Indra Nooyi, Chanda Kochhar and Shikha Sharma Among Fortune’s ‘Most Powerful Women in Business’

Indian American Indra Nooyi and India-based bank heads Chanda Kochhar and Shikha Sharma are among those recognized by Fortune magazine’s Most Powerful Women in the word. In the 20th year of the Most Powerful Women in Business list in the U.S., Fortune recognized 26 chief executives controlling $1.1 trillion in market cap. It also featured seven newcomers, one returnee and nine women in the tech industry, it said.

The publication broke the list into two separate areas — a U.S. edition as well as an international one on September 24th. In the U.S. version of the list, PepsiCo chair and chief executive officer Nooyi came in at No. 2, the same position she ranked a year ago.

Fortune said, “PepsiCo filled the long­ vacant role of president in July, sparking talk that the CEO might be heading toward retirement. But Nooyi claims she has no plans to step down, and why should she? While revenue was flat in 2016, profits jumped 16 percent, and the stock has outpaced most of its Big Food brethren as the industry tries to adjust to massive consumer shifts.” Nooyi, Fortune added, has responded by moving the portfolio toward healthier fare. The company recently launched a premium water line and in 2016 acquired kombucha maker KeVita.

The international list featured Kochhar, ICICI Bank managing director and chief executive officer, at No. 5, the same rank she had in 2016. Kochhar, Fortune noted, has led India’s largest private lender for eight years, and under her stewardship ICICI Bank has thrived. In the 12 months ending Sept. 7, 2017, the bank’s market capitalization rose 20.2 percent to nearly $30 billion. Revenue climbed 9.1 percent in 2016, the publication added.

Kochhar also proved a smooth operator during crisis. Her bank was quick to respond last November when the government announced its surprise demonetization of 500 and 1,000 rupee notes, partnering with retailers and small businesses to facilitate digital payments, according to the magazine.

At No. 21, dropping two spots from the previous year, was Axis Bank managing director and CEO Sharma. This summer, following resignation rumors, Sharma was reappointed to serve another three-year term as the head of India’s Axis Bank, Fortune said.

The announcement capped a tumultuous time for the private lender, India’s third largest, which has reported consistent drops in quarterly profits and was the subject of acquisition rumors, it said. “Now that she has been reconfirmed as CEO, Sharma can focus on beefing up the bank’s digital services, which includes expanding its digital payments app’s reach. In July, she announced that Axis Bank had acquired Freecharge, a digital payments company,” the publication said.

Topping the U.S. edition, just ahead of Nooyi, was General Motors chair and CEO Mary Bara. Rounding out the U.S. edition’s top five were Lockheed Martin CEO, chair and president Marillyn Hewson; Fidelity Investments chair and CEO Abigail Johnson; and Facebook chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg.

The international edition, in its 17th year, was topped by Banco Santander group executive chair Ana Botin and featured 11 newcomers. The women just ahead of Kochhar at No. 5 were GSK chief executive Emma Walmsley, Engie CEO Isabelle Kocher, and Gree Electric Appliances chair and president Dong Mingzhu.

Subscribe to our Newsletter