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Fortune’s Most Powerful Women in Business 2020

By Kristen Bellstrom & Beth Kowitt, Fortune

This year, 2020, has been like no other — and it was clear to us that this year’s ranking, too, must break the old rules and evolve to meet the moment. So, for the first time in the list’s 23-year history (!!) we’ve changed our methodology and added a new consideration: In addition to weighing the power of each executive (by evaluating her business, career arc and influence), we asked how she is wielding that clout. Is she, in this time of global crisis and uncertainty, using her influence to shape her company and the wider world for the better?

Gratifyingly, for many of the business world’s leading female executives, the answer was a resounding yes.

This year’s No. 1, Accenture CEO Julie Sweet, leads not only a massive company—more than half a million employees and a market cap of nearly $150 billion—but one that is devoted to helping its clients navigate the new digital world order, a task that became all the more urgent due to the pandemic.

She’s joined in the top 10 by executives including Carol Tomé (No. 5), who took the reins at UPS at a moment when the shipping giant is playing an increasingly critical role in the coronavirus economy; incoming Citi CEO Jane Fraser (No. 6), who is poised to break banking’s highest, hardest glass ceiling; and Best Buy CEO Corie Barry (No. 9), who took aggressive steps to keep her employees safe—and has been rewarded with strong business performance.

One of the distinguishing factors of this year’s list is the number of new faces: 13 of our honorees are newbies to the ranking, while two others are making a triumphant return in brand new jobs. Many of these women are playing major roles when it comes to building more socially and environmentally conscious companies: Consider Apple sustainability head Lisa Jackson (No. 35)—she’s responsible for ensuring the tech juggernaut hits its goal of being carbon neutral by 2020—and Intel chief diversity and inclusion officer Barbara Whye (No. 40), whose company reflects the true composition of the U.S. workforce and is working to set diversity standards for the tech industry as a whole.

Covering industries ranging from space exploration to book publishing, and highlighting women who are using their power in myriad ways, we believe the 2020 ranking is more diverse and dynamic than any we have published before. We hope you’ll take a moment to explore it.

Since 1998, Fortune has ranked the Most Powerful Women in Business using four criteria: the size and importance of each woman’s business in the global economy; the health and direction of the business; the arc of her career; and her social and cultural influence.

See the Complete List here with What’s New in 2020 and the Ones to Watch .


Article by Kristen Bellstrom and Beth Kowitt, Fortune

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