2. Christine Lagarde
Christine Lagarde
Managing Director, International Monetary Fund
Last year's rank: New

The first woman to lead the IMF in its 60-year history, Lagarde assumed control at a perilous moment -- and we're not just talking about the ouster of predecessor Dominique Strauss-Kahn. The former French finance minister was thrust into negotiations over how to reverse the deepening European debt crisis, which she's tackling by calling on central bankers to launch a bold, coordinated push to juice short-term job creation and tackle long-term budget deficits.

Last updated September 29 2011: 3:11 PM ET