The world's top 10 women bosses

IBM boss Virginia RomettyIBM has named Virginia M Rometty, left, as its chief executive. She's the tech giant's ninth CEO and the first woman to get the job in the firm's 100-year history. Outgoing CEO Sam Palmisano said: "Ginni got it because she deserved it. It's got zero to do with progressive social policies." Rometty is a well-known figure in tech circles, and she's led the firm's services business for a decade. She joins a select group of female bosses of big corporations.
Rometty joined IBM in 1981 as a systems engineer, moving quickly up the management ladder. In 2002 she was a prominent backer of the move to buy business consulting firm PricewaterhouseCoopers Consulting for $3.5bn, and is widely credited with making that deal work by merging two very different cultures.

Since 2009 she has been senior vice president for sales, marketing and strategy, leading IBM's drive to increase its business in emerging markets outside the US. These markets now account for 23% of IBM's total revenue. Romitty has said her job was "not about capturing markets, it's about making new markets".

Rometty was placed at number 8 on the Fortune 500 list of the most powerful female executives of 2010. Her appointment should take her further up the rankings when the list is updated for this year. But let's look at those top 10 women in the boardroom.

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The World's top ten women bosses
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The world's top 10 women bosses

If you are the CEO of the second largest food and beverage business in the world, you are going to rank pretty highly on any list of big hitters. Nooyi has been in charge since 2001, and leads the Fortune 500 list for the fifth consecutive year.

CEO of the foods company since 2006, Rosenfeld has overseen a 15.9% rise in the company's share value through 2010.

Woertz has been CEO of the world's largest processor of corn since 2006 and topped the Fortune 500 list of most powerful women in 2009.

Braly has been president and CEO of the US's largest health insurance comp-any since 2007, and has been in the thick of political battles around increases in healthcare costs.

The Canadian-American daughter of parents from Shanghai and Hong Kong, Jung's power is partly derived from her position as a co-lead director of Apple.

Once labelled the most influential woman in the world, and the richest African American of the 20th century, Oprah is a media phenomenon.

Kullman is the first woman to head Dupont in its 206 year history, and has reversed decades of poor performance.

The first African-American woman to head a Fortune 500 firm, Burns has been instrumental in making Xerox the number one business process and document management firm.

Blunt-talking Bartz, once quoted as threatening to "drop-kick to f*cking Mars" employees who leaked to the press, was booted out as CEO herself only last month. She then resigned from Yahoo's board.

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