Merkel comes out top in rundown of world's elite ladies

GERMAN chancellor Angela Merkel has been crowned as the most powerful woman in the world for the fourth consecutive year, beating Anglo American boss Cynthia Carroll and AIG&rsquo;s chief restructuring officer Paula Reynolds to the coveted title.<br /><br />The annual list of the 100 most powerful women, compiled by Forbes magazine, rated US Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation chairman Sheila Bair and Pepsi chief executive Indra Nooyi as the second and third most influential women respectively.<br /><br />US-born Cynthia Carroll, the chief of the world&rsquo;s third biggest miner Anglo American, was the highest ranked woman based in Britain, in fourth place. Her achievement comes after Anglo&rsquo;s former deputy chairman Graham Boustred recently sparked outrage by suggesting female chief executives were less capable than men &ldquo;because most women are sexually frustrated&rdquo;.<br /><br />The other three UK-based women to make the list were Pearson boss Dame Marjorie Scardino in 19th place, Burberry chief executive Angela Ahrendts in 70th place, and the Queen, who ranks 42nd.<br /><br />Other powerful businesswomen on the list, of which most came from the US, were Yahoo chief executive Carol Bartz in 12th place and Paula Reynolds, the woman tasked with turning around the fortunes of insurance giant AIG, who is ranked 23rd.<br /><br />US secretary of state Hillary Clinton is the 36th most influential woman in the world, according to Forbes, while First Lady Michelle Obama is in 40th position.