Business & Leadership

Ten Powerful Women in Finance

Leaders League has identified 10 powerful women in finance for the year 2016. Through the great leadership demonstrated in their words and deeds, they constantly inspire women across the globe to join the finance industry.

Leaders League has identified 10 powerful women in finance for the year 2016. Through the great leadership demonstrated in their words and deeds, they constantly inspire women across the globe to join the finance industry.

Mary T. Barra


*Former Executive Vice President of Global Product Development

*Topped Fortune Magazine’s Most Powerful Women list in 2015

Mary Barra started her career at GM in the early 80s occupying several positions in the engineering department. Under Barra’s leadership, General Motors is transforming personal mobility through advanced technologies such as connectivity, electrification and autonomous driving. In March 2016 GM announced the acquisition of Cruise Automation, a San Francisco-based developer of autonomous vehicle technology, in a deal valued at $1 billion. Barra has also established a strategic direction based on putting the customer at the core of everything the company does. She is considered one of the most powerful women in the world and offers several reasons to be optimistic about the auto giant’s future.



Indra K. Nooyi

Chairman and CEO, PEPSICO

*Ranked the world’s second most powerful women by Fortune

*Has shifted PepsiCo’s focus from carbonized drinks to healthier products

Nooyi graduated from Yale School of Management and joined PepsiCo in 1994. She was named CEO in 2006. Since then she has been dedicated to redirecting PepsiCo’s value focus from cola drinks and fast food chains to healthy products. Nooyi separated PepsiCo’s brands into three categories: Fun for you, Good for you, and Better foryou. To further create value for the latter two categories, she supported the spin off of brands such as Pizza Hut and KFC in 1997. Then she implemented the $13 billion merger with Quaker Oats Co. and the acquisition of Tropicana in 2000. The prescient strategic redirection has shown its long-term effect, not only shifting the corporate perception but also raising PepsiCo’s average net income to more than $6 billion in the past five years.



Christine Lagarde


*Ranked by Forbes as one of the 10 most powerful women in the world

*Selected to serve a second term at the IMF

Christine Lagarde is the eleventh Managing Director of the IMF, and has been selected to lead a second five-year term starting July 2016. This contract extension is evidence that the IMF have faith in Lagarde’s ability to steer the global economy to safer shores. Notable achievements that have helped her secure this position include the successful negotiation of a €750 billion European Union rescue fund during the financial crisis of 2008-09 as well as the many firsts associated with her name - First female Global Head of law firm Baker & McKenzie and first women to be named Minister of Finance and Economy in France. Ms. Lagarde’s strong educational background in law and political science has also played a key role in her remarkable success.



Janet L. Yellen


*First women to be named Chair of the FED

*A veteran economist with strong past ties to policy making organizations

Chair of the Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System as of February 2014, Janet L. Yellen also serves as Chair of the Federal Open Market Committee. A notable figure in academia, Dr. Yellen’s association with the FED dates back to the 1970s, when she worked for the Board of Governors as an economist. Ever since completing her education at Yale University, she has been associated with prestigious academic institutions including Harvard University, the University of California at Berkley and the London School of Economics as a professor. In addition, Dr. Yellen has helped transform various government organizations such as the Council of Economic Advisers, the OECD, and the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco.



Safra Catz


Israeli-born Safra Catz joined Oracle in its early stages. Thanks to her background in business and law, she was able to occupy several positions in the multi-billion dollar software company including member of the board of directors and Chief Financial Officer. She paved the way for the acquisition of rival PeopleSoft in a $10.3 billion takeover in 2004 and went on to further her company’s operations in Eastern Europe in 2014.



Juliette Kennel

Head of Market Infrastructures, SWIFT

This Franco-British woman is in charge of keeping her company ahead of the curve in the real-time payment sector. Since 2013 she has helped SWIFT manage technology and innovation, as well as capture the needs of clients. In 2015 her goal was to enhance the current payment system by making it faster while at the same time lowering the price of upgrades. Her next mission is to tackle cyber-security issues.



Joyce Chang

Global Head of Research, JP MORGAN

*One of the Top 25 Most Powerful Women in Finance, by American Banker

*Plays an active role in promoting positive social change in developing countries

A prominent analyst, Chang has profound expertise in fixed income research and emerging markets. She leads 1,000 analysts worldwide in conducting research in various areas including monetary policies bonds and interest rates to provide investment opportunities for the JPMorgan trading and investing team. Before joining JPMorgan in 1999, she was a managing director at BofA Merrill Lynch, Research Division. Beyond her own career, she is dedicated to building a diverse working environment. One of her goals is to have 50% of her staff worldwide be female. She also actively participates in organizations that improve the quality of life of disadvantaged groups, such as Trickle up and Girls Inc.



Lisa Shalett

Head of Investment & Portfolio Strategies, MORGAN STANLEY

Lisa Shalett never strays too far from jobs that require irreproachable quantitative and analytical skills, as her stints at Alliance Bernstein and Bank of America Merrill Lynch as Chief Investment Officer show. Since 2013, Morgan Stanley has been this Harvard Business School (HBS) alumnus’ home where she plays a key role in finding the best solutions to meet her clients’ asset allocation goals.



Sophie Javary

Head of Corporate Finance EMEA, BNP PARIBAS

*Named a Knight of the National Order of the Legion of Honor in 2013

*Played a key role in the privatization of France’s state-owned industries

Since graduating from HEC Paris in 1980, Javary has spent her whole career in the field of investment banking. Her expertise in capital market transactions ranges from IPOs to privatizations and M&A. After spending 16 years at Rothschild as a general partner, she joined BNP Paribas in 2011. She currently heads the Corporate Finance division for the EMEA region at BNP Paribas and is largely responsible for a portfolio of large strategic clients. Under her determined leadership, BNP swiftly carried out a €394m stock offering for the French retail group Carrefour, with almost no marketing. She also teaches the “Legal & Contractual aspects of Corporate Finance” elective to master’s students at HEC Paris.



Evelyne Tall


Evelyne Tall joined Ecobank eighteen years ago. After having managed subsidiaries in Mali, Senegal and later the Uemoa region, the Senegalese woman, who has made a name for herself as a prominent figure in the financial sector, has been assistant general manager since 2012. Within the bank, her missions are mainly centered on regulations.



Hélène Charneau


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Other articles of the same issue:

Francis Rousseau: “Within the same group it is essential to have both leaders and men of power”

Learn from Lee Kuan Yew – A Thinker, a Fighter and a Believer

The Roots of leadership: secret ingredients revealed (Part I)

Wisdom on Power

Brené Brown: The power of vulnerability (TED Video)


Accenture's CEO and CFO interview by Leaders League Group

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