World's Most Powerful Woman: Michelle Obama

Forbes magazine has ranked First Lady Michelle Obama as the world's most powerful woman. Beating out heads of state, chief executives and celebrities.

So who rounded the top 5 spots in Forbes magazine's annual listing?
Irene Rosenfeld Chief Executive of Kraft Foods, who led a hostile $18 billion takeover of Britain’s Cadbury, came in second, with talk show host Oprah Winfrey, (who after 25 years is ending The Oprah Winfrey Show next year to launch her cable network, own) coming in third.

Angela Merkel, German Counsil came in fourth, followed by U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, who was put in charge of brokering Middle East peace coming in the firth spot.

Moira Forbes, vice president and publisher of Forbes Woman, said the women on the business magazine’s list were “shaping many of the agenda-setting conversations of the day.”

“They have built companies and brands, sometimes by non-traditional means and they have broken through gender barriers in areas of commerce, politics, sports and media and cultural zeitgeist, and thereby affecting the lives of millions, sometimes billions of people,” she said.

In previous years Forbes ranked women based on power and wealth. This year, however, they decided to concentrate on more on creative influence and entrepreneurship.

Last year Obama ranked No. 40 with the winner being Merkel, followed by Sheila Bair, chairman of the Federal Deposit Insurance Corp.

Forbes said Obama topped the list this year because “she has made the office of first lady her own” while remaining popular.

“In a telling sign of her charisma, the White House is putting her on the campaign trail to headline fundraising events in battleground states like California and Colorado,” Forbes said.

“She’s also effective: In response to her Let’s Move! campaign against childhood obesity, companies like Coca-Cola, Kellogg and General Mills have pledged to reduce the calorie content of their foods by 2015,” it said.

Last week, PepsiCo Inc Chief Executive Indra Nooyi, was named the most powerful woman in U.S. business for the fifth year in a row by Fortune, was in sixth place, while singer Lady Gaga got the number 7 spot.

Gail Kelly, chief executive of Australia’s Westpac Banking Corp, came in eighth place, followed by singer Beyonce Knowles for 9th. Talk show host Ellen DeGeneres rounded out the top 10.

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