Meet the most powerful business women in the United States – and their stories at a glance:
Marissa Mayer, 37
CEO of Yahoo!
News broke Monday that long-time Google executive Marissa Mayer had been tapped to become Yahoo!’s new CEO. And if that didn’t cause enough excitement, Mayer announced later that evening she was also six months pregnant with her first child — a fact Yahoo!’s board of directors expressed no concerns about when Mayer told them.
But Mayer has been blazing trails long before this week. She was Google’s first female engineer, has headed up their search team and is known for overseeing projects such as Google Maps and the guide Zagat, which Google acquired last year.
Mayer grew up in small-town Wisconsin and is a graduate of Stanford University. Her glamorous wedding to entrepreneur Zachary Bouge, who invests in data start-ups, appeared in Vogue. She and her husband own a $5 million penthouse in San Francisco and Mayer, who loves fashion, once paid $60,000 at a charity auction to lunch with designer Oscar de la Renta.
Sheryl Sandberg, 42
Chief Operating Officer of Facebook
This self-made billionaire is known for being the financially savvy No. 2 under Facebook cofounder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Last month, she became the first woman on the company’s board of directors. Sandberg was tapped as COO in 2008, when she was recruited from Google. She worked there for six and a half years as a vice president, managing online global sales and operations. Before that, Sandberg was President Bill Clinton’s Treasury Department chief of staff.
Sandberg is an outspoken proponent of helping women advance to top executive positions, especially in the tech sector, and her efforts to change the early frat-boy culture of Facebook have been chronicled. Sandberg gives speeches all over the world, advising women to take charge of their career paths without blaming men for holding them back.
A graduate of Harvard Business School, Sandberg has two children and is married to Dave Goldberg, the CEO of the online survey-making company SurveyMonkey.
Indra Nooyi, 56
Chairman and CEO of PepsiCo.
A native of India, Indra Nooyi has worked her way up PepsiCo.’s corporate ladder over the last 18 years. She joined the company’s board of directors in 2001 and became CEO in 2006. As director of the company’s global strategy, she oversaw PepsiCo.’s acquisition of Tropicana and merger with Quaker Oats, which added the Quaker and Gatorade brands to the PepsiCo. family.
Nooyi holds a master’s in business from the Indian Institute of Management in Calcutta, as well as a master’s from Yale University, a course of study that led Nooyi to move to the United States at age 23.
Nooyi played cricket in college and guitar in a female rock band in her Indian hometown. She still calls her mother in India twice daily and places a high value on the three Fs: family, friends and faith. Nooyi is married and has two daughters.
Irene Rosenfeld, 59
Chairman and CEO of Kraft Foods
Known as a high-powered woman who likes to stay out of the limelight, Irene Rosenfeld made headlines last year with her decision to split Kraft Foods into two companies: a North American grocery business and a global snacks business, which she will head starting this year. Rosenfeld was tapped as Kraft’s CEO six years ago and has been chairman for five.
Rosenfeld also led Kraft’s hostile takeover of the British company Cadbury, a move that helped increase Kraft’s stock prices.
Rosenfeld received her master’s degree and Ph.D. from Cornell University, where she met her first husband. The two had two daughters before his death in 1995. Rosenfeld has since remarried an investment banker.
Anna Maria Chávez, 43
CEO Girl Scouts of the USA
The Girls Scouts of the USA is nowhere near the size of companies like Kraft and PepsiCo., but Anna Maria Chávez deserves an honorable mention for becoming the first Latina to lead the Girl Scouts in their 100-year history. (Latina CEOs are extremely rare, even in Latin America, where just 1.8 percent lead companies.)
Appointed last November, Chávez has pledged to make the Girl Scouts, which has 3.2 million members, a more diverse organization, partly by recruiting more young Latinas and their parents to participate.
Chávez grew up in rural Arizona and is a graduate of Yale University and the University of Arizona’s law school. She later served as then-Governor of Arizona Janet Napolitano’s deputy chief of staff for urban relations and community redevelopment.