Ms. Lagarde, appointed the IMF managing director in June, is the first woman to hold the position, typically held by a European male. She’ll be presiding over the IMF at a challenging time – the organization has had to bail out numerous countries in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis and may have to do so again. Lagarde also will have to figure out how to strike a balance between the Western European countries accustomed to dominating the IMF and the rising economies of South America and Asia.
Lagarde’s position on the Forbes list has skyrocketed with her appointment to IMF head – in 2010, she was No. 43.