50 Most Powerful Black Women In Business

From the executive suite to the BE 100s, these dynamos are changing the direction of American business

financials. She sits on the executive committee of The Museum of Science and Industry and is a board member of Equity Residential Properties Trust and Blue Cross Blue Shield of Illinois.

CATHY D. ROSS SVP & CFO, FedEx Express FedEx Corp. Memphis, TN. Age: 48
Clout: Since 1984, Ross has played a significant role in securing the division’s position as the world’s largest express delivery service. Since 2004, Ross has managed the worldwide strategic and financial planning for FedEx Express operations, the subsidiary that operates in 52 countries and employs more than 140,000 workers. Last year, she increased the operating income to $19.5 billion, a 125% increase in just one year. She saved millions by creating the company’s first employee buyout program.

DEBRA A. SANDLER Worldwide President, McNeil Nutritional L.L.C. Johnson & Johnson Fort Washington, PA. Age: 45
Clout: Could Sandler’s job be any sweeter? As worldwide president, she oversees the development of Johnson & Johnson’s nutritional health products platform. In her position, she implements marketing strategies for products such as Viactiv and Lactaid, but she is best known for transforming Splenda into a best-selling sugar substitute. In 2004, Splenda generated about $187 million in retail sales, beating out Equal and Sweet’N Low. Even McDonald’s made Splenda its sweetener of choice.

INGRID SAUNDERS JONES SVP, Corporate External Affairs The Coca-Cola Co. Chairwoman The Coca-Cola Foundation Atlanta, GA. Age: 59
Clout: Saunders Jones directs The Coca-Cola Co.’s community, philanthropic, and civic affairs. For instance, as the bricks were laid for the National Unde
rground Railroad Freedom Center in Cincinnati, Saunders Jones persuaded Coca-Cola to donate $1 million. Under her leadership, the foundation has contributed $180 million in scholarships to minority students. She serves on the boards of Girls Inc., Clark Atlanta University, and the Andrew Young School of Policy Studies at Georgia State University.

SUZANNE SHANK President & CEO Siebert Brandford Shank & Co. L.L.C. Oakland, CA. Age: 44
Clout: A founding partner and principal of the fifth-largest black-owned investment bank, which has $51 billion in total managed issues, Shank was one of the senior managers tapped by the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department to help facilitate an $880 million bond issue. In July, her firm became a major bond underwriter for Detroit Public Schools. That initiative, which issued $500 million of unlimited tax-refunding bonds, helped reform the district’s governing structure.

GWENDOLYN SMITH ILOANI Chairwoman, President, & CEO Smith Whiley & Co. Hartford, CT. Age: 46
Clout: Smith Iloani has proven that she can hold her own in the male-dominated investment industry. Her private equity firm ranks No. 4 on the BE PRIVATE EQUITY list with $222 million in capital under management. An investment industry veteran, Smith Iloani directs the firm’s investment advisory and asset management business and the investment and portfolio management activities. Prior to forming her own firm, she was a managing director at Aetna Inc. Smith Iloani sits on the board of New Samaritan Corp., which provides affordable housing in Connecticut.

PAULA SNEED Executive VP, Global Marketing Resources & Initiatives Kraft Foods Inc. Northfield, IL. Age: 58
Clout: A 28-year

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