How the power players do it - by Fortune senior editor at large Patricia Sellers

Women execs rising, moving, struggling

March 22, 2010: 1:22 PM ET

by Patricia Sellers

I'm back from Brazil. Looking forward to filling you in on my whirlwind adventure, where I saw a booming middle-class and lots of opportunity.

But right now, a catch-up on well-known women who moved up and down and over while I was away. Christiane Amanpour's leap to ABC News is big. For perspective, last year at a Fortune Most Powerful Women dinner in New York, Amanpour gave a tribute to the greatest mentor she ever had: Ted Turner. Amanpour has been with CNN since 1983, three years after Turner founded the cable-news network. She's the chief international correspondent and the core of CNN. So her departure is a loss for parent Time Warner (TWX), which also owns Fortune. Amanpour's main mission, topping corporate loyalty, has been to lift the profile of international news in the U.S.--which ABC's This Week could well help her do. But will Disney (DIS), ABC's owner, be as hands off as Time Warner has been when Amanpour questions U.S. foreign policy?

Over at General Electric (GE), one of Fortune's Most Powerful Women, Charlene Begley--No. 27 on the 2009 list--is gaining power again. She's takimg charge of corporate-wide sourcing, quality, and information technology (as GE's longtime IT boss, Gary Reiner, leaves the company). Begley's promotion comes just three months after another: to CEO of GE Home & Business Solutions, where she oversees $9 billion in annual revenues, 35,000 employees, and businesses including Appliances & Lighting and Intelligent Platforms. Is GE CEO Jeff Immelt (to whom Begley reports directly) grooming her for bigger things? Clearly. Once GE's youngest SVP ever, she's now run GE FANUC Automation, Transportation, Plastics, and Enterprise Solutions. And she's still only 43.

Credit: Laurie Steiner Halperin

Meanwhile, Joanne Bradford's jump from Yahoo (YHOO) to Demand Media shocked Silicon Valley, including most of her colleagues. But is her move surprising, really? Not if you know Bradford, who has moved from Microsoft (MSFT) to start-up SpotRunner to Yahoo in the span of two years. Perpetually restless, she's always looking for opportunity. Rich Rosenblatt, who sold MySpace's parent, Intermix Media, to News Corp. (NWS) in 2005, is the guy now wooing Bradford away. His latest social-media venture looks as hot as MySpace did a few years ago--but can he build, with Bradford as chief revenue officer, a company that holds its edge vs. media giants and swarming upstarts? She starts at Santa Monica-based Demand next Monday but isn't moving to southern California. She lives in her parents' Silicon Valley home, which she bought 12 years ago, with her husband and two daughters. Her older daughter goes to the high school where she graduated.

One more woman I must mention: Erin Callan. You can read my story about the surprising new life of Lehman Brothers' (BCS) former CFO in the current issue of Fortune. "I have changed my life in a very significant way, which I hope will be more fulfilling and worthwhile," she wrote in an email that is included in the story. But now, as she's front and center in the blistering 2,200-page bankruptcy examiner's report on Lehman's collapse, her wish to create "a hard line" between her old life on Wall Street and her life today is simply impossible.

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