- Rome, August 31 - Marina Berlusconi, the eldest daughter of former premier
Silvio Berlusconi, is the most powerful woman in Italy, according to Forbes'
annual rankings of women with clout.
Marina Berlusconi, who is chairman of the Berlusconi
family's Fininvest empire and head of Italy's largest publishing group
Mondadori, claimed 33rd place in the US business magazine's list of the 100 most
powerful women in the world.
The number one spot went to German Chancellor Angela
Merkel for the second year in a row.
Another politician, Chinese Vice Premier Wu Yi,
followed Merkel while US Secretary of State Condeleezza Rice weighed in in
The only other Italian to make the top 100 list was
Giuliana Benetton, who set up the Benetton Group with her three brothers in
1965. She was ranked 91st.
Marina Berlusconi, 40, became the chairman of
Fininvest in October 2005.
Fininvest is an unlisted group worth an estimated 12
billion dollars, employing 20,000 people and entirely owned by Berlusconi and
Commercial TV network Mediaset is the jewel in the
Fininvest crown but other prized assets include Mondadori, the financial
services group Mediolanum, the AC Milan Serie A soccer club, the Medusa film
production company, the Spanish TV group Telecinco and a key share of the
Blockbuster Italia video chain.
Marina Berlusconi keeps a low profile in Italy,
rarely giving interviews and almost never talking about her 70-year-old father,
Italy's richest man, who is currently centre-right opposition chief.
Forbes said the mother of two was someone who "enjoys
sports, reading and dogs".
The magazine's profile of Giuliana Benetton stressed
that the 70-year-old businesswoman was the person who actually started the
family's fashion business, knitting sweaters that her brother Luciano would go
around selling on his bicycle.
The Benetton Group is worth $2.5 billion and has
5,000 outlets in 120 countries.