Indra Nooyi of PepsiCo has been ranked the world's third most powerful woman in business by Forbes in its 2008 list of the top 100 women, based on power, economic component - job title and past career accomplishments and press coverage.
Nooyi, who had been ranked fifth last year, is expanding PepsiCo food and beverage section internationally to counter a shift of US consumer preferences for soda and chips
German Chancellor Angela Merkel, tops the list for the most powerful woman in the world, for the third consecutive year, as the top democratically elected female leader, followed by US Federal Deposit Insurance Corp chairperson Sheila Bair.
US secretary of state, Condoleezza Rice, the only other US official in the top 10 dropped 3 point, ranking seventh, in view of the fact that after the US presidential elections in November, Rice along with the rest of the Bush administration, will demit office in January 2009.
Congress party president Sonia Gandhi has slipped from sixth last year to 21 this year. Forbes said the Italian-born leader of India's most powerful political party has by now assumed the role of elder stateswoman.
Uttar Pradesh chief minister Mayawati made her debut in the Forbes list, ranking 59, as the one "in the running to be prime minister, from her perch as chief minister of Uttar Pradesh, India's most populous state," and is challenging Gandhi's position as the country's most powerful woman."
Former presidential hopeful, Sen Hillary Clinton dropped three points to No 28, but gained points for having gained the highest public profile through the media during her nomination campaign.
According to the Forbes, the list of 100 women comprised 54 businesswomen and 23 politicians, with the rest being leaders of non-profit organisations and media personalities.
One-third of the women are new to the list, including Argentina's first popularly elected president Cristina Fernandez and 45 per cent of the women being based outside the US, indicating the global rise of women leaders.
Top countries represented in the Forbes list included from U.K. (five women), China (four), France, India and the Netherlands (three each). Hynd Bouhia (No. 29), director-general of the Casablanca Stock Exchange was Morocco's first ranked woman this year.
Among the women to drop off the list this year are Zoe Cruz, former president of Morgan Stanley, Patricia Russo, former head of Alcatel Lucent and Meg Whitman, ex- eBay's chief executive.
Schoenberger said that a lot of the women who dropped off the list this year were for job-related reasons and in some cases it's simply a matter of the woman still has a powerful position but get pushed down and off the list because of relatively more powerful other women.