100 years of power

From Mary Pickford to Carly Fiorina, the most powerful businesswomen by decade.

Olive Ann Beech (1903-1993)
1940-1950: Honorable Mention
Olive Ann Beech (1903-1993)
Co-founder, Beech Aircraft

Beech became a major producer during World War II, turning out more than 7,000 aircraft. When her husband Walter became seriously ill in 1940, Olive Ann took over operations, arranging $83 million in loans to finance expansion. Walter died in 1950; Olive was named president and chairman. Beech did well, extending its operations into space and creating profitable corporate aircraft. She retired as president in 1968, but the First Lady of Aviation, as Beech was widely known, stayed on as chairman until 1982, two years after Raytheon bought the company.

Mary Pickford

C.J. Walker

Elizabeth Arden

Lila Acheson Wallace

Mary Gindhart Roebling

Olive Ann Beech

Margaret Rudkin

Ida Rosenthal

Ruth Handler

Estée Lauder

Katharine Graham

Catherine Cleary

Linda Wachner

Carly Fiorina
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