March 6, 2014 7:00 AM EST

Fortune’s first list of the most powerful women in business, published in October 1998, didn’t set out to be an American affair. But 15 years ago few international companies promoted women to the kinds of high-profile operating and financial roles that the editors equate with business prowess. In 2001 the magazine launched a separate ranking of international power women, but that list, too, had an American expat (Marjorie Scardino of Pearson) at the top. Times have changed: Women around the world are ascending at huge companies. And American executives are more global than ever, hopping on long-haul flights in search of growth and new ideas. So Fortune decided it was time for an all-new ranking. To compile this first-ever global MPW ranking, the editors weighed many of the same factors historically used to measure executive power: the size and importance of the business, its health and direction, and the arc of the leader’s career. This time, though, the editors placed emphasis on the international nature of the executive’s operation and her standing in the worldwide business community. Thus, someone like Sam’s Club CEO Rosalind Brewer, No. 15 on Fortune’s list of American MPW, drops to No. 39 on the global list because while she sources wares from around the world, all her sales come from just one market, the U.S.

1. Mary Barra
52, CEO, General Motors, U.S.
The first woman to run a global automaker, Barra oversees more than 212,000 employees in 396 GM facilities on six continents. An electrical engineer who has spent her entire career at GM, the new CEO faces big challenges in the U.S., where market share is at a historical low and profit margins are below Ford’s, and Europe, where GM’s Opel brand has lost billions. But companywide, profits are back, and Barra has the board’s approval to invest to make GM prosper again.

2. Ginni Rometty
56, chairman, CEO, President, IBM, U.S.
Despite a recent earnings miss that prompted Rometty to give up her bonus, IBM remains formidable on the global stage, with customers and employees in 170 countries. She sees big opportunity especially in Africa; she’ll visit several countries there this year. With a market capitalization of almost $200 billion, IBM is the world’s most valuable woman-helmed company.

3. Indra Nooyi
58, Chairman, CEO,
PepsiCo, U.S.
Nooyi has more than doubled sales from outside the U.S. in her seven years running PepsiCo. International markets now make up about half of the company’s $65.5 billion in revenue. Indian-born Nooyi has made sure her product pipeline reflects her consumer base: since 2012, “innovation centers” have popped up in Shanghai, ­Hamburg and Monterrey, Mexico.

4. Maria das Graças Silva Foster
60, CEO, Petrobras, Brazil
At No. 25, Petrobras, with annual revenues of $144 billion, is the highest-ranking woman-led company on the Fortune Global 500. Foster faces many challenges: she is selling off assets to shore up the energy company’s balance sheet even as she plans to spend $237 billion on production and exploration projects.

5. Ellen Kullman
58, Chairman, CEO, Dupont. U.S.
Kullman’s reinvention of DuPont has a distinctly international flavor to it: her 2011 acquisition of Danish food-enzyme maker ­Danisco was key to an effort to push the company deeper into agriculture and nutrition (along with biotech and advanced materials). A third of the company’s sales, $15.5 billion in the past six months, come from developing markets.

6. Irene Rosenfeld
60, Chairman, CEO, Mondelez International, U.S.
After Rosenfeld split Kraft in two, she took the reins of the more inter­national entity (and gave it an exotic-sounding name): Mondelez, a snackmaker,
gets 83% of its revenue from outside the U.S., and Rosenfeld has invested accordingly. Last year the company said it would spend $190 million to build the largest chocolate-manufacturing plant in India.

7. Marillyn Hewson
60, Chairman, President, CEO, Lockheed Martin, U.S.
Hewson is making a big push to increase international sales, which make up 17% of revenue. (Pretty much everything else is sold to the U.S. government.) The defense contractor has 10 international buyers for its F-35 fighter jet. But even when Lockheed Martin doesn’t sell to foreign clients, its products have a huge indirect impact on global diplomacy.

8. Meg Whitman
57, President, CEO, HP, U.S.
Some of Whitman’s biggest battles are playing out on the global stage, with HP rival Lenovo, a China-based company, now bulking up in servers. (Lenovo has already unseated HP as the world’s No. 1 PC maker.) And indeed, the whole world is watching to see if Whitman can deliver a long-awaited turnaround of the iconic company.

9. Pat Woertz
60, Chairman, CEO, President, Archer Daniels Midland, U.S.
The Australian government stymied Woertz’s global expansion plans when it blocked ADM’s $3 billion bid to buy the country’s largest grain company. Despite the setback, Woertz has serious international credibility: the $89 billion-a-year-in-revenue company not only produces food nearly everywhere but also moves freight around the world through its logistics division.

10. Gail Kelly
57, Managing Director, CEO, Westpac, Australia
Kelly is just about as global as they come: born in South Africa to British parents, she taught Latin in Zimbabwe before becoming a banker and moving to Australia. Her Westpac, with $43.6 billion in ­revenue, is the country’s second largest bank by market value, and with about a 70% return during ­Kelly’s six-year ­tenure, it is also one of the country’s top performers.

11. Sheryl Sandberg
44, COO, Facebook, U.S.
As the No. 2 of Facebook, which is available in some 70 languages and ­generates more than half its ­revenue from outside the U.S., Sandberg plays a critical role in fostering global conversations. She’s also trying to spread her personal message of career empowerment: her career book, Lean In, has been translated into more than 20 languages.

12. Phebe Novakovic
56, Chairman, CEO,
General Dynamics, U.S.
General Dynamics is slowly but steadily increasing its international operations, which now make up 20% of revenue—up from 18% in 2010. The defense company may be benefiting from new wealth in emerging markets. Sixty-five percent of the backlog in her aerospace unit, which produces Gulfstream jets, comes from international orders.

13. Safra Catz
52, Co-President, CFO, Oracle, U.S.
Most big decisions at Oracle, whose software is part of the essential fabric of a huge swath of the Global 500, have Catz’s seal of approval—a degree of control that makes her one of the most powerful figures in technology.
The Israeli-born Catz is also a key figure in Oracle’s acquisition strategy; this past year she completed seven acquisitions worth nearly $5 billion.

14. Marissa Mayer
38, President, CEO, Yahoo, U.S.
A celebrity in her home country, Mayer is starting to step onto the world stage. She was co-chair of the recent World Economic Forum’s annual meeting in Davos, Switzerland. And while Mayer’s turnaround of Yahoo’s domestic operations is a work in progress, its international play, a 24% stake in Chinese ­e-commerce company Alibaba, remains a bright spot.

15. Alison Cooper
47, CEO, Imperial Tobacco, Britain
Cooper has offset falling volumes at the $23 billion-in-revenue tobacco giant (brands include Davidoff and Gau­loises) by investing in growth markets like Kazakhstan and revamping her offerings in the U.S. and Russia. Later this year she’ll launch an e-cigarette.

16. Güler Sabanci
58, Chairman, Managing Director, Sabanci Holding, Turkey
Under Sabanci’s leadership, the family’s business has forged partnerships with the likes of Aviva, Citigroup and E.ON. (One of Sabanci’s companies supplies the buses used by Google and Facebook employees to travel to work.) Sabanci is on the Siemens supervisory board, and she’s lobbying for Turkey’s inclusion
in the European Union.

17. Deb Henretta
52, Group President, Global Beauty, Procter & Gamble, U.S.
Henretta is trying to enliven a portfolio of brands (Pantene, Cover Girl and others) responsible for nearly a quarter of company revenue despite flat sales. P&G continues to court customers in emerging markets, territory Henretta knows well: she lived in Singapore for seven years while heading P&G’s Asia business.

18. Chanda Kochhar
52, Managing Director, CEO, Icici Bank, India
Kochhar leads India’s second largest bank, a sprawling organization with $124 billion in assets, $1.5 billion in profit and 3,588 branches. Though the bulk of ICICI’s business is done in India and with companies operating there, the bank is in 19 countries and does brisk business transferring money from ­expats to families back in India.

19. Sheri McCoy
55, CEO, Avon Products, U.S.
McCoy joined Avon in April 2012 from Johnson & Johnson to turn around the direct seller of beauty products. McCoy has exited underperforming countries like South Korea and Vietnam but remains committed to other parts of Asia and to Latin America, where door-to-door selling resonates and represents a moneymaking opportunity for everyday women.

20. Susan Wojcicki
45, SVP, Ads & Commerce,
Google, U.S.
Google’s highest-ranking woman, Wojcicki spends the majority of her time at company headquarters in Mountain View, Calif.  (Not surprisingly, she uses technology and video­conferencing to connect with product managers and engineers in 10 countries.) A particular focus: serving small advertisers in countries that are just gaining access to the Internet.

21. Ornella Barra
60, Chief Executive, Wholesale And Brands, Alliance Boots, Britain
Barra recently added the pharmaceutical group’s international health and beauty business to her busy list of assignments. The expanded role means Barra is ­responsible for $27 billion—some 75% of the group’s total. She’s the ultimate world citizen: she was born in
­Italy, speaks four languages,
works for a Swiss company and lives in Monaco.

22. Chua Sock Koong
56, CEO, Singapore Telecommunications, Singapore
Chua is swiftly reshaping the $14 billion-in-revenue telecom with unexpected acquisitions, like U.S.-based mobile advertising company Amobee for $321 million in 2012. Expect more such deals. The CFO turned CEO says she has earmarked about $1.6 billion for strategic digital acquisitions in the next three years.

23. Annika Falkengren
51, President, CEO, SEB, Sweden
Falkengren, an SEB lifer, successfully navigated the storied bank (it was founded and is ­controlled by Sweden’s Wallenberg family) through the worldwide banking crisis. The stock is up 45% in the past 12 months, vs. 16% for the broader market. Falkengren sits on the super­visory board of Volkswagen.

24. Ursula Burns
55, Chairman, CEO, Xerox, U.S.
Although Xerox’s share price climbed 69% in 2013, revenue growth remains elusive. As Burns continues to search for her company’s sweet spot, she’s been snapping up corporations abroad, including Germany-based Invoco Holding, a customer-care services provider, and Toronto’s CPAS Systems, a pension-administration software firm with a global clientele.

25. Carol Meyrowitz
60, CEO, TJX cos., U.S.
While her retailer does most of its business in North America, Meyrowitz is disproving the notion that American store operators can’t thrive in Europe. After a tough year across the pond in 2010, Meyrowitz slowed European store growth and reaped the rewards: TJX’s European profits more than tripled in fiscal 2013 over the previous year.

26. Ho Ching
60, Executive Director, CEO, Ttemasek, Singapore
The sovereign wealth fund she manages has more than tripled its portfolio to $173 billion since she took over as CEO a decade ago. The Stanford-educated Ho is married to Singapore’s Prime Minister, Lee Hsien Loong, but hers is not a political appointment. Tema­sek lately has been investing in Chinese banks and Western oil and gas companies like Chesapeake Energy.

27. Anne Sweeney
56, Co-Chair, Disney Media Networks; President, Disney, Abc Television Group, Disney. U.S.
The networks Sweeney oversees—including ABC and Disney Channels Worldwide—span 166 countries and reach over 431 million homes a month. One notable success story: Disney on demand viewership in France rose 62% between July 2012 and July 2013.

28. Patricia Barbizet
58, CEO, Artémis Holding; Vice Chair, Kering, France
Barbizet heads the wealthy Pinault family’s holding company, with $41 billion in assets, overseeing businesses ranging from Christie’s auction house to Kering (formerly PPR), home to Gucci, Bottega Veneta and Puma. Powerful board seats like Air France–KLM, Total and PSA Peugeot Citroën validate her global clout.

29. Abigail Johnson
52, President, FMR, U.S.
Fidelity’s 23 million investors are mostly in the U.S., but the $4.6 trillion mutual-fund behemoth has ramped up its international investments by 69% in the past five years, boosting its total overseas equities assets to $124.4 billion. The famously private Johnson has also joined the board of affiliate company Fidelity International, which serves 24 countries.

30. Denise Morrison
60, President, CEO, Campbell Soup, U.S.
Morrison is buying her way into the kitchens of Asia: in August the company acquired cookiemaker Kelsen Group, which gets about a third of its $180 million in revenue from China and Hong Kong. Morrison hopes to leverage Kelsen’s distribution to peddle other Campbell brands, like Pepperidge Farm, in the region.

31. Mary Callahan Erdoes
46, ceo, Asset Management, J.P. Morgan Chase, U.S.
Erdoes is in charge of a massive $1.6 trillion at J.P. Morgan Asset Management, the ­seventh largest fund of its kind in the world, with investment managers in 33 countries. She has increased assets for 19 straight quarters and boosted profits 18% in the last quarter of 2013, even as J.P. Morgan’s overall profit fell by 7.3%.

32. Elizabeth Corley
57, CEO, Allianz Global Investors, Britain
Corley’s asset-management firm, a unit of financial-services giant Allianz, has $436 billion in assets under management. Corley shuttles among corporate offices in Germany and France and customer strongholds such as the U.S. and the Asia-Pacific region. In her free time Corley writes crime novels. So far, she’s published five.

33, Karen Agustiawan
55, President, Ceo, Pertamina, Indonesia
Agustiawan has steered Indonesia’s $70 billion-in-revenue national energy company to record earnings of $2.7 billion in 2012. She caught Big Oil’s attention last year with bold acquisitions overseas, including Conoco­Phillips assets in Algeria and a stake in ExxonMobil’s oil block in Iraq.

34. Renée James
49, President, Intel, U.S.
The computing power at James’ fingertips reaches far: a majority of data centers worldwide run on Intel products, and 75% of the chipmaker’s revenue comes from outside the U.S. Since becoming president last year, James is driving Intel’s strategy and especially its move into mobile, an area where it has lagged.

35. Harriet Green
52, Group CEO, Thomas Cook, Britain
Since Green took over the iconic but ailing British travel company in July 2012, the company’s stock is up more than 100-fold. Some 68% of its revenue comes from outside Britain, thanks to a bold restructuring. She’s continuing to reinvent Thomas Cook, with plans to shed businesses and focus on tour operations, airlines and concept hotels.

36. Pam Nicholson
54, President, Ceo, Enterprise Holdings, U.S.
With a mature U.S. market for car rentals, Nicholson is pushing for overseas growth, planning to expand to 70 countries and territories, from 50 today. The world’s largest car-rental company, with 1.4 million vehicles, has grown from a fleet of just 6,000 when Nicholson started at the company as a management trainee in 1981.

37. Bridget Van Kralingen
50, SVP, IBM Global Business Services, IBM, U.S.
Touted as CEO Rometty’s protégé, Van Kralingen oversees one of IBM’s most important units.
Global Business Services, key to growth areas like big data, hit $18.4 billion in revenue in 2013. Despite IBM’s disappointing Q4 earnings, GBS pretax profits were up 12%, fueled by North America, Europe and Japan.

38. Nancy McKinstry
55, Chairman, CEO, Wolters Kluwer, Netherlands
American McKinstry, the Netherlands’ first female CEO of a public company, is successfully moving the publisher of professional journals into the digital realm. Her company helps others go global with services that educate accountants, lawyers and others on global business practices.

39. Rosalind Brewer
51, President, CEO, Sam’s Club, Walmart Stores, U.S.
Brewer has responsibility for all of Sam’s Club’s U.S. locations (Sam’s operations in Brazil, China and Mexico are part of the international division), but her purview isn’t just domestic. With oversight of $56.4 billion in revenue, she has massive purchasing power. Her merchandise team sources products from 103 countries.

40. Sandra E. Peterson
55, Group Worldwide Chairman, Johnson & Johnson, U.S.
The former Bayer and McKinsey executive made history in 2012 as J&J’s most senior outside hire ever. Peterson now oversees 65% of J&J’s global workforce, including the $14.7 billion consumer business and supply chain—two areas she’s been charged with revamping following product recalls in recent years.

41. Ana Patricia Botín
54, CEO, Santander U.K., Britain
The Spanish-born, U.S.-educated executive runs Santander U.K., the country’s largest bank by retail deposits. Most of the bank’s business is local (97% of customer assets come from the U.K.), but Botín could be in line for a huge global job. She’s widely believed to be a top candidate for the CEO spot at parent company Santander, the euro zone’s largest bank.

42. Dong Mingzhu
59, Chairperson, President Gree Electric Appliances Inc. of Zhuhai, China
Dong, who joined Gree as a sales­person in 1990, has helped make the air-conditioning maker, with $16 billion in revenue, a worldwide player. It exports to almost every country and manufactures in Brazil, China, Pakistan and Vietnam.
Plans for an American factory
are under way.

43. Lubna Olayan
58, Deputy Chairperson, CEO, Olayan Financing, Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s most prominent businesswoman (she runs the Middle Eastern businesses and investments of the Olayan Group, founded by her father), Olayan has been a champion for gender equality in the Middle East, calling for Arab CEOs to hire and mentor women.

44. Heather Bresch
44, CEO, Mylan, U.S.
Less than two years into her tenure as CEO, Bresch in December closed a $1.75 billion deal to buy Agila, a division of India’s Strides Arcolab, making Mylan a top contender in the global injectables market. She also just hired a top executive from rival Pfizer to help Mylan grow in Latin America and expand branded products like EpiPen, Mylan’s biggest specialty item.

45. Ilene Gordon
60, Chairman, CEO, President, Ingredion, U.S.
Ingredion is no longer just in the business of corn products and sweeteners (though it remains
one of the world’s leading makers of dextrose), and it isn’t only serving traditional manufacturers anymore. Gordon sees big opportunity in the Middle East and Africa, now 8% of revenue, and Asia (13% of revenue).

46. Carolyn McCall
52, CEO, Easyjet, Britain
McCall’s three-year effort to turn around the no-frills European airline is paying off: by adding reserved seating and other features, the former publishing executive produced record profits last year and rewarded shareholders with about a half-billion-dollar onetime dividend—and an almost $11 billion market cap.

47. Kwon Seon-joo
57, CEO, Industrial Bank of Korea, South Korea
In December, Kwon became the first woman to head a bank in South Korea. With assets of about $200 billion, the state-owned entity is reportedly the 105th largest bank in the world. Kwon, who was an English-literature major in college, wants to expand to serve small and medium-size firms in emerging markets.

48. Isabelle Ealet
51, Global Co-Head, Securities Division, Goldman Sachs, Britain
French-born, London-based
Ealet leads Goldman’s largest division by revenue, with $15.7 billion last year. (Her portfolio includes fixed income, commodities, currency and stock trading for clients.) Her revenue took a big hit in 2013, falling 13% from a year earlier, and going forward, analysts say, regulation could further hem profits.

49. Zhang Xin
48, CEO, Soho China, China
Though her real estate company is relatively small (about $2.5 billion in revenue), Zhang may be China’s most internationally renowned businesswoman, thanks to her high-profile development projects with architect Zaha Hadid and her co-ownership of Manhattan’s GM Building. (Oh, and she had a cameo role in Oliver Stone’s Wall Street sequel.)

50. Angela Ahrendts
53, CEO, Burberry, Britain
Ahrendts is a bit of a lame duck as she hands the reins at the British fashion house to successor Christopher Bailey. But expect her to skyrocket up the ranking after she takes on her next role as Apple’s head of retail and online stores, a portfolio with $20 billion in sales (about $17 billion more than at Burberry).

by Rupali Arora, Catherine Dunn, Beth Kowitt, Colleen Leahey, Patricia Sellers and Anne Vandermey

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