Oct. 8, 2010

Forbes: Alumna is No. 2 world's most powerful woman

In its October 2010 issue, Forbes magazine has named Irene Rosenfeld '75, M.S. '77, Ph.D. '80, CEO and chairman of Kraft Foods, the second most powerful woman in the world (after Michelle Obama and just ahead of Oprah Winfrey). Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg '54 is on the list at No. 31.

Writes Forbes of Rosenfeld, age 57:

"Her $26.3 million compensation package in 2009 made Rosenfeld the nation's second-highest-paid female, after Yahoo!'s Carol Bartz. She earned it, drawing fire early this year after announcing plans to acquire British candymaker Cadbury. Warren Buffett, whose Berkshire Hathaway owned 9.4% of Kraft, voted against the deal, calling it "dumb." When Rosenfeld refused to back down, Buffett retaliated by selling 33.1 million Kraft shares (one-third of Berkshire's stake). Who was right? Kraft's second-quarter revenues rose 25.3% to $12.3 billion, boosted largely by Cadbury's business in Europe and in developing markets. "Obviously I'm very pleased with the outcome," she says. On the home front, Kraft is spending more on ads to push core brands -- Philadelphia Cream Cheese, Kraft Singles, Oreos and Mac & Cheese (her favorite)."

A Cornell trustee, Rosenfeld's undergraduate degree is in psychology; her advanced degrees are in marketing and statistics from the Johnson School. Below her on the list of 100 women are Hillary Clinton at No. 5 and Lady Gaga at No. 7, trailed by Beyonce (9), Ellen DeGeneres (10), Nancy Pelosi (11) and Sarah Palin (16).

Of Ginsburg, age 77, who majored in government at Cornell, Forbes writes:

"Supreme Court Justice Ginsburg, who has sat on the nation's highest court for 17 years, wrote this summer's majority opinion that cast doubt on the convictions of media magnate Conrad Black and Enron's Jeffrey Skilling. As former American Civil Liberties Union general counsel, she co-founded its Women's Rights Project. Last year she survived pancreatic cancer; 10 years prior she beat colon cancer."