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

Marissa Mayer's unprecedented amazing trifecta

November 21, 2013: 12:16 PM ET

Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer and six other star powerful women make Fortune's Businessperson of the Year list.

Elon Musk, one of the greatest disruptors in tech since Steve Jobs, is Fortune's 2013 Businessperson of the Year, announced this morning. Musk is the innovator behind three major startups: Tesla Motors (TSLA), SpaceEx and SolarCity (SCTY). An audacious, tenacious triple threat. But another technology exec scores a trifecta that no one else in Fortune history ever has: Marissa Mayer is the only person ever to make the Businessperson of the Year list (No. 10), Fortune's Most Powerful Women rankings (at No. 8), and our 40 Under 40. (No. 1).Mayer

The Yahoo (YHOO) CEO rates x3 because she is the first CEO in a parade of bosses to produce a turnaround strategy that appears to be working. Since joining Yahoo from Google (GOOG) in July of 2012, the 38-year-old engineer has bought two dozen startups (including Tumblr for $1.1 billion), recast the corporate culture, and lifted Yahoo's user base to 800 million--while doubling Yahoo's stock.

Besides Mayer, six other Fortune MPW earned a place on the Businessperson of the Year list. Burberry (BURBY) chief Angela Ahrendts, who is moving to Apple (AAPL) next year, is No. 4. TJX (TJX) CEO Carol Meyrowitz ranks No. 17. Harriet Green, who saved British-based Thomas Cook (TCKGY) from the brink, is No. 23. Carolyn McCall, CEO of low-cost European airline EasyJet (ESYJD), is No. 30. DuPont (DD) CEO Ellen Kullman ranks No. 43. And self-made Chinese real-estate mogul Zhang Xin is No. 46.

Meanwhile, we had some fun ranking the 25 Most Powerful Female TV Characters--applying the Fortune MPW ranking criteria to the stars of hits like Scandal and Nashville and Mad Men. Which of Sterling Cooper's femme fatales, Peggy Olson or Joan Holloway, possesses more power? Fortune tells.

  • How Yahoo CEO Mayer fixed 1,000 problems

    Besides acquiring 24 startups and reformulating her team at the top, Marissa Mayer has done something else key to doubling Yahoo's stock price. She has fixed a load of little problems to transform the corporate culture.

    FORTUNE -- When Marissa Mayer landed at Yahoo (YHOO) as its new CEO 15 months ago, some employees told her, "There are 1,000 things you need to fix."

    "It's really overwhelming when people come up and MORE

    - Oct 22, 2013 10:33 AM ET
    Posted in: ,
  • More from Fortune's Most Powerful Women Summit

    Over the next few weeks, I'll be writing about ideas shared and lessons learned at last week's Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit.

    First up, tomorrow: Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer, who talked about how she's turning around Yahoo—and so far more than doubled the stock price.

    You'll find Fortune's 2013 MPW list and stories from the current issue here, MPW Summit coverage at and the video playlist of main-stage MPW Summit MORE

    - Oct 21, 2013 3:02 PM ET
    Posted in: ,
  • Watch Fortune's Most Powerful Women live

    Warren Buffett and Glenn Close brought down the house at the opening of the Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit. 

    After Senator Susan Collins and IMF chief Christine Lagarde kicked off the 2013 Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit in Washington D.C. Tuesday night with grim views of the dangers of the U.S. government shutdown, actress Glenn Close lightened the mood in high style. Taking the MPW Summit stage to disclose that she's venturing into a new phase of MORE

    - Oct 16, 2013 6:23 AM ET
  • Fortune Most Powerful Women: Where to find the lists and stories

    The definitive guide to Fortune's 2013 Most Powerful Women lists, magazine stories and online extras.

    Since we released Fortune's 2013 Most Powerful Women list Thursday morning, it's been hard to keep up with the many lists, charts and stories about the world's preeminent women leaders. Here's where you can find all our MPW content:

    Click here to visit the homepage for Fortune Most Powerful Women. You'll see the U.S. MPW list, the MORE

    - Oct 11, 2013 4:52 PM ET
  • Fortune's Power Women: five facts, and why Oprah didn't make it

    Fortune's Most Powerful Women list has changed dramatically over 15 years. New stars have emerged. And for the first time, the most famous superstar didn't make the cut.

    When Fortune published its first Most Powerful Women in Business list in 1998, there was Carly Fiorina at the top and not a huge amount of power underneath.

    Relatively speaking, that is.

    That 1998 Fortune MPW list included just two Fortune 500 CEOs: Jill Barad MORE

    - Oct 10, 2013 4:56 PM ET
  • The 2013 Fortune Most Powerful Women are...

    Women in technology top the Fortune Most Powerful Women list. Sheryl Sandberg and Marissa Mayer move up. Meg Whitman slips. Who's No. 1? IBM rules again.

    Ginni Rometty is Fortune's 2013 Most Powerful Woman in Business. The (IBM) chairman and CEO, who took charge at the start of 2012, takes the No. 1 spot on the MPW list for the second year in a row.

    PepsiCo (PEP) CEO Indra Nooyi retains her MORE

    - Oct 10, 2013 9:00 AM ET
  • What it takes to become a female Fortune 500 CEO

    As Marissa Mayer stood with David Karp to announce Yahoo's acquisition of Tumblr on Monday, you couldn't help but notice the vast educational divide between the two principals.

    Karp dropped out of Bronx High School of Science and went on to create a blogging platform worth $1.1 billion.

    Mayer graduated with honors from Stanford, earning a B.S. in Symbolic Systems and a Master's in Computer Science--then went to Google (GOOG) as its MORE

    - May 21, 2013 12:03 PM ET
  • Yahoo CEO Mayer on "the elephant in the room"

    Here's the image that Yahoo (YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer put up on the screen yesterday when she talked publicly for the first time about the HR policy that brought her worldwide controversy.

    "I need to talk about the elephant in the room," Mayer said at the Great Place to Work conference in Los Angeles. In case you don't get her joke, the "WFH" on the pachyderm's back is the CEO's code MORE

    - Apr 19, 2013 5:34 PM ET
    Posted in: ,
  • While Sheryl Sandberg Leans in, Marissa Mayer lies low

    A look at Silicon Valley's two most powerful women from a journalist who has known both for nearly a decade--and offers news about Mayer's controversial HR policy and nursery at Yahoo

    Never in the history of book marketing has there been a crusade quite like Sheryl Sandberg's. Last Thursday in New York, the Facebook (FB) COO hobnobbed with former U.S. Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, film director George Lucas and Barbara Walters MORE

    - Mar 11, 2013 3:37 PM ET
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MPWomen go Global

The Fortune/U.S. State Department Global Women Leaders Mentoring Partnership brings rising-star women from countries around the world to the U.S. for three-week mentorships with participants of the annual Fortune Most Powerful Women Summit - among them Ursula Burns of Xerox, Laura Lang of Time Inc., Marissa Mayer of Yahoo, and Tory Burch.

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