Maria Das Graças Foster
Graças leads the largest deep-water oil producer in the world, with $146 billion in revenue, 84,000 employees and production of some 2.6 million barrels of oil per day. Though global economic conditions have hurt the stock (return is down 8% since Foster took the helm in February 2012), the company lifer is working hard to shore up Petrobras' future: She's unveiled a plan to invest $236.5 billion over five years, and she's launched an initiative to more than double oil output to 5.7 million barrels a day by 2020.
She was only 43, and serving as COO, when the tobacco giant named her successor to Gareth Davis in 2009, the CEO for the last decade. Under her watch, cigarette manufacturer Imperial Tobacco (brands include Davidoff and Gold Leaf) has outperformed the FTSE over the last one year and booked revenues of $24.4 billion, excluding excise taxes, in 2011. The 13-year company veteran -- one of only four women to run one of Britain's top 100 companies -- manages more than 38,000 employees in 160 markets.
Peterson, 53, recently announced that in December she'll move over to Johnson & Johnson, overseeing its $15 billion global consumer business, supply chain and IT operations. As CEO of Bayer CropScience, the German conglomerate's $10 billion agriculture business, she has pushed profits up 26% to $2 billion in the first half of 2012. She has also signed 30 international acquisitions and ventures in the last two years, including the recent nearly $500 million acquisition of U.S.-based AgraQuest. She is the first female chief in Bayer's 150-year history and in her next move she will she will be the most senior women at J&J -- and a likely candidate for Fortune's domestic MPW list.
The 53-year-old Agustiawan, Pertamina's youngest CEO in its more than 50-year history, is leading the $64 billion conglomerate through a transformation, pushing alternative energy development and aggressively targeting business overseas. She successfully issued a $2.5 billion global bond in May this year, raising extra capital to target oil blocks worldwide. She recently acquired a 32% stake in Venezuelan oil and gas company Petrodelta, and has set a production target of 2.2 billion barrels of oil per day by 2025.
Corley took the helm last year as German insurance giant Allianz restructured and split its investment management business into two units. (U.S.-based Pimco is the other arm.) Despite a risk-averse environment, Allianz Gobal Investors pulled in operating profits of $218 million in the first six months of 2012. But Corley's no buttoned-up banker: She's also an acclaimed author of thriller novels. She's published four books, and a fifth is in the works.
Mary Lynn Ferguson-McHugh
Ferguson-McHugh started at P&G more than 25 years ago as an assistant brand manager for Vicks NyQuilin, and rose through the ranks to become the first woman to lead P&G's operations in Western Europe. The region represents 19% of P&G's global business, or almost $16 billion in net sales. The 53-year-old Wharton grad, credited with ratcheting up record sales for the company's storied brands like Bounty, is using her skills to revitalize sales in the challenging markets of Western European.
Gheorghe became CEO of OMV Petrom, two years after its privatization, and she took aim at modernizing southeastern Europe's largest oil and gas producer. Under her watch the company has grown by every metric, delivering stellar results: Sales of $5.6 billion were up 27% in 2011 and profits jumped almost 80% to $1.2 billion. This year she hammered a deal with ExxonMobil for deep-sea exploration of hydrocarbons in the Romanian share of the Black Sea.
McCall, 51, spent 24 years at the Guardian Media Group, rising to CEO before she decamped to EasyJet in 2010 to run the low-cost airline. In her first full year at the helm of Europe's third biggest carrier by passenger number she steered the airline to record growth: Revenue was up 14% to $5.6 billion in 2011 and profits of $394 million were the carrier's highest ever. Shares of EasyJet have returned some 80% in the last 12 months.
Gass, a Starbucks lifer who recently ran the company's Seattle Best unit moved to Europe last year to help perk up profits in the lagging EMEA markets. The 44-year-old has introduced stores in Morocco, Finland and Norway, and added 32 new stores to the existing 1,800 in the region. A yoga enthusiast, Gass serves on Ann Inc.'s board.
Courville heads Hydro-Quebec's $10 billion distribution unit, pulling in 87% of the company's gross revenues. The engineer has a $216 million energy efficiency plan lined up, and is transitioning the group towards a smarter grid with next-generation meters. The former Bell Canada executive serves on the boards of Laurentian Bank of Canada, Miranda Technologies, École Polytechnique de Montréal and the Board of Trade of Metropolitan Montreal.
Lululemon's stock has returned over 200% since Day became CEO in 2008, and the high-end yoga apparel company is now one of the world's fastest growing lifestyle brands (revenue, which hit $1 billion in 2011, is expected to increase 36% this year). Day, who spent 20 years at Starbucks prior to taking the Lululemon gig, added 15 new stores this year, including 11 in the US and one in Australia, taking the number of corporate-owned locations to 189. The next frontier: Asia.
The veteran Chinese fund manager joined the group in 2002, moved up to the Chairman's seat in 2009, and last year bought out the company's founders to become sole owner, with assets under management of $2.8 billion. She started her investing career in 1993, and her investing chops have earned her the nickname "China's female Buffett". Though sell-offs in a volatile market hit growth this year, and assets plunged 30%, Liu is bullish on stellar returns post China's leadership transition.
CEO of Russia's second biggest airline after Aeroflot, Pleshakova, 45, has transformed the loss-making carrier into a global competitor, with explosive growth in the last decade. Profits have soared 215% to $64.5 million in 2011 (from a loss of $4 million in 2001 when she took over), on revenues of $2.95 billion, up 42% last year. Transaero now has a fleet of 95 planes, up from 7 aircraft in 2001, and Pleshakova recently inked a $744 million deal for four Boeing Dreamliner jets.