Fortescue Metals CEO Elizabeth Gaines has come in second on Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year list, for her work leading massive revenue and profits at the Perth-based iron ore miner that has a 50 per cent female board.
Fortune notes Gaines’ achiements since she took over the top job in February 2018, including that she’s delivered a 45 per cent increase in revenues during her first year in charge, along with a 263 per cent profit increase (up to a record US $3.2 billion).
While Fortune notes that part of Gaines’ achievement has been spurred by market forces, it also mentions the “stretch targets” that she’s prescided over.
“Women are key to helping us reach our stretch targets,” Gaines told Fortune, with her deputy CEO being female, along with 26 per cent of the company’s executives and half of its board.
Gaines also lists a number of other factors that have been key to Fortescue’s success, including doubling the number of products it offers in 2019, greater efficiences and a fast-growing autonomous fleet of trucks that haul ore.
Gaines was the CEO of travel company Helloworld before she took on a board leadership role with Fortescue in 2013. She was later appointed CFO, the deputy CEO and finally CEO.
The only Australia on Fortune’s list of twenty, Gaines follows Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella, who picked up the top spot, following a massive turnaround for the company that he led this year.
Fortune says the list is far from a “popularity contest” but is developed by analysing data across all public companies to consider who the top contenders are, with editors then having their say on “business impact”.