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Jennie Chua

President & CEO, Raffles Holdings, Singapore

When Jennie Chua was promoted on Apr. 2 to president and chief executive of Raffles Holdings Ltd. and officially became the steward of one of Asia's premier luxury-hotel brands, it came as no surprise to the hospitality industry. In her previous job as CEO of Raffles International Ltd., the group's management arm, she ushered in a strategy shift that pulled Raffles out of a decade-long holding pattern. In April, 2001, she engineered the $250 million acquisition of Swissôtel, an operator of 26 deluxe business hotels. That transformed Raffles overnight from an Asia-centric operation to one with truly global reach, from The Watergate, in Washington, to The Bosphorus in Istanbul.

The Raffles brand has been the Asian hospitality industry's Rolls-Royce ever since the company renovated the 19th-century British-colonial Raffles Hotel in 1991. That inn's illustrious guest list has included Hollywood legend Charlie Chaplin and novelists Somerset Maugham and Joseph Conrad -- whose fabled drinking corner, the Writers' Bar, is a lazy sprawl of armchairs tucked behind a wrought-iron gate in the lobby.