CEO and Deputy Chairperson, Olayan Financing, 61
Olayan’s position atop a multibillion dollar conglomerate—estimated revenues are more than $7 billion—makes her a rarity in Saudi Arabia, a country where women are not allowed to drive and were only recently given the right to vote. She has run her family’s sprawling business, which now includes an investment group and dozens of companies that operate across the Gulf Region, since 1986. Many are joint ventures with Western firms like Kimberly-Clark and Cummins; others are homegrown entities like Arabian Healthcare Supply. Olayan, who also serves on the boards of Schlumberger and Saudi Hollandi Bank, has also played a pioneering role in hiring and promoting women within Saudi Arabia’s private sector.