50 Most Powerful Black Women In Business

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

appointed her partner. As a senior portfolio manager, she oversees fixed income investments, which account for 33% of the firm’s assets under managemen
t. Her responsibilities include managing corporate and public pension funds, endowments, and mutual funds. As chair of the industry strategy group, she leads the team in examining fundamental trends within industries and recommends which ones to avoid or emphasize. She is also a member of the core bond strategy group and the corporate strategy group.

KIM NELSON VP General Mills Inc. President Snacks Unlimited Golden Valley, MN. Age: 43
Clout: Since beginning her career at General Mills in 1988, Nelson has been identified as a go-to professional, whether the assignment calls for her to develop a new cereal or launch a new product line. Appointed president of Snacks Unlimited in 2004, Nelson has built Pop Secret popcorn, Nature Valley granola bars, Chex Mix, and other snack foods into highly profitable brands. In 2005, her division was a major contributor to the food giant’s $11.2 billion in net sales. Nelson also believes in developing diverse talent as well: She serves on the advisory board of the Black Champions Network, the employee association she co-founded.

CHRISTINA NORMAN President MTV New York, NY. Age: 42
Clout: Norman is a leading force in the ultracompetitive landscape of television programming. As the strategic director of MTV2; mtvU, its college service; MTV Español; MTV Hits; and MTV Jams, she oversees programming, marketing, ad sales, distribution, and finance. In addition, she manages new media efforts for MTV.com and MTV Overdrive, a hybrid service available via broadband. Known as the turnaround queen for VH1, Norman was tapped by MTV to expand the network’s brand. If her success at VH1 is any measure, Norman should be a hit. Under her guidance, VH1’s prime-time ratings increased 80%.

RENETTA MCCANN CEO Starcom MediaVest Group Chicago, IL. Age: 47
Clout: McCann may stand only 5 feet tall, but she’s a giant in the media industry. As one of Starcom MediaVest Group’s advertising front-runners, the 28-year industry veteran is second to none when it comes to driving the bottom line and solidifying SMG as one of the world’s largest media planning and buying agencies.
Overseeing a staff of nearly 5,000 worldwide, McCann’s career highlights include landing the $600 million Walt Disney World account and maintaining the lowest employee turnover rate in the industry. When Starcom’s parent company, Paris-based Publicis Groupe Media, was shopping for a CEO to replace Jack Klues in October, McCann was an obvious choice.
Charged with ensuring Starcom’s continual success, she recently completed an estimated $400 million worth of services for Gillette, which Procter & Gamble acquired last year.
McCann joined Starcom in 1978 as a client service trainee and was integral to the launch of SMG as an independent entity back in 1998. Since 2004, she has held the CEO position for SMG’s Americas region, which includes the U.S., Canada, and Latin America. While she was CEO of SMG North America, BLACK ENTERPRISE saluted her efforts by naming her 2002 Corporate Executive of the Year.

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