KU grads among Forbes’ elite

Executives make list of world's 100 most powerful women

Linda Zarda Cook, an executive director of Royal Dutch Shell, visits with Kansas University Chancellor Robert Hemenway during the KU School of Engineering Distinguished Engineering Service Award banquet in May. Cook, a 1980 petroleum engineering alumna who appears on Forbes' 100 most powerful women list, received the school's award for 2007.

Two graduates of Kansas University are among the world’s 100 most powerful women, according to Forbes magazine.

Cynthia Carroll, chief executive officer of Anglo American PLC, and Linda Zarda Cook, executive director for gas and power at Royal Dutch Shell, made the list in the magazine’s most recent issue.

Topping the rankings for the second year in a row: Angela Merkel, chancellor of Germany.

Carroll, who in 1982 received a master’s degree in geology at KU, is ranked No. 7, topping notables including No. 20 Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, of the U.S. Supreme Court; No. 21 Oprah Winfrey, chairman of Harpo (and, well, just being Oprah); and No. 25 U.S. Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton, D-N.Y. and Democratic candidate for president.

The company Carroll heads is among the world’s largest mining conglomerates, with interests in platinum, coal, gold, industrial minerals and diamonds. Anglo American owns a 45 percent stake in diamond company DeBeers; a 49 percent stake in MMX Minas-Rio, a Brazilian iron ore concern; and a 42 percent interest in AngloGold Ashanti, a gold concern.

“Though Carroll is little known on the world stage, she is a powerhouse in the world of commodities, a sector crucial to the world’s economy,” Forbes said. “And within the corridors of world governments, she is a force to be reckoned with.”

Carroll is the first woman and first non-South African to lead Anglo American. She previously spent 18 years at aluminum company Alcan, including the last five as the company’s Primary Metal Group CEO.

Coming in at No. 44 is Linda Zarda Cook, a Shawnee native who earned her bachelor’s degree in petroleum engineering from KU in 1980. Among others ranking lower on the list: No. 47 Drew Gilpin Faust, president of Harvard University; No. 64 Sharon Allen, chairman of Deloitte & Touche; and No. 73 Colleen Barrett, president of Southwest Airlines.

Forbes reports that Cook oversees liquefaction and transportation of natural gas, plus development of new natural gas markets – such as in Qatar, where she signed a major deal in June. Cook added wind and solar energy to her responsibilities earlier this year.

“Watch for her to rise even further,” Forbes said. “She’s in the running to succeed chief executive Jeroen van der Veer when he retires in 2009, which would make Cook the first woman to lead an international oil company.”

Cook, who also serves on the board of directors for Boeing Co., received the KU School of Engineering’s 2007 Distinguished Engineering Service Award.

To see Forbes’ complete list, visit www.forbes.com.