NEW YORK, Sept. 1 (UPI) -- Angela Merkel, Germany's first woman chancellor, has succeeded U.S. Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice on the Forbes list as the world's most powerful woman.
Merkel, widely respected for her quiet diplomacy and a firm believer in free-market capitalism, won a tight election last year to unseat Gerhard Schroeder in the top German government post.
Forbes magazine, in announcing its choices for the 100 most powerful women, cited a record 30 women are serving in high echelons of government, up from 24 a year ago, including Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf, the president of Liberia, and Chilean President Michelle Bachelet. Han Myung-sook is South Korea's first female prime minister.
Forbes said 48 women were running big companies as chief executives or chairwomen throughout the world, up from 35 last year, among them Indra Nooyi, Irene Rosenfeld and Patricia Woertz in the top jobs at PepsiCo, Kraft Foods and Archer Daniels Midland.