Germany's Merkel again most powerful woman: Forbes

Wed Aug 19, 2009 6:14pm EDT
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NEW YORK (Reuters) - U.S. first lady Michelle Obama is among the world's 100 most powerful women in a list topped for the fourth consecutive year by German Chancellor Angela Merkel, according to a Forbes ranking released on Wednesday.

Obama debuted at No. 40, coming in ahead of talk show host Oprah Winfrey at 41 and Britain's Queen Elizabeth at 42.

Sheila Bair, chair of the U.S. Federal Deposit Insurance Corp., which insures bank deposits, retained the No. 2 spot after debuting on the Forbes list last year. She has gained increased prominence as the U.S. recession grinds on.

The chief executives of PepsiCo, Anglo American, Temasek, Kraft Foods, WellPoint, and Areva all remain in the Forbes top 10.

The list is based on factors such as economic impact, media reach and career accomplishments.

The chief executives of Dupont and Sunoco are new to the top 10, replacing the Xerox Corp. chair, who dropped to No. 15, and former U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, who fell off the list after leaving office in January.

Rice's successor, Hillary Clinton, came in at No. 36, dropping from No. 28 last year when her presidential bid made her the woman with the highest public profile on the list.

Nancy Pelosi, speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, retained No. 35.

"Women in power are rising to leadership positions in business, government and philanthropy by making daring and unconventional moves," Forbes said. "Gone are the days of women feeling they must stick with one employer and patiently wait for promotions."   Continued...

<p>German Chancellor and head of the Christian Democratic Union (CDU) party Angela Merkel speaks on her party's election program in Berlin August 17, 2009. REUTERS/Thomas Peter</p>