CEO, Fortescue Metals Group, 54
Gaines became Fortescue Metals’ first-ever female CEO in November 2017—timing that was inauspicious. The iron ore company is reeled from declining demand in China; its profit took a dive of 58% in 2017. In her first few months as CEO, Gaines, who previously served as Fortescue CFO, has overseen the restructuring of the company’s balance sheet in an effort to reduce debt and lower the cost of borrowing. She also secured approval for Fortescue’s largest project since 2013: the development of a $1.4 billion mine in Pilbara, Australia, which will allow the company to maintain service after another mine in the area is depleted. Gaines is also considering Fortescue’s entrance into a new market—South America—a move that could help make up for the slowdown in China.