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Meet the CFOs on Fortune’s list of the Most Powerful Women in Business

Good morning.
This morning, Fortune announced the 2023 edition of the Fortune Most Powerful Women in Business list. One hundred women leaders across industries earned a spot, including several CFOs.
“Our annual list of the Most Powerful Women in Business includes big-company lifers like Mary Barra, but also women making a major impact early in their careers,” Fortune editor-in-chief Alyson Shontell writes in the foreword of the October/November 2023 issue of Fortune.
Here are the finance chiefs who made the list:
Susan Li, CFO at Meta—a finance chief still early in her career—made her debut on the MPW list. Li leads both the finance and facilities teams. She reports to CEO Mark Zuckerberg and oversees 10,000 workers. Li has steered Meta’s finances—$116.61 billion in 2022 revenue—as it has recovered from a tumultuous 2022 that included its first-ever year-over-year revenue decline.
Before becoming CFO in November 2022 at age 36, Li served as the company’s VP of finance and led the teams focused on finance and business planning and treasury. She joined the company, then called Facebook, in 2008.
Kathryn Mikells, SVP and CFO at Exxon Mobil, is a newcomer on the MPW list. Mikells joined the company in August 2021 as SVP and CFO. Mikells is the first female member of the Management Committee at Exxon Mobil and the company’s first official chief financial officer. Before her appointment, members of the management team shared the finance duties.
Mikells has direct ownership of the investor relations department. She plays an important role in managing the company’s budget, which includes Exxon Mobil’s plan to invest $17 billion to lower carbon emissions through 2027 for the company’s operations and for customers. Mikells also leads the company’s disciplined spending strategy, which includes on-track plans to deliver a total of approximately $9 billion in structural cost reductions by year-end 2023 versus 2019.
Sinead Gorman, executive director and CFO at Shell, may have started her career as a civil engineer but her path led to the C-suite. She makes her debut on the MPW list. Gorman joined Shell, Europe’s largest energy company, in 1999 and held several global senior finance positions before landing the CFO role in 2022. With a tailwind of high oil and gas prices, Shell more than doubled its profit to $39.9 billion in 2022, easily surpassing its previous annual record of $28.4 billion reached in 2008. In 2022, of the $25 billion Shell put aside for capital improvements, it invested $12.5 billion into its oil business, while allocating $4.3 billion to low-carbon energy projects.
Amy Hood, CFO at Microsoft, is now in her 10th year as CFO. Hood worked to extend the company’s partnership with OpenAI, building on Microsoft’s multiyear, multibillion-dollar investment in the startup’s generative AI technologies. In the year through September 2023, Microsoft added more than $500 billion to its market cap, which stood at $2.35 trillion at the end of that month.
Ruth Porat, CFO at Alphabet, officially took on the newly created role of president and chief investment officer on Sept. 1. She continues to serve as CFO of Alphabet and Google until a successor is appointed. Porat is in charge of the company’s portfolio of “Other Bets” like self-driving car unit Waymo and investment vehicles like corporate venture capital arms GV and CapitalG. Since Porat joined in 2015, revenue has soared from about $75 billion to more than $283 billion in fiscal 2022, and the company returned $59 billion in capital to shareholders that year.
Melanie Kreis, CFO at DHL Group, is a member of DHL’s board of managing directors. Kreis is not only a finance chief but a physicist. She became CFO of Deutsche Post in 2016, the first woman to hold this position. She first joined the company in 2004, serving in several financial leadership positions, including CFO of DHL Express. Last year, DHL Group signed an agreement to acquire up to 100% of J.F. Hillebrand Group AG for approximately $1.6 billion. As CFO, Kreis closed the deal and finalized the acquisition of the ocean freight forwarding expert. With group revenue of approximately $100.5 billion for 2022, the company exceeded its record from the previous year by 15.5%.
Sheryl Estrada
Joel Grade was named EVP and CFO at Baxter International Inc. (NYSE:BAX), a global med-tech company, effective on Oct. 18. At that time, Brian Stevens, who has served as the company’s interim CFO since May 31, will transition to his prior role as SVP, chief accounting officer and controller. Grade, 53, joins Baxter following a 25-year career with Sysco. He most recently served as Sysco’s EVP of corporate development and previously held the roles of EVP and CFO as well as SVP of finance and chief accounting officer, and senior VP of food service operations. Grade started his career as a senior auditor at Ernst & Young LLP.
Todd Wahlund was promoted to VP and CFO at Otter Tail Corporation (Nasdaq: OTTR), effective Jan. 1, 2024. Wahlund will succeed Kevin Moug who will retire on Dec. 31 after 27 years at the company. For the past five years, Wahlund has served as the CFO and VP of finance at Otter Tail Power Company, the corporation’s electric utility. Before that, Wahlund served as the VP of financial planning and treasurer at the corporation, and as VP of finance and planning for the Varistar Manufacturing Platform.
Big deal
The FIS Global Innovation Report has focused on how executives are managing risks and how new technology is being leveraged to help. While many companies face increased risk, almost all surveyed (93%) are confident that they will be able to manage and overcome their current challenges.
Executives in the financial services sector, which is a highly regulated industry, are more likely to feel very confident in their ability to manage or overcome macro risks (48%, in comparison to an all-industry average of 44%), according to the report. Generally, these companies are more attuned to risk management, and have significant teams to manage risk, as well as company-wide education programs to prevent issues, FIS states.
Going deeper
“Mira Murati, the young CTO of OpenAI, is building ChatGPT and shaping your future,” is a new Fortune feature article. Murati talks about the ultra-high stakes in the generative AI revolution.
“Saying, ‘Don’t use AI,’ is like saying, ‘Don’t drive a car or use electricity. Whether you like it or not, the AI revolution will come.”
—SoftBank Group CEO Masayoshi Son said to the audience during the SoftBank World corporate conference on Wednesday to “take advantage of [AI] or be left behind,” Fortune reported.



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