The World’s 5 Most Powerful White-Collared Women In 2020

Jane Fraser broke through the glass ceiling when Citigroup announced she would become its first woman chief executive officer (CEO) in February. Educated at Cambridge and Harvard University, Fraser is the bank’s president and chief of its global consumer banking business. Fraser will take over from Michael Corbat as the bank’s CEO.

According to Advocacy Group Catalyst, there are just 32 women CEO’s in the S&P list of the top 500 companies. Fraser holding such a high position in the US’ third largest bank is no mean feat. In addition to having scaled such heights, she also serves on the Board of Directors of Mexico-based Citibanamex and the Board of Dean’s Advisors at Harvard Business School.

Born in Scotland in 1967, Fraser started her career in 1988 at Goldman Sachs, London. After attaining an MBA from Harvard in 1994, she joined McKinsey & Company. She joined Citibank in 2004. It took her 16 years to attain the top position. 

Watch: Citigroup selects Jane Fraser as new CEO

Video Credits: Bloomberg Markets and Finance

Fraser is a supreme example for women who dream of leading global giant firms. As Fraser scripts a new chapter in the history of the empowerment of women. There are many more women ruling the roost in the corporate world.

1. Ginny Rometty of IBM

Ginny Rometty is the executive chairman of IBM. The company took some bold decisions under her leadership as it built out key capabilities in hybrid cloud, data and AI security, industry expertise and quantum computing. Under Rometty’s guidance, IBM acquired 64 companies, including Red Hat, the largest acquisition in the company’s history.

Ginny Rometty, CEO, IBM - World's Most Powerful White-Collared Women in 2020
Ginny Rometty, CEO, IBM | World’s Most Powerful White-Collared Women in 2020 | DKODING

The 63-year-old CEO joined IBM as a system analyst in 1981. In her long stint with the company, she reinvented more than 50% of IBM’s portfolio and built a $21 billion hybrid cloud business. Rometty has notable awards to her name, including Fortune’s 50 Most Powerful Women in Business, Forbes’ America’s Top 50 Women in Tech and the Time’s 20 Most Important People in Tech.

2. Dong Mingzhu of Gree Electric

Dong Mingzhu is China’s most influential businesswoman. She turned Gree Electric into world’s largest household air conditioning unit maker, and also the country’s largest household appliance maker.

Dong Mingzhu, Chairwoman, Gree Electric - World's Most Powerful White-Collared Women in 2020
Dong Mingzhu, Chairwoman, Gree Electric | World’s Most Powerful White-Collared Women in 2020 | DKODING

Mingzhu, 66, who joined the company as a salesgirl in 1990, showed her exceptional sales skills and became the sales director by 1994. When Gree Electric went public in 1996, she was made deputy president and was later elevated to the post of president. Known for her strong work ethic, Mingzhu reportedly hasn’t taken a day’s leave. Therefore, it was no surprise when she was called the toughest businesswoman in China by the New York Times. Mingzhu was also the Fortune Magazine’s Most Influential Chinese Businesswoman in 2014 and 2015.

3. Meg Whitman of Quibi

Meg Whitman is the CEO of Quibi and a board member of Proctor & Gamble and Dropbox. After she became the CEO of Quibi, a short-form video platform, in 2018, the company closed a $1 billion funding round.

Meg Whitman, CEO, Quibi - World's Most Powerful White-Collared Women in 2020
Meg Whitman, CEO, Quibi | World’s Most Powerful White-Collared Women in 2020 | DKODING

With an MBA from Harvard Business School, Whitman’s claim to fame was taking eBay from a company of 30 employees and $5.7 million to a firm of more than 15,000 employees and $8 billion in sales as its CEO from 1998 to 2008. Whitman also dabbled in politics and ran for governor of California as a Republican candidate in 2010. She was also the president and CEO of Proctor & Gamble. In 2008, the New York Times said Whitman was among women most likely to become the first female president of the US.

4. Marry Barra of General Motors

Marry Barra added a new chapter in the history of woman empowerment when she became the first female CEO of a major automaker (GM) in 2014. A management graduate from the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Barra changed the face of GM in the ensuing six years as she guided the company to invest billions in electric vehicles, self-driving cars and a ride-sharing service called Maven.

Marry Barra, CEO, General Motors - World's Most Powerful White-Collared Women in 2020
Marry Barra, CEO, General Motors | World’s Most Powerful White-Collared Women in 2020 | DKODING

She became the highest-paid leader of any of Detroit Big Three automaker in 2018 when she took home a pay-cheque of $21.9 million. The other significant achievement at GM during her leadership was the company ranking No. 1 in the 2018 Global Report on gender equality. It was one of only two global businesses that had no gender pay gap.   

5. Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

Sheryl Sandberg joined Facebook as its first chief operating officer in 2008 and the company has grown by leaps and bounds ever since. Under her able guidance, the company rose from a $56 million loss to a $22.1 billion profit in 2018. She is also one of the highest paid COOs.

Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook - World's Most Powerful White-Collared Women in 2020
Sheryl Sandberg, COO, Facebook | World’s Most Powerful White-Collared Women in 2020 | DKODING

Sandberg’s net worth was reported to be worth over $1.8 billion in 2019. Before joining Facebook, Sandberg was the vice-president of global online sales and operations at Google. An MBA from Harvard Business School, Sandberg has also served as chief of staff for US Secretary of the Treasury.

Jane Fraser broke through the glass ceiling when Citigroup announced she would become its first woman chief executive officer. She is the latest in a new generation of women continuing to make great strides in empowerment and equality.

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