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. Women in the EMEA region had a big year. Moya Greene (No. 6), the first woman to head Royal Mail, Britain’s postal service, took it private and then oversaw its $3 billion IPO last October. Liv Garfield (No. 14), just 39 years old, took charge at British water company Severn Trent, becoming the youngest female executive ever on the FTSE 100. And on Sept. 10, Ana Botín hurtled to the top of the list when, following her father’s death, she was named head of Banco Santander, with $1.5 trillion in assets. Click here to see our list of Asia-Pacific women and meet the power women shaping the new world order in the EMEA below.
(Note: #s in parentheses were from last year’s rankings)
2. Alison Cooper, 48
Imperial Tobacco Group
Few would describe tobacco as a smoking hot industry, but Cooper, whose four-year tenure has been largely focused on cost-cutting, gave Imperial some momentum earlier this year with the $7.1 billion acquisition of a number of US cigarette brands—including Winston, Kool, and Salem, and importantly, Blu, the market-leading e-cigarette. The purchase makes Imperial a real player (#3 by market share) in the US and gives the company, which posted a 1% revenue decline in 2013, a shot at growth. Cooper started her career as an accountant and is known to enjoy Cuban cigars.
6. Moya Greene, 60
Greene became the first woman (not to mention Canadian) to head up the Royal Mail, the U.K.’s five-century-old postal service in 2010. The milestones have continued: she took the state-owned institution private and then oversaw its $3 billion IPO last October. With 150,000 employees, Royal Mail, which took in $15 billion in revenues in 2013, is one of Britain’s biggest employers. Greene has experience making change: as a civil servant in Canada, she oversaw the privatization of the country’s rail service and the deregulation of its airline industry.
7. Dominique Leroy, 49
It’s not easy running a state-owned telecom. Leroy became CEO of Belgacom—Belgium has a 53.5% stake—in January after her boss was canned for speaking too critically about regulations imposed by its largest shareholder (among other things, 4G has been slow to come to Brussels because of radiation protections.) She’s the first woman to head the $8.6 billion business, and the first Belgacom executive to be paid under a new law that caps annual pay of state-owned enterprises at $650,000 Euros ($840,000; her predecessor made $3.4 million). Leroy, who will serve a six-year term, joined the telecom in 2011 after 24 years at Unilever.
8. Ornella Barra, 60
Wholesale and Brands, Alliance Boots
Ornella Barra has always thought big. She trained as a pharmacist, and after a short stint in a local pharmacy, she decided to open her own. She then moved into the wholesale business and partnered with an entrepreneur, Stefano Pessina, who has been her professional and personal partner ever since. That business has developed into Alliance Boots, the global $35 billion drug and beauty chain (Pessina is Executive Chairman). As head of Wholesale and Brands at Alliance Boots, Barra oversees a business that operates in 25 countries and accounts for 80% of revenues. This year she led Alliance Boots into Latin America, and when its merger with Walgreen is finalized later this year, the company will become the largest purchaser of prescription drugs on the planet. Barra will be one of the new behemoth’s most senior executives.
15. Serpil Timuray, 45
Regional CEO AMAP
In January, the former CEO of Vodafone Turkey was promoted to oversee Africa, Middle East, Asia, and the Pacific (AMAP)—probably in part because Vodafone’s Turkish revenue almost doubled in four years under her watch. The task is huge: Timuray is responsible for 70% of the group’s subscribers in 13 countries and $25 billion in revenue. The former Danone Turkey CEO and P&G marketing executive is one of only two women in the British telecommunications company’s C-Suite.
18. Pascale Witz, 47
Executive VP, Global divisions and Strategic Development
Responsible for almost 50% of the French drug maker’s sales, Witz, 47, was recruited last year from GE Healthcare, where she served as CEO of medical diagnostics. Charged with setting the group’s strategic direction, the biologist also has direct oversight of key growth businesses like diabetes, oncology, and consumer healthcare.
21. Ceri Powell, 51
Global Head of Exploration
Royal Dutch Shell
When Powell, a company lifer, took charge of Shell’s global exploration last year, she became the highest-ranking female executive at the group, with a budget of almost $4 billion. Since then the geologist has led new discoveries in Australia, Malaysia, Nigeria, the Gulf of Mexico, and Albania among others, while also making the call to withdraw from explorations in Libya. British firm Carillion Plc. nominated her to its board this year.
23. Margarita Louis-Dreyfus, 52
Chairperson of Supervisory Board
Louis Dreyfus Holding
Margarita Louis-Dreyfus took control of the secretive agriculture commodities firm (the world’s third largest, with revenue of $64 billion in 2013) after her husband, Robert Louis-Dreyfus, died in 2009. The 160-year-old, privately-held French commodities leviathan is one of the largest cotton and rice traders and orange juice processors in the world. Hit with tough industry conditions, the group’s net income fell 42% in 2013 to $640 million, but the Russian-born majority owner is leading a transformation; she remade the supervisory board and has launched an active search for a new CEO.