From Business Day
October 9 2007
By Khulu Phasiwe
TWO South African businesswomen are among the top 15 of influential business magazine Fortune’s 50 most powerful women in business for 2007.
Fortune has ranked Anglo American CEO Cynthia Carroll and Transnet CEO Maria Ramos at one and 14 respectively.
The list also has 11 newcomers, including Carroll, a move that “demonstrates their rise in male-dominated fields, from nuclear energy, to mining, to oil”.
Fortune said Carroll had quickly made her mark since her appointment this year. She replaced Patricia Russo, the CEO of the telecoms company Alcatel-Lucent, in the top spot.
“Hired in March to carry on the restructuring of the world’s largest mining company (2006 revenue: $33bn), Carroll is making changes of her own.
“So far, the 50-year-old American geologist has bought stakes in an iron ore mine in Brazil and two copper projects, in Peru and Alaska.
“She’s also encouraging innovation and setting high safety targets,” Fortune wrote.
Ramos — who was ranked 16th last year — was credited for leading the restructuring that resulted in the disposal of noncore business units such as South African Airways.
Transnet has raised more than R10bn from the sale of noncore assets.
She had also steered the company to profitability from the R6,3bn loss it posted in 2004, the year she joined .
Last year the state-owned company reported a net profit of R6,3bn on revenue of R28,2bn. The company’s total debt had been reduced to R39,8bn from R62,8bn in 2004.
Transnet said that Ramos was pleased by the recognition.
She paid tribute to her executive team, directors, staff and the government for the transformation at Transnet.
“She believes that this is a timely recognition for the progress made in the journey to transform Transnet into a world-class freight transport and logistics business, and to position the company as the promoter of economic growth in SA,” Transnet said.
Fortune said Anne Lauvergeon, executive chairwoman of French power company Areva, retained her second position.
Third on the list is Marjorie Scardino, CEO of Pearson, owners of the Financial Times and owners of a 50% stake in BDFM, the publishers of Business Day.
Fortune has ranked Zoe Cruz, the joint president of Morgan Stanley, as the highest-paid woman in business.
She received a staggering $30m last year.