Leaders League has identified seven powerful women in finance for the year 2017. Through the great leadership demonstrated in their words and deeds, they constantly inspire women across the globe to join the finance industry.
- Played a pivotal role during the financial crisis of 2008 advising on the bailouts of AIG, Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac
- Former CFO of Morgan Stanley, she left in 2015 after one of its strongest quarters in recent years with profits up 60%
- Considers giving business unit managers accurate data to support their decisions her most important function
May 2017 marked the second anniversary of Ruth Porat’s nomination as CFO of Google parent company, Alphabet, and the rise in its stock price and operating margins since she came in is testament to her success.
Upon her arrival, she oversaw the reorganization of the company, increasing financial transparency, and launching accounting initiatives which allowed investors to have a much clearer idea of how much money Google invests in its “moonshot” projects, a.k.a the “Other Bets.” These days the biggest challenges for this ex-Wall Street power woman are to discipline the tech giant and get costs under control without killing new ideas, as she confirmed at the Code Conference in May 2017: “We’re not just focused on expenses, but on what makes us great – innovation.”
Chair, THE FEDERAL RESERVE
- A veteran economist with strong ties to policy making organizations
- Has helped transform various government organizations such as the OECD, and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco
Nominated as chair of the Federal Reserve (the Fed) in 2014, Janet Yellen is the first woman to hold the role, one of the most powerful economic positions in the world. A notable figure in academia, Dr. Yellen’s association with the Fed dates back to the 1970s, when she worked for its board of governors as an economist.
With the Trump administration proposing large budget deficits, her challenge is not only to keep the US recovery and employment on track with the Fed’s steady macro and regulatory policies, but also guide one of the world’s most important financial regulators through an environment marked by high political pressure and uncertainty. Her weapons? Deep theoretical grounding, great sensitivity to inequality, and devotion.
Wei Sun Christianson
CEO, MORGAN STANLEY CHINA; Co-CEO, MORGAN STANLEY ASIA PACIFIC
- Member of the bank’s global management committee
- On Fortune’s list of the 50 Most Powerful Women based outside the US, in 2016
- Ranked 17th on Forbes China’s 100 Top Businesswomen in 2017
The US educated lawyer-turned banker, who started her Morgan Stanley career as a Beijing representative in 1998 in IBD, performed extremely well in China’s booming M&A market as a pioneer.
She is one of Asia’s most influential dealmakers, having helped Morgan Stanley do deals worth $293 billion over the past decade (44 deals worth $110 billion in 2015 alone), including the $4.2 billion acquisition of Petro Kazakhstan (PK) by CNPC in 2005, and has underwritten 127 Chinese firms’ IPOs to date, including Alibaba’s $25 billion IPO in 2014. She advocates diversity in the workplace and women’s rights across the globe. “What’s so exciting is that your work makes a difference beyond yourself,” she said.
- Previously served as co-President and CFO and has been co-CEO of the world’s second-largest software company since 2014
- Teaches M&A at the Stanford Graduate School of Business
- Served on the board of directors of HSBC from 2008 through 2015
Having joined Oracle in 1999, Safra Catz has gone on to play a significant role in the company’s M&A department, and is credited with spearheading Oracle’s aggressive acquisition strategy, helping close more than 100 acquisitions since 2005, including some of Oracle’s largest acquisitions such as 2 SaaS platforms PeopleSoft ($10.3 billion in 2005) and NetSuite ($9.3 billion in 2016).
Education is Catz’s philanthropic passion. The company’s Oracle Academy program teaches computer science to kids in 106 countries. In April 2016, Oracle joined then president Obama’s Computer Science For All program by committing to spend $200 million on donations and technology. “The truth is that technology is only valuable if it helps you run your organization better,” she said.
President & CEO, BOOKING.COM
- Began her career at Hershey Entertainment and Resorts in Pennsylvania, USA
- Promoted CEO of Booking.com in April 2016
- Her Philosophy: “You need to build a framework in which people can innovate”
Emerging from the hotel management business before making her way to the marketing departments of Intercontinental and Golden Tulip Worldwide, Gillian Tans has acquired the assets needed to lead the world’s largest accommodation website. She started her Booking.com career in 2002. During her tenure, Booking.com has expanded its operations and sales to 224 countries and now has 187 offices. Since day one, Tans has valued the fact that the company began online when everyone else was still bricks and mortar. Priceline group acquired the attractive online travel company for $135 million. Under Tan’s leadership as president and CEO, booking.com’s profits increased from $4.35 billion in 2011 to $15.1 billion by 2016.
President, DIDI CHUXING
- Helped transform Didi from a taxi-hailing company into China’s largest one-stop mobile transportation platform
- Made Fortune’s 2016 Most Powerful Women International list
- On Time’s list of the world’s 100 most influential people in 2017
Jean Qing Liu joined Didi Chuxing in 2014, becoming president in 2015. She led the strategic merger between Didi Dache and its main competitor Kuaidi Dache in 2015 and helped Didi secure a $1 billion investment from Apple. In 2016, she helped Didi see off the challenge of Uber in China and handled Didi’s subsequent acquisition of Uber China, making the company the country’s undisputed leader in the ridesharing area, worth an estimated $35 billion. Under her direction, the ridesharing giant has upped its workforce from 700 to 5,000, raised $3 billion in funding, and formed global rideshare partnerships with Lyft, GrabTaxi, and Ola, all in just 18 months.
Qing Liu is well-known for her prodigious work ethic. She spent 12 years at Goldman Sachs, where she worked up to 140 hours a week. In 2015, she revealed that she was recovering from breast cancer in an internal email to employees.
Cancer didn’t get her down but inspired more her to fight harder. After four months of treatment in private, she reappeared at the firm’s 2016 annual conference and delivered a speech in which she exclaimed, “no matter what happens, we must dry our tears, stay young and keep a fire on our heart.”
She has been a keynote speaker at the Global Conference on Women and Entrepreneurship. She is dedicated to promoting the security of female travel by collaborating with Tencent, Tesla, Lenovo and a large number of Didi drivers to provide female users with a safer riding experience.
Founding partner, PARKERGALE
- Since inception ParkerGale has raised $240m
- Prior to founding ParkerGale, she spent 11 years at Chicago Growth Partners
- Member of the Private Equity Women Investor Network
Heinze is recognized as an emerging leader among dealmakers in the private equity sphere. In 2014 she co-founded Chicago-based ParkerGale, a PE firm defined by its willingness to invest in profitable technology companies in the midmarket segment. At ParkerGale she plays a key role, in charge of sourcing and monitoring investments as well as taking up interim operating roles at portfolio companies. ParkerGale sets itself apart from other PE firms by creating a distinct brand that allows it to get deals through networking and content making. The firm produces a weekly podcast that discusses the industry in depth. In 2017 the firm acquired Ipro Tech, a global leader in the development of advanced e-discovery software solutions.
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