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

HP's Whitman sets the record for female Fortune 500 CEOs

September 23, 2011: 2:00 PM ET

With Meg Whitman nabbing the CEO job at Hewlett-Packard--and the four women at the bottom of this list (below) new to the top job this year--America now has 15 female Fortune 500 CEOs.

Not a number to be proud of, but hey, it's a record and it is progress nonetheless.

Here are the women at the helm--including the rank of their companies on the Fortune 500:

11  Meg Whitman, Hewlett-Packard (HPQ)

39 Pat Woertz, Archer Daniels Midland (ADM)

42  Angela Braly, WellPoint (WLP)

43 Indra Nooyi, Pepsico (PEP)

49 Irene Rosenfeld, Kraft Foods (KFT)

68 Lynn Elsenhans, Sunoco (SUN)

84 Ellen Kullman, DuPont (DD)

119 Carol Meyrowitz, TJX (TJX)

121 Ursula Burns, Xerox (XRX)

221 Laura Sen, BJ's Wholesale Club (BJ)

226 Andrea Jung, Avon Products (AVP)

245 Deanna Mulligan, Guardian Life Insurance (not publicly held)

274 Debra Reed, Sempra Energy (SRE)

312 Denise Morrison, Campbell Soup (CPB)

417 Beth Mooney, KeyCorp (KEY)

As we send our 2011 Most Powerful Women list to press (a day late, as we scrambled yesterday to place Whitman in our rankings), the competition grows. Who will be No. 1? We'll announce that and reveal the new MPW list next Thursday.

For updates on the Fortune Most Powerful Women community, like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

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