Turkey’s most influential businesswoman, Sabancı, 58, lands at No. 2 on our list this year (up from No. 6 last year and No. 20 a decade ago.) German electronics giant Siemens elected her to its supervisory board;a powerful advocate for Turkey’s EU bid, she is also leading the charge for the country’s vision to be among the top ten global economies by 2023. Within Turkey her reach is undeniable: She employees a workforce of some 60,000, and her businesses—spanning from cement to banking to energy—generated revenues of $14.6 billion in 2012; profits topped $1 billion fueled by new projects in the energy sector. The group’s $10 billion in market capitalization has almost doubled in the last two years.
Indonesia’s $70-billion-in-revenue state oil and gas conglomerate recently renewed Agustiawan’s contract, validating her leadership and earning her a spot at No. 6 on this year’s list, but from 19 a year ago. She is also the first female CEO to run this Fortune Global 500 company, which beat its 2012 earnings target, with net profits up 15% to $2.7 billion—the highest profits in the company’s 45-year history. A $5 billion global bond issued by Agustiawan in May was oversubscribed four times.
McCall has had her best year yet, and the biggest jump on our list—up from 35 last year to No. 9 this year. The $6-billion-in-revenue budget airline joined the FTSE 100 earlier this year, and paid out its first dividend to shareholders. Mccall, who took the reins in 2010, continues to pilot milestones: Profits are up 13% in 2012 and shares up 161% in the past 12 months.
Barbizet manages the Pinault family’s holding company, which includes businesses like Christie’s auction house, Groupe FNAC (retail distribution), and Kering (ex-PPR), the worlds third largest luxury group (think Gucci, Bottega Veneta and YSL). Profits shot up 214% to of $614 million in 2012, on revenues of $14 billion, up 19%. Heavyweight board seats like Total, Air France-KLM, and most recently PSA Peugeot Citroen (the French car maker), are a testament to her business savvy. She jumps to No. 13, up seven spots.
Known for her bold moves in the world of buyout funds, Senequier (No. 16 this year, up from No. 25 in 2012) has orchestrated a spinout of the private equity group she founded after joining the French Insurer AXA in 1996. It’s a big win: The newly created firm named Ardian—signifying strength and boldness—has $36 billion in assets. The outspoken ex-insurance commissioner has pulled off some of the largest deals on the secondaries market, and she reached a historic fundraising milestone last year, raising $8 billion in fund of funds.
The National Stock Exchange lifer, who was part of the core five-member team selected by the government to create a screen-based exchange in 1993, has shattered the glass ceiling, making history as the first woman to head an exchange in India. The board is banking on her twenty years of experience to oversee India’s largest exchange—7th largest in the world—with a total listed market capitalization of some $1 trillion. She is a newcomer at No. 17 to the International Power 50.
Newcomer Green (No. 18), 51, cold-called the group’s chairman, Frank Meysman, and convinced him to hire her to run the 172-year-old travel firm, after the previous CEO left under a cloud of losses and debt. The company is bouncing back just 14 months into her stint, after she undertook a complex $2.6 billion refinancing deal (which was oversubscribed), and a digital overhaul of the $15-billion-in-revenue business. Since Green, a medieval history major, took over, shares have soared tenfold and market capitalization has jumped from $243 million to $3.7 billion.
The highest-ranking woman in UK’s telecom industry, 38-year-old Garfield (No. 21) is in charge of BT’s $8 billion infrastructure division, and a work force of 25,000. She has been instrumental in driving BT’s largest investment program—spending more than $4.8 billion to roll out a new fiber broadband technology across the UK—the most ambitious deployment of super-fast fiber broadband in the world. Britain’s biggest grocery chain, Tesco, nominated her to its board this year. This International Power 50 Newcomer also made Fortune‘s annual 40 Under 40 list.
Sender (No. 23), 38, landed the top job at Brazil’s largest airline in March, within 15 months of joining the $7-billion-in-revenue group. Her challenge: To deliver on the promises of the group’s recent merger with Chile’s LAN, which created behemoth LATAM (the NYSE listed over $13-billion-in-revenue group), Latin America’s largest airline. The Harvard MBA grad (and former Whirlpool marketing guru) is the only female in the merged carrier’s C-suite, overseeing 30,000 employees, and Brazil’s fifth largest payroll. Also on the cards: Improving education in Brazil. Like Garfield, she makes her debut on the Fortune International MPW list, and also earned a spot on Fortune‘s annual 40 Under 40 list.