Ping An, Macquarie CEOs among world’s 10 most powerful women

Jessica Tan is co-CEO, Ping An
Two Asia-Pacific CEOs make Fortune’s top 10 most powerful women in business – meet Ping An’s Jessica Tan and Macquarie’s Shemara Wikramanayake

There is no doubting 2023 as a landmark year for women in business.

For the first time, more than 10% of the Fortune 500 CEOs are women. Not only that, but when CEOs step down, women are increasingly being called up to replace them.

Some 106 CEOs left their jobs in the first half of 2023, and of the chief executive replacements, 13% were women, up from 2.4% in 2018.

As Fortune puts it: “The business world is demanding change, and women leaders are meeting the moment.”

This is certainly true for the women on Fortune’s just-released Top 100 Most Powerful Women in Business list – which this year sees two female businesswomen in Asia-Pacific feature in the prestigious top 10 ranking.

Rubbing shoulders with female global greats like Karen Lynch, CEO of CVS Health (#1), Julie Sweet, CEO of Accenture (#2), and Carol Tome, CEO, UPS (#6) are Jessica Tan, co-CEO of Ping An, China’s largest insurer Ping An, and Shemara Wikramanayake, CEO of Macquarie, Australia’s biggest investment bank.

Great minds think alike, it seems, as Jessica recently took the crown in Business Chief’s Top 10 female CEOs in Asia, while Shemara has features as the Lifetime of Achievement spotlight in the just-launched inaugural issue of Business Chief Asia and ANZ.

Fortune’s 2023 global list – which delivers 53 newcomers – recognises the leading businesswomen representing sectors including finance, tech, healthcare, telecom, retail, and energy – with finance and tech leading the way (20 from each field).

And while US-based businesswomen continue to dominate the list, this year’s more global representation sees seven women from Greater China make the grade, two from India, and four from Australia.

Among these Sandy Ran Xu, who took over Chinese e-commerce titan in May; Vanessa Hudson, who assumed the top job at Australia’s flagship carrier Qantas in September; Reliance Retail Ventures’ leader Isha Ambani, who is an heiress to the enormous Ambani fortune; and Melanie Perkins, the CEO and co-founder of Canva, one of the world’s most valuable startups.

As co-CEO of Ping An, Jessica Tan is named fifth most powerful woman in business by Fortune for the second consecutive year

Meet Jessica Tan, co-CEO, Ping An – 5th most powerful woman in business

Ranked the world’s fifth most powerful woman in business in 2023, the same spot as last year, Jessica Tan has co-led China’s largest insurer, Ping An Insurance (Group) Company, since 2018.

As co-CEO and executive director of what is the world’s leading global insurance enterprise, according to Fortune’s Global 500, and the 25th largest company in the world, Jessica looks after the group’s technology, operations and innovation divisions and a portfolio of businesses including mobile healthcare platform, Good Doctor.

Under her five-year leadership, Ping An has landed numerous awards for innovation in tech, ranking first globally in 2021-2022 in the number of AI, fintech and digital healthcare patent applications – while Good Doctor has grown to one of the world’s leading health-techs.

And despite China’s strict Covid lockdowns, Ping An has continued to thrive under Tan’s leadership with Life & Health NBV growing 45% YoY and bancassurance channels up 174.7% – and with plans to achieve carbon neutrality by 2030.

Jessica, who is an MIT graduate and previously spent more than a decade at McKinsey as a consultant and partner, was recently named one of 15 founding members of the World Bank’s Private Sector Investment Lab, serving alongside various CEOs including Fortune top 10 peer Shemara Wikramanayake, CEO.

Shemara Wikramanayake, CEO, Macquarie Group

No stranger to accolades, Shemara took the ninth spot on Fortune’s Top 10 most powerful women in business list, sandwiched between Ruth Porat, CFO, Google, and Gail Boudreaux, CEO, Elevance Health.

As the first women to lead Macquarie Group, Australia’s largest investment bank, and the first Asian-Australian woman to lead an ASX 200 company, Shemara, 61, featured as the Lifetime of Achievement in Business Chief’s inaugural Asia and ANZ publication this month.

In her three decade-long career at Macquarie, Shemara has worked in six countries and across numerous business lines, stablishing and leading Macquarie’s corporate advisory offices in New Zealand, Hong Kong and Malaysia, and its infrastructure funds management business in the US and Canada – driving the emerging asset management division of the business.

In the four years she has been CEO, earnings have risen 58% to A$4.7 billion. Shemara has led the global financial services group to record-breaking heights, with profits of US$3.5 billion in 2022, up 56% over 2021’s then best-ever financials.

Not only that, the Sri-Lankan-born Shemara has pushed has pushed herself and Macquarie into the heart of the global finance industry’s efforts to discuss, coordinate and advocate on climate change.

Just months into her role as Macquarie chief, she became one of only three CEOs to be named commissioner of the World Bank-led Global Commission on Adaptation and was further appointed as the founding CEO of the UN Climate Finance Leadership Initiative (CFLI) – working with others towards a six-fold increase in climate mitigation from the private sector.

Here are the Top 10 of the 2023 Fortune 100 Most Powerful Women in Business:

  1. Karen S. Lynch, President and CEO, CVS Health (U.S.)
  2. Julie Sweet, Chair and CEO, Accenture (U.S.)
  3. Mary Barra, Chair and CEO, General Motors (U.S.)
  4. Jane Fraser, CEO, Citigroup (U.S.)
  5. Jessica Tan, Executive Director, Co-CEO, Ping An (China)
  6. Carol Tomé, CEO, UPS (U.S.)
  7. Emma Walmsley, CEO, GSK (U.K.)
  8. Ruth Porat, President, CIO, CFO, Alphabet and Google (U.S.)
  9. Shemara Wikramanayake, Managing Director and CEO, Macquarie (Australia)
  10. Gail Boudreaux, President and CEO, Elevance Health (U.S.)

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