Deirdre Connelly, president of North American Pharmaceuticals for GlaxoSmithKline (NYSE: GSK) is moving higher on the list of Fortune magazine’s “50 Most Powerful Women.”

Connelly, 50, is No. 27 this year. She was 37th a year ago.

Connelly leads GSK’s operations in North America, which is based in RTP.

Also moving up on the list is IBM’s Ginni Rometty, who rose to 8th from 11th a year ago.

IBM (NYSE: IBM) employs some 10,000 people in the Triangle area, and Rometty is often discussed as a possible successor to IBM Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Sam Palmisano.

Rometty is senior vice president and group executive for sales, marketing and strategy.

“Big Blue’s stock is up-it is outperforming the S&P this year-and so is Rometty’s,” Fortune notes. “She added marketing and strategy oversight to her role in July, prompting speculation that she’s the lead candidate to succeed CEO Sam Palmisano.”

However, Palmisano said earlier this month that he no plans to retire.

Two Bank of America (NYSE: BAC) executives also cracked the top 50.

Barbara Desoer rose to 19th from 25th. She is president of home loans.

“Her division lost money for the second year in a row, but insiders say Desoer has the hardest job at the company,” Fortune noted. “She was tapped to run the messy mortgage business as it bought Countrywide, a deal that put her in charge of one in five U.S. mortgages.”

Sallie Krawcheck, meanwhile, moved up to 24th from 30th. She is president of global wealth and investment management.

For the full Fortune list,

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