Fortune’s new 50 Most Powerful Women in Business list features four representatives of Big Pharma, as well as a further four from powerful US health insurance corporations.
The annual ranking is based on five criteria: the size and importance of a leader’s business in the global economy, the health and direction of the business, the arc of her career, her social and cultural influence and how she uses her position to help shape her company and the world beyond.
Although long under pressure from investors, Emma Walmsley retained her position as CEO of GSK and is once more the most powerful woman in pharma, eighth on the overall list. Walmsley oversaw the demerger of GSK’s consumer healthcare business into a new company – Haleon – as well as moderate growth in 2021.
In 13th place in this year’s list is Angela Hwang, a member of Pfizer’s Executive Team, the company’s chief commercial officer and president of its Global Biopharmaceuticals Business. Pfizer. Hwang helped oversee a stellar 2021 for the US firm with a 92% operational growth in revenue to USD 81.3bn, driven in large part by significant uptake of its COVID-19 vaccine.
Writing on LinkedIn, Hwang said, “I’m incredibly honored to be included in Fortune’s 25th annual Most Powerful Women in Business list, which for the first time includes both domestic and international female leaders of the globe’s largest companies. Seeing how these women are wielding their power to improve the world in so many different ways is awe-inspiring.
“My experiences have taught me a lot about what it takes to create impact. It’s about contributing to solutions, creating strong teams and partnerships, speaking up for myself and including others. I believe we all have a chance to make a positive impact, and I’ve found the key has been simply to take action where and when it counts and to be fully in the moment. I’m grateful for this recognition and will continue to advocate for the patients we help and aspiring female leaders – in any way that I can.”
CEO Albert Bourla added, “Congratulations Angela on this well-deserved achievement! It has truly been an honor to work with you and to witness firsthand your passion and dedication to helping patients, mentoring women and advancing equity. “
Belen Garijo became just the second female Big Pharma CEO after Walmsley when she took the reins at German Merck KGaA in 2021 and sits at number 29 in the 2022 list. 2021 was “a year of record growth and margin expansion” according to the company’s annual reporting, with organic sales growth of 13.8 percent across the company, which is split into life science, healthcare, and electronics divisions.
Writing on LinkedIn, Garijo said “I am honored to be among so many inspiring women who have made incredible strides in their professional lives! This is not about individual power, it is about collective contribution to a better, more diverse and inclusive future for the coming generations.”
For the seventh year in succession, Executive Vice President and Worldwide Chairman, Pharmaceuticals at Johnson & Johnson Jennifer Taubert makes the list, this year at number 36.
In a statement on the J&J website, global CEO Joaquin Duato said, “Jennifer has dedicated her career to making a global impact in healthcare. At Johnson & Johnson that means putting patients and all those we serve at the center of everything we do … She is an inspirational leader and truly deserving of this recognition once again.”
J&J highlight a number of “firsts” in novel therapies overseen by Taubert over the past year, “including the launch of Janssen’s first cell therapy, for multiple myeloma; a treatment for non-small cell lung cancer for patients with a specific genetic mutation; and a twice-yearly injectable for schizophrenia in adults.”
Other female executives working in or adjacent to healthcare to feature on the list included Karen Lynch, president and CEO of CVS Health (number one), Rosalind Brewer, CEO of Walgreens Boots Alliance (number seven), Gail Boudreaux, president and CEO of Elevance Health (number nine), and Sarah London, CEO of Centene Corporation (number 39).