Val Gooding, chief executive of health insurer BUPA, is one of the most powerful women in Britain, finds a survey by Management Today magazine.

Gooding was listed number 36 in the top 50 list.

She has been chief executive of BUPA, the UK's biggest health insurer, since August 1998. But she can list several strings to her bow. Gooding is currently a board member of the Association of British Insurers and is a non-executive director of Cable & Wireless Communications, BAA and Compass Group.

She also sits on the advisory board of the Warwick Business School.

BUPA has a customer base of 3 million people and holds a 40% share of the private medical insurance market.

The survey, conducted annually by Management Today, was compiled from nominations made by head hunters, industry and City moguls.