2 MN Execs. Among “50 Most Powerful Women”

Fortune magazine named Gail Boudreaux of UnitedHealth Group and Shari Ballard of Best Buy to its list of America's leading businesswomen.

Two Minnesota executives have been named to Fortune magazine's 2011 “50 Most Powerful Women in Business” list.

Gail Boudreaux of Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group was ranked 30th while Shari Ballard of Richfield-based Best Buy Company was ranked 46th.

The annual list includes women working in many different industries from across the United States. Boudreaux-who has been on the list every year since 2008-moved up four spots from her 2010 ranking. Ballard-who has made the list for two consecutive years-ranked 48th last year.

Here's a look at the two Minnesota women who made the list, their rankings, and why they're significant:

30. Gail Boudreaux-CEO of UnitedHealthcare; executive vice president of UnitedHealth Group: Recently promoted to run the company's entire health benefits division, Boudreaux, 51, now manages businesses that represent 93 percent of the company's sales.

46. Shari Ballard-president of the Americas division, Best Buy Company: She began her career at Best Buy as an assistant store manager in Flint, Michigan. Since then, she's worked her way up the ranks and now oversees Best Buy's Americas division-which generated 74 percent of Best Buy's $50 billion in revenue in its last fiscal year. Ballard, 45, is the seventh-youngest woman on the 2011 list.

Irene Roseneld, chairwoman and CEO of Kraft Foods, took the top spot this year, while PepsiCo CEO Indra Nooyi-who topped the list for the past several years-came in second. They were followed by Patricia Woertz, chairwoman, president, and CEO of Archer Daniels Midland; Ellen Kullman, chairwoman and CEO of DuPont; and Angela Braly, chairwoman, president, and CEO of WellPoint.

Both UnitedHealth Group and Best Buy are among Minnesota's three largest public companies based on revenue. UnitedHealth Group's revenue totaled 94.2 billion in 2010 and Best Buy's revenue for the fiscal year ending in January totaled $50.3 billion.