Updated: Oct 05, 2014 3:57 PM UTC | Originally published: Sep 18, 2014
For 16 years, Fortune has ranked the most powerful women in American business. For almost as long, we have done the same for the most powerful women outside of America.
This year we’re trying something new. In February, Fortune launched its first-ever Most Powerful Women Global edition, and in this issue we have created a ranking for two segments of the world where women are making the most progress: Europe, the Middle East, and Africa (EMEA), and the Asia-Pacific region. (We did not include women from less well-represented areas, such as Maria das Graças Foster, CEO of Brazilian oil giant Petrobras. She topped our MPW International list in 2013.)
Our franchise is expanding for good reason: More and more businesswomen are taking tougher jobs and helming bigger firms. More than a third of the women on our Asia-Pacific list are making their MPW debut—for example, Lucy Peng (No. 11) and Maggie Wu (No. 12) from Chinese e-commerce behemoth Alibaba. Then there’s Kwon Seon-joo (No. 15), who became Korea’s first female bank CEO last December, and two new women from India, Arundhati Bhattacharya (No. 4) of State Bank of India and Nishi Vasudeva (No. 5) of Hindustan Petroleum, who are the first women leading their respective Fortune Global 500 companies. See our EMEA list here or scroll to meet the power women shaping the new world order in the Asia-Pacific region.
(Note: #s in parentheses were from last year's rankings)
1. Gail Kelly, 58
Managing Director and CEO, Westpac Group Australia (3) Originally from South Africa, Kelly began her career there as a bank teller. In 2002, she went down under and these days she sits atop Australia’s oldest and third largest bank, Westpac, (which ranks No. 288 on this year’s Fortune Global 500 list) with $38.5 billion in revenues. Since taking the reins in 2008, Kelly has steered the bank to steady dividend growth, near record stock prices and rising profits—up 8% to $7 billion in 2013. She’s also made progress toward another goal: gender parity in Westpac senior management positions BY 2017. Westpac's senior team is now 42% female, up from 32% in 2010.
2. Chanda Kochhar, 52
Managing Director and CEO, ICICI Bank India (4)
3. Chua Sock Koong, 57
CEO, Singapore Telecommunications Singapore (7)
4. Arundhati Bhattacharya, 58
Chairman, State Bank of India India (New) Bhattacharya, the first woman to hold the three-year post at SBI, oversees a 208-year-old institution with $400 billion in assets and 218,000 employees dispersed among 16,000 bank branches across India. Bhattacharya, who studied English literature before embarking on her 37-year career at SBI, became Chairman last October just as the economy was slowing and bad loans were piling up on the bank’s books. She got straight to work, implementing stricter lending requirements and making efforts to modernize the bank and increase its reach.
5. Nishi Vasudeva, 58
Chairman and Managing Director, Hindustan Petroleum India (New) In March, Vasudeva, 58, became the first woman to head an Indian oil company, and one of only four women to helm a Global Fortune 500 firm in the Asia-Pacific region. The 36-year energy industry veteran is leading a rapid technology upgrade of the $39 billion-in-revenue state-owned energy company and considering overseas acquisitions.
6. Li Dang, 47
President, China General Technology China (New)
7. Ho Ching, 61
Executive Director and CEO, Temasek Singapore (12)
8. Dong Mingzhu, 60
Chairperson and President, Gree Electric Appliances of Zhuhai China (30)
9. Wang Fengying, 44
CEO and Executive Director, Great Wall Motor China (31) China’s first female auto executive, Fengying took a sales job at Great Wall in 1991. She rose quickly, as did the company, which is now China’s largest maker of SUVs. Its goal is to surpass the sales numbers of Jeep in a few short years. While sales were up 32% in 2013, Great Wall hit rough road earlier this year when it had production delays and transmission problems with its new luxury SUV. Other tests for Fengying: declining sales and increasing preference among Chinese consumers for foreign-made autos. Still, the company is in expansion mode: it added 9,000 employees earlier this year and has invested $520 million in a manufacturing plant in Russia.
10. Shikha Sharma, 55
Managing Director and CEO, Axis Bank India (32)
11. Lucy Peng, 41
Chief People Officer and CEO, Small and Micro Financial Services company, Alibaba Group China (New)
12. Maggie Wu, 46
Chief Financial Officer, Alibaba Group China (New)
13. Sun Yafang, 58
Chairwoman, Huawei Technologies China (26)
14. Hyun Jeong-eun, 59
Chairman, Hyundai Group South Korea (New)
15. Kwon Seon-joo, 57
CEO, Industrial Bank of Korea South Korea (New)
16. Wu Yajun, 50
Executive Director and Chairman, Longfor Properties China (New) A real estate-journalist turned property tycoon, Yajun founded Longfor Properties with her husband in 1994 and has since become one of China’s wealthiest women. The couple divorced in 2012 (her stake is now 43%; his is 29%) and the country’s property market has cooled, but Yajun has kept Longor, one of China’s largest real estate firms, humming along. Revenues were up 49% in 2013 to $6.8 billion, and the company, which specializes in homes and the “Paradise Walk” mall, expanded development to 23 cities. Yajun also serves as a representative of the National Peoples’ Congress.
17. Zhang Xin, 49
CEO, SOHO China China (50)
18. Wei Sun Christianson, 58
Co-CEO, Asia Pacific, and CEO, China, Morgan Stanley China (41)
19. Kiran Mazumdar-Shaw, 61
Chairperson and Managing Director, Biocon India (Return)
20. Rachel Duan, 44
President and CEO, GE Greater China China (New) GE tapped its China Healthcare unit chief to also run Greater China—one of its key growth markets—in July, after the previous CEO transferred to France. The nearly 20-year company veteran now oversees almost $7 billion in revenue, 18,000 employees and 30 wholly owned subsidiaries and joint ventures. The US-educated Chinese native is pushing a shift of the country’s energy use toward natural gas, key to the US conglomerate’s growth in the region.
21. Alison Watkins, 51
Group Managing Director, Coca-Cola Amatil Australia (38) Coca Cola Amatil, one of Coca-Cola’s top ten bottlers, hired outsider Watkins, 51, the former head of GrainCorp., to take over from long-serving head Terry Davis this year. That makes Watkins one of only four female CEOs of Australia’s top 50 listed companies. The group, which is also one of Australia’s largest premium foods and beverage manufacturers with $6.4 billion in market capitalization and 14,000 employees, is looking to Watkins to expand its brewery business and internationalize its operations.
22. Chitra Ramkrishna, 51
Managing Director and CEO, National Stock Exchange India (17)
23. Naina Lal Kidwai, 57
Country Head, India, and Director, HSBC Asia-Pacific India (42)
24. Cher Wang, 56
Chairwoman, HTC and VIA Technologies Taiwan (Return)
25. Mallika Srinivasan, 54
Chairman and CEO, TAFE India (New) Under her watch, the tractor company her father started in 1960 in Southern India has grown into the third biggest tractor maker in the world by volume. TAFE manufactures over 170,000 tractors a year—up from 4,000 in 1985, when she joined the group. The business, valued at $1.6 billion, is relatively small, but for Wharton-educated Srinivasan the key is exports. Her long-term strategic alliance with US based agriculture equipment manufacturer AGCO (in which TAFE is a large stock owner and she is a board member) has helped TAFE become India’s largest exporter of tractors. The President of India honored her this year with the Padmashri, one of the highest civilian awards, for her contribution to trade and industry.