Indian women seem to be on the move. PepsiCo's Chief Executive-designate Indra Nooyi is the fourth most powerful woman in the world while Congress chief Sonia Gandhi is at 13th position, according to Forbes Magazine.
India-born and educated Nooyi, who was recently selected to become the top honcho of the fizz giant, made a quantum leap this year in the Forbes Top 100 Most Powerful Woman List from her 28th rank in 2005 while Gandhi made a fresh entry into the grouping.
The other Indians in the prestigious list are Joint Managing Directors of ICICI Bank Lalita Gupte and Kalpana Morparia, who found a place down the ladder at 93rd position. Vidya Chabbria, Chairman of the Jumbo Group based in Dubai, finds her place two position below at 95.
According to the list, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who did not even figure in last year's choice, overtook US Secretary of State Condolezza Rice to become this year's most powerful woman.
In the list, which have 53 women from the United States followed by five from Britain; Melinda Gates of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is at 12th position while Democrat Senator Hillary Clinton is at 18.
The US First Lady Laura Bush is found at 43rd most powerful position while Queen Elizabeth booked her place at 46th position followed by Myanmar's pro-democracy leader Aung San Suu Kyi.
The profile of Gandhi posted in the Forbes magazine website says that she "heads the left-leaning party of Jawaharlal Nehru, where she acts as opposition leader to Manmohan Singh, the pro-business Prime Minister".
The listing is based on a power ranking that, the magazine says, is composite of visibility (measured by press citation) and economic impact.
In its citation for Nooyi, Forbes says few people could handle either the presidential or the chief financial officer job at a company worth $100 billion. But not only has Nooyi held both offices since 2001, she was recently hand-picked to become Pepsi's new chief executive, effective October 1.
Nooyi has a string of career successes that helped her land the corner office at the food and beverage giant. She was the lead negotiator on Pepsi's $13.8 billion purchase of Quaker Oats and worked on its acquisition of Tropicana, as well as the spin-offs of its restaurant and bottling businesses.
Previously, Nooyi was an executive at Asea Brown Boveri, Motorola and Boston Consulting Group. Before emigrating to the US from India in 1978, Nooyi was a product manager at Johnson & Johnson and Mettur Beardsell, a textile outfit, in India.
An ICICI lifer, Gupte has held a variety of positions in the bank since 1971 and is now in charge of its international business arm, Forbes says.
Gupte is the joint managing director, along with Morparia, of India's second-largest bank, which boasts total assets of about $38.5 billion. The bank now has subsidiaries in the United Kingdom, Canada and Russia.
Morparia joined the bank in 1975 and now heads the corporate centre that is responsible for strategy for the bank's different units. Morparia, who has a law degree from Mumbai University, is responsible for risk management, audits and compliance, the magazine notes.