(Chicago Tribune) – When it comes to the number of women at the pinnacle of the business world, even meager growth can be meaningful. This year’s Most Powerful Women list from Fortune magazine, released Thursday, illustrates that. The annual who’s who of the top 50 female business leaders counts 27 chief executives in its ranking, up from 24 last year, making this the most CEOs since the list began in 1998.
As with any such ranking, there aren’t too many surprises. (Unless you count Fortune’s inclusion of an extra member, entertainment queen Taylor Swift at No. 51, a surprise). Topping this year’s list is General Motors chief Mary Barra, who has won praise for her handling of GM’s ignition-switch crisis, followed by PepsiCo’s Indra Nooyi at No. 2. Last year’s highest-ranked woman, IBM chief Ginni Rommetty, fell to No. 3 as Big Blue struggles with sales declines. Lockheed Martin chief executive Marillyn Hewson and DuPont CEO Ellen Kullman round out the top five.
Last year, the same five women topped Fortune’s ranking — which considers factors such as the size and importance of her business in the economy and the company’s overall health — and only 11 of the women on the list this year have never been on it before.