tan, co-founder and COO of Grab Holdings Inc. A Malaysian entrepreneur. She is best known as the co-founder and Chief Operating Officer of Singapore-based ride-hailing company, Grab Holdings Inc. Tan was a business analyst at McKinsey & Company before she co-founded Grab with Anthony Tan while attending Harvard Business School

64. Bonnie Hammer, Chairman, NBCUniversal Content Studios, Comcast As Chairman of NBCUniversal Cable, Hammer oversees the leading cable brands USA, The Sci-Fi Channel, E!, Bravo, Oxygen, Esquire Network and more

65. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, Founder, Chair and Managing Director, Biocon Mazumdar-Shaw, India’s richest self-made woman, founded India’s largest biopharmaceutical firm in 1978

66. Beyoncé Knowles, Musician Beyonce’s On The Run II stadium tour with husband Jay-Z grossed roughly $5 million per night

67. Zhou Qunfei, Founder and CEO, Lens Technology Qunfei is a Chinese entrepreneur who founded the major touchscreen maker Lens Technology. After the public listing of her company on the Shenzhen ChiNext market in March 2015, her net worth reached US$10 billion, making her the richest woman in China

68. Sophie Wilmes, Prime Minister of Belgium A Belgian politician who currently serves as Prime Minister of Belgium. She is the first female head of government of Belgium

69. Jane Jie Sun, CEO, International A Chinese businesswoman, and the CEO of Ctrip, the largest online travel agency in China, since November 2016

70. Katharine Viner, Editor-in-Chief, Guardian News & Media A British journalist and first female editor-in-chief at The Guardian since June 2015 succeeding Alan Rusbridger. Viner previously headed The Guardian’s web operations in Australia and the United States

71. Taylor Swift, musician 

72. Judy Faulkner, CEO and Founder, Epic Systems 

73. Güler Sabanci, Chairman and Managing Director, Sabanci Holding

74. Kathleen Kennedy, President, Lucasfilm

75. Mette Frederiksen, Prime Minister, Denmark 

76. Sri Mulyani Indrawati, Minister of Finance, Indonesia

77. Andrea Marques de Almeida, CFO, Petrobras 

78. Solina Chau, Director, Li Ka Shing Foundation

79. Ava DuVernay, filmmaker, producer and director 

80. Zuzana Caputova, President, Slovakia

81. Serena Williams, athlete, tennis 

82. Mary Meeker, General Partner, Bond Capital

83. Lam Wai Ying, Chairman, Biel Crystal

84. Raja Easa Al Gurg, Managing director, Easa Saleh Al Gurg Group

85. Eliza Manningham-Buller, Chair, Wellcome Trust

86. Jenny Lee, Managing Partner, GGV Capital

87. Lee Boo-jin, President and CEO, Hotel Shilla

88. Ana Brnabic,Prime Minister, Serbia

89. Meg Whitman, CEO, Quibi 

90. Reese Witherspoon, actress 

91. Anne Wojcicki, Cofounder and CEO, 23andMe

92. Aileen Lee,Founder and General Partner, Cowboy Ventures

93. Sahle-Work Zewde, President, Ethiopia

94. Dominique Senequier, Founder and President, Ardian

95. Kirsten Green, Founder and Managing Partner, Forerunner Ventures

96. Renuka Jagtiani, chairwoman and CEO, Landmark Group 

97. Rania Nashar, CEO, Samba Financial Group

98. Amina Mohammed,Deputy Secretary-General, United Nations

99. Margarita Louis-Dreyfus & family, President, Louis Dreyfus SAS

100. Greta Thunberg, teen climate activist 

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