Big tobacco companies like Imperial continue to face strong headwinds due to health concerns about smoking. To steady the company against that pressure, Cooper oversaw the formation of a joint venture with state-owned China National Tobacco in January 2017. The deal gives Imperial, the world’s fourth-biggest tobacco company, a foothold in the world’s largest tobacco market; every third cigarette sold is smoked in China. The JV boosted Imperial’s long-term earnings potential, but also fueled long-simmering speculation that it’s a takeover target in an industry that continues to consolidate. Cooper, meanwhile, earned the top compensation among female CEOs of FTSE 100 companies in 2016, raking in 5.5 million pounds or about $6.7 million. The Imperial board had wanted to pay her even more, but it pulled a potential 54% raise from a vote in January after sensing shareholder blowback.