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Fortune’s Most Powerful Women, Facebook’s Ad Problem, Ivanka’s Postpartum Depression

September 21, 2017, 11:55 AM UTC

Good morning, Broadsheet readers! Sheryl Sandberg vows to deal with Facebook’s ad targeting problem, Ivanka Trump shares her experience with postpartum depression, and we meet the women of Fortune’s 2017 Most Powerful Women in Business list. Have a powerful Thursday.


It's MPW day. It's a big day for us here at Fortune MPW HQ: The 2017 list of the Most Powerful Women in Business is out!

Racing into the top spot—for the third year in a row—is General Motors CEO Mary Barra. Rounding out the top 5: PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi (more on her later), Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson, Fidelity CEO Abigail Johnson, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

In all, the list includes seven newbies, one return, and 26 CEOs who, together, control a total market cap of $1.1 trillion. We have all the juicy details—including who's off, who's on, and who's on our radar—below.

But before we get to that, it's worth pointing out that this year marks Fortune's 20th list, a testament to the importance we place on charting and celebrating these women's careers. For more, I encourage you to read this editor's letter, in which our fearless leader, Cliff Leaf, reflects on the history—and continuing necessity—of the ranking. As my co-editor on the list, Beth Kowitt, tells Cliff, covering the ever-evolving story of women in business is "complicated—and critically important, surprising, fascinating, and inspiring too.”  Fortune


The queen of pop. About a dozen Big Food CEOs have stepped down from their perches in the past 18 months, but PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi remains. And as she tells my colleague Beth, she still thrives on the workload even after more than a decade running the company. In this wide-ranging interview, Nooyi talks candidly about industry disruption, the health food trend, and business in the age of Trump. One hint as to how she's held onto her job for so long: "I struggle to sleep, so all night the email pings, and I’ll get up every hour and answer."  Fortune

New women on the block. While the MPW list always includes women from a diverse range of businesses, this year's newcomers have raised the bar: all seven hail from different industries. From energy (PG&E CEO Geisha Williams) to toys (Mattel CEO Margo Georgiadis) to retail (Ulta Beauty CEO Mary Dillion), they provide a peek into the diversity of global business today. Fortune

List leavers. Of course, for new executives to claim their spots on the list, some familiar faces must depart. We lost a number of list stalwarts this year, including Xerox CEO Ursula Burns (retired in January) and Mondelez chief Irene Rosenfeld (will retire in November). See the full list of drop-offs here: Fortune

MPWs in waiting. While these 10 women didn't make the official list, they did catch our eye. We wouldn't be surprised to see many of them grace the top 50 ranking in years to come... Fortune

She's No. 51, y'all. We have a tradition of naming a "bonus" MPW—No. 51—a distinction that goes to a woman who doesn't technically fit our parameters when it comes to P&L and market cap, but who nevertheless captures the list's powerful, business-savvy spirit. This year that spot goes to Hollywood multihyphenate Reese Witherspoon. For those keeping score at home, Witherspoon has launched a lifestyle startup as well as a multi-platform content company; and produced hits including Gone Girl, Wild, and Emmy fav Big Little Lies—all while still landing big, juicy acting roles for herself. Fortune


 An ad apology. Sheryl Sandberg (No. 5 on our list) responded to a ProPublica story showing Facebook has allowed ads to be targeted at users who used racist or hate speech in their profiles. In a post on the site, Sandberg said the company will crack down on discriminatory content and increase "human review" to change how its ads can be targeted. “Hate has no place on Facebook—and as a Jew, as a mother, and as a human being, I know the damage that can come from hate,” Ms. Sandberg wrote. “We never intended or anticipated this functionality being used this way—and that is on us." Fortune

Start 'em young. A new study from the World Health Organization and Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health finds that the stereotype that girls are weak and boys are strong is found all over the world—and is taught to kids as young as ten by the very people who should be shielding them from it: parents, friends and teachers. Huffington Post

 Ivanka opens up. Ivanka Trump opened up about her struggle with postpartum depression in an interview set to air on Dr. Mehmet Oz's show today. The first daughter says that she faced "some level" of the condition after the birth of each of her three children. Trump is not alone in the experience: About 1 in 9 women experience postpartum depression, according to the CDC. Fortune

Her dear Watson. In this Q+A, IBM CEO Ginni Rometty (No. 6 on our MPW ranking) talks about why she avoids the term "AI," how she responds to criticism of Watson, and how she thinks we can transform the American workforce. Bloomberg

MOVERS AND SHAKERS: Brenda Darden Wilkerson has been named the new president and CEO of the Anita Borg Institute. Previously, she was director of Computer Science and IT Education for Chicago Public Schools. Sara Goo has been promoted to managing editor for NPR News.

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Women were born with an extra gene that makes us worry about those things just a little bit more. I don’t know why—societal or genetic—but we worry about the family, the husband, evening’s dinner, yesterday morning’s breakfast, aging parents.
PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi, on women's journey through their careers.