Three African-American women were among those featured in Fortune magazine’s annual “50 Most Powerful Women in Business,” released in late October.
Ursula Burns, CEO and president of Xerox; Rosalind Brewer, CEO and president of Sam’s Club; and Shonda Rhimes, creator of the hit shows “Scandal” and “Grey’s Anatomy,” are among the top movers and shakers in business, according to the magazine.
Editors chose the finalists based on four criteria: the size and importance of the woman’s business in the global economy, the health and direction of the business, the arc of the woman’s career including past and future potential achievements, and social and cultural influence.
The 55-year-old Burns ranked 13th for having “successfully transformed” Xerox, according to her Fortune profile: “Over half its $22 billion in revenue comes from services such as customer care and IT outsourcing.” Burns’ ranking was a drop from her No. 7 ranking last year, perhaps because of Xerox’s failing fortunes—the traditional document business saw an 8 percent fall in profits last year.
Brewer, 51, came in at No. 15. As head of Wal-Mart’s warehouse Sam’s Club, which boasts $56.4 billion in revenue, Brewer runs a major segment of the retail giant’s business. Brewer, who is also a board member for Lockheed Martin, drove Sam’s Club sales up 5 percent, and operating income up 6 percent, and has been building its online business, Fortune noted.
Rhimes, 43, is a newcomer to the roundup of female power players, and was chosen because of her profound impact on popular culture. “Her shows are mini-empires—and major moneymakers—for Disney’s ABC,” Fortune wrote. “We bet Disney CEO Bob Iger returns her calls.”
Other notable women who made the list included Indra Nooyi, the chairman and CEO of PepsiCo, at No. 2; Sheryl Sandberg, the chief operating office of Facebook, at No. 5; and Marissa Mayer, president and CEO of Yahoo, at No. 8.
And for the first time ever, one woman who has always made Fortune’s MPW list dropped off: Oprah Winfrey. Her cable network, OWN, seems to have overcome its startup struggles and is drawing bigger audiences, but the business isn’t big enough to put Oprah, number 50 last year, on the 2013 list.