Chat show star Oprah Winfrey is the seventh most powerful woman in American business, ranking alongside a wealthy cast of top company executives, it emerged today.
The queen of daytime chat, who also has her own prime time talk show, leapt three places since last year in Fortune magazine’s annual top 50.
Her ascent is largely down to improvements in her show, and successes with her magazine and book club. Winfrey, 49, is chairman of her firm Harpo Inc.
“Last year, Oprah was losing steam, cutting back her talk show schedule and extinguishing her book club,” Fortune said in its October 13 issue.
“But the darling of daytime has punched up show production, revived the book club (more than 1.6 million copies of East of Eden have sold since she picked it), and revved up her magazine, O (news stand sales rose 35% in the first half),” the magazine said.
Winfrey is the most famous of the top 10, which is led by Carly Fiorina, the 49-year-old chairwoman and chief executive of computer group Hewlett-Packard.
Ebay president and CEO Meg Whitman, 47, comes in at number two, followed by Avon head Andrea Jung, 45, Xerox chief Anne Mulcahy, 50, and Marjorie Magner, 54, who leads Citigroup bank’s Global Consumer Group.
Among the biggest losers was Columbia Pictures chairman Amy Pascal, who dropped 12 positions to number 38.
Fortune put her fate down to the poor performance of the three of Columbia’s films this year including the much criticised Ben Affleck and Jennifer Lopez collaboration Gigli.
“How did Pascal fall? Three little reasons – Gigli, Hollywood Homicide and Bad Boys II,” Fortune said.