Ornella Barra's first job was working in a pharmacy in the town of Chiavari, near Genoa in Northern Italy. Barra, now chief executive, Wholesale and Brands for Alliance Boots, subsequently managed the pharmacy, and then bought it.
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.