The revelation of the FT’s 2007 power list continues with a new entry from Burberry and a Scandinavian double. You can read the ranking criteria here, the rankings from 25 to 21 and 20 to 16 here, and the 2006 list here. The rankings from 10 to 1 will be published on Thursday October 11.
11. Angela Ahrendts
Rank in 2006: New entry
Position: Chief Executive, Burberry
Bogged down in the Great Universal Stores conglomerate, Burberry was not living up to its Latin motto “prorsum”: (forward). Under Ahrendts, who joined in January last year, the group looks reinvigorated. Her predecessor Rose Marie Bravo laid the groundwork but Ahrendts introduced a strategy that is transforming Burberry from clothing wholesaler to global luxury goods retailer.
Ahrendts was executive vice-president of Liz Claiborne before moving to Burberry and previously worked at Henri Bendel and Donna Karan International. Her strategy has been bigger and smaller: bigger with an expansionist international store-opening programme; smaller in thinning out an unnecessarily complicated range.
With Stacey Cartwright, finance director, and the young design director Christopher Bailey, Ahrendts has taken Burberry into the US heartland and introduced or rediscovered iconic touches. Not just the ubiquitous check, but the “Prorsum horse” and new handbag motifs.
12. Cristina Stenbeck
Rank in 2006: 13
Position: Chairman, Investment AB Kinnevik
Stenbeck was put in charge of the family empire when Swedish media magnate Jan Stenbeck, her father, died in 2002. Her appointment was greeted with scepticism, not least because at the age of 24, her formal work experience largely consisted of two years working for Ralph Lauren in New York. But she has proved critics wrong, running a business that stretches from investment portfolio management to telecoms and the Metro newspaper group.
As vice-chairman since 2003, she has consolidated Kinnevik’s two holding companies into one, Investment AB Kinnevik. She has also strengthened the boards of Kinnevik, its media arm Modern Times Group, and others in the group. And Stenbeck, who just turned 30, was promoted to chairman in May this year. Stenbeck is expected to keep her eye on both profit and innovation, with the objective of increasing shareholder value, primarily through net asset value growth.
The parent company manages a portfolio of long-term investments in a number of listed companies, including Millicom International Cellular, Tele2, and MTG. The company said the value of the group’s securities in major listed holdings increased by 24 per cent to SKr 44,767m ($6,925m) in the first half of this year. Incidentally, Stenbeck is not the only woman to make an impact. Last summer, Mia Brunell was appointed President and Chief Executive of Kinnevik, following her 14-year tenure with the group.
13. Stine Bosse
Rank in 2006: 11
Position: Group Chief Executive of TrygVesta
Bosse, who has a master’s degree in law from the University of Copenhagen and management degrees from Insead and the University of Pennyslvania, joined the insurance group two decades ago. She has been head of claims and human resources director, and became chief executive in 2001. Under her leadership, TrygVesta has become the second-largest general insurer in the Nordic region.
The Group comprises Tryg, Denmark’s largest general insurer, TrygVesta, Norway’s third largest insurer, Norwegian Enter and Danish guarantee insurer Dansk Kaution. TrygVesta also has a rapidly growing branch in Finland and has established a presence in Sweden. TrygVesta has 3,700 employees and the Group’s insurance products provide protection for more than two million private individuals.
This year, Trygvesta raised its earnings forecast for the year after beating analysts’ expectations for the first half. The company saw a 29.2 per cent rise in pre-tax profits for the first six months, helped by favourable investment returns and increases in customer loyalty in Norway and its home market Denmark, according to Reuters. TrygVesta raised its full-year forecast for profits before tax to DKr 3,100m ($588m) crowns from DKr 2,700m.
14. Nancy McKinstry
Rank in 2006: 8
Position: Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Executive Board, Wolters Kluwer
McKinstry studied economics at the University of Rhode Island, received an MBA in finance and marketing from Columbia University and is an honorary doctor of law. She was appointed to her current position in 2003 which took her from New York to the company’s headquarters in Amsterdam. Apart from a brief spell as chief executive officer of medical information company SCP Communications, McKinstry has been with the publishing and information services group for more than a decade.
Another challenge for the company – which has undergone a three-year restructuring programme - emerged in recent months when the Dutch publisher said its business had been hurt by the crisis in the stricken US sub-prime mortgage market. The Dutch group’s digital and print data are pitched at lawyers, accountants, tax experts and the healthcare sector and whose customers include companies exposed to the US mortgage market.
McKinstry had said only about €8.5m ($12m) in sales were tied to the sub-prime lending sector: ”While that sector has imploded we have been more than able to mitigate the problem by [sales gains] in other areas.” However, lower-than-expected second-quarter organic growth, which slowed to 2 per cent from 3 per cent in the first quarter, raised concerns in the market - though second-quarter net profit rose 14 per cent to €87m. Wolters Kluwer is often talked about by analysts as a potential merger partner for publisher Reed Elsevier.
15. Ingrid Matthäus-Maier
Rank in 2006: 17
Position: Chair and Chief Executive, KfW Bankengruppe
Much of Matthäus-Maier’s experience and background is in politics rather than business. A former lawyer and judge, she joined Germany’s Free Democratic Party in the late 1960s after time in student politics. In 1976 she became a member of the German Bundestag but defected six years later to the Social Democrats, where became deputy chairman of their parliamentary group in charge of finance and in 1995 joined their executive committee.
In 1999 Matthäus-Maier resigned from the Bundestag and took a seat on the board of the state-owned banking group KfW Bankengruppe. Naturally, the main question about Matthäus-Maier when she rose to the top post was whether she would be able to navigate the world of high finance – she now has an eight-year track record behind her.
However, the past few months have been particularly tumultuous for Matthäus-Maier and KfW, which owns a 38 per cent stake in IKB, the German bank which became one of the first European casualties of the credit crisis over the summer. KfW led the initiative to rescue IKB, which ran up huge losses on complex financial instruments backed by risky US property loans. But the bailout, which gives rise to a host of questions, does not reflect well on KfW, which is expected to sell its stake.