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2012 Businessperson of the Year

Nov 16, 2012
<h1>The list</h1>
It was a year of comebacks and cool performances for the executives on <em>Fortune's</em> annual Businessperson of the Year
ranking. Retail CEOs Frank Blake of Home Depot and Glenn Murphy of Gap delivered on turnaround promises. The duo of Brian Roberts and Steve Burke showed their strategic smarts by making the Comcast-NBCUniversal merger work. And Apple's Tim Cook and TJX Cos.' Carol Meyrowitz kept their companies' hot streaks going. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, too, had another stellar year, with revenue up 31% in the past year. But it's his penchant for taking risks and disrupting industries that earned him the top spot on our list.

The list

It was a year of comebacks and cool performances for the executives on Fortune's annual Businessperson of the Year ranking. Retail CEOs Frank Blake of Home Depot and Glenn Murphy of Gap delivered on turnaround promises. The duo of Brian Roberts and Steve Burke showed their strategic smarts by making the Comcast-NBCUniversal merger work. And Apple's Tim Cook and TJX Cos.' Carol Meyrowitz kept their companies' hot streaks going. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, too, had another stellar year, with revenue up 31% in the past year. But it's his penchant for taking risks and disrupting industries that earned him the top spot on our list.
Illustration: Images.com/Corbis

The list

It was a year of comebacks and cool performances for the executives on Fortune's annual Businessperson of the Year
ranking. Retail CEOs Frank Blake of Home Depot and Glenn Murphy of Gap delivered on turnaround promises. The duo of Brian Roberts and Steve Burke showed their strategic smarts by making the Comcast-NBCUniversal merger work. And Apple's Tim Cook and TJX Cos.' Carol Meyrowitz kept their companies' hot streaks going. Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos, too, had another stellar year, with revenue up 31% in the past year. But it's his penchant for taking risks and disrupting industries that earned him the top spot on our list.

 Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon.
Jeff Bezos, Founder and CEO, Amazon. Photo: Patrick Fallon/Bloomberg/Getty

1. Jeff Bezos

Founder and CEO, Amazon

When it comes to the tech giant he built from scratch, Bezos has always prioritized long-term gains over short-term profitability, a philosophy that's yielding palpable results. Analysts estimate Amazon Web Services, a cloud-based computing platform used by hundreds of thousands of businesses around the world, could generate as much as $1.5 billion. And the company's Amazon's (amzn) Kindle Fire line helped popularize the 7-inch tablet form such that Apple finally released a version of its own. --JP Mangalindan

<h1>2. Tim Cook</h1>
<strong>CEO, Apple</strong>

Despite a shuffling of executive management, Tim Cook's first full-year as CEO was chock-full of milestones: <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=AAPL&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Apple's</a> stock soared to an all-time high of $705.07 per share, and its latest iPhone sold more than 5 million units during its first weekend on sale -- a company record. <em>--JM</em>

2. Tim Cook

CEO, Apple Despite a shuffling of executive management, Tim Cook's first full-year as CEO was chock-full of milestones: Apple's stock soared to an all-time high of $705.07 per share, and its latest iPhone sold more than 5 million units during its first weekend on sale -- a company record. --JM
Photo: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images

2. Tim Cook

CEO, Apple

Despite a shuffling of executive management, Tim Cook's first full-year as CEO was chock-full of milestones: Apple's (aapl) stock soared to an all-time high of $705.07 per share, and its latest iPhone sold more than 5 million units during its first weekend on sale -- a company record. --JM

<h1>3. Brian Roberts and Steve Burke</h1>
<strong>CEOs, Comcast (Roberts) and NBCUniversal (Burke)</strong>

Comcast's ownership of NBCUniversal may have been endlessly parodied on the TV show 30 Rock, but CEO Brian Roberts' $13.8 billion gamble on the television network is finally paying off, thanks to a resurgent entertainment division at NBC. Steve Burke presided over a stellar year for the network, boosted by its high ratings and ad revenue during the Olympics, as well as successful television shows like The Voice and Revolution. NBC's movie studio division also produced hits like Ted, The Lorax and The Bourne Legacy. Those wins, coupled with strong performance by its core cable business pushed Comcast's shares up by more than 58% this year. <em>--Omar Akhtar</em>

3. Brian Roberts and Steve Burke

CEOs, Comcast (Roberts) and NBCUniversal (Burke) Comcast's ownership of NBCUniversal may have been endlessly parodied on the TV show 30 Rock, but CEO Brian Roberts' $13.8 billion gamble on the television network is finally paying off, thanks to a resurgent entertainment division at NBC. Steve Burke presided over a stellar year for the network, boosted by its high ratings and ad revenue during the Olympics, as well as successful television shows like The Voice and Revolution. NBC's movie studio division also produced hits like Ted, The Lorax and The Bourne Legacy. Those wins, coupled with strong performance by its core cable business pushed Comcast's shares up by more than 58% this year. --Omar Akhtar
Photos: Getty Images

3. Brian Roberts and Steve Burke

CEOs, Comcast (Roberts) and NBCUniversal (Burke)

Comcast's ownership of NBCUniversal may have been endlessly parodied on the TV show 30 Rock, but CEO Brian Roberts' $13.8 billion gamble on the television network is finally paying off, thanks to a resurgent entertainment division at NBC. Steve Burke presided over a stellar year for the network, boosted by its high ratings and ad revenue during the Olympics, as well as successful television shows like The Voice and Revolution. NBC's movie studio division also produced hits like Ted, The Lorax and The Bourne Legacy. Those wins, coupled with strong performance by its core cable business pushed Comcast's shares up by more than 58% this year. --Omar Akhtar

<h1>4. John Donahoe</h1>
<strong>CEO, eBay</strong>

In the four years since he replaced Meg Whitman as CEO, <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=EBAY&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">eBay</a> has resurged in a way few other Web 1.0 properties can claim. Its core Marketplaces business raked in $1.8 billion in revenue last quarter, its best performance in years. Meanwhile, its PayPal payments platform is growing so fast that Donahoe expects it to surpass Marketplaces in revenue within the next three to five years. <em>--JM</em>

4. John Donahoe

CEO, eBay In the four years since he replaced Meg Whitman as CEO, eBay has resurged in a way few other Web 1.0 properties can claim. Its core Marketplaces business raked in $1.8 billion in revenue last quarter, its best performance in years. Meanwhile, its PayPal payments platform is growing so fast that Donahoe expects it to surpass Marketplaces in revenue within the next three to five years. --JM
Photo: Scott Eells/Bloomberg/Getty

4. John Donahoe

CEO, eBay

In the four years since he replaced Meg Whitman as CEO, eBay has resurged in a way few other Web 1.0 properties can claim. Its core Marketplaces business raked in $1.8 billion in revenue last quarter, its best performance in years. Meanwhile, its PayPal payments platform is growing so fast that Donahoe expects it to surpass Marketplaces in revenue within the next three to five years. --JM

<h1>5. Oh-Hyun Kwon</h1>
<strong>CEO, Samsung</strong>

In June, Samsung tapped Kwon, head of the company's components business, to run its $149 billion electronics empire. Under Kwon, the Korean company became the second-largest chipmaker in the world (Intel is No. 1). Now the new CEO has to contend with its top customer and competitor -- Apple.  <em>--Michal Lev-Ram </em>

5. Oh-Hyun Kwon

CEO, Samsung In June, Samsung tapped Kwon, head of the company's components business, to run its $149 billion electronics empire. Under Kwon, the Korean company became the second-largest chipmaker in the world (Intel is No. 1). Now the new CEO has to contend with its top customer and competitor -- Apple. --Michal Lev-Ram
Photo: Maurice Tsai/Bloomberg/Getty

5. Oh-Hyun Kwon

CEO, Samsung

In June, Samsung tapped Kwon, head of the company's components business, to run its $149 billion electronics empire. Under Kwon, the Korean company became the second-largest chipmaker in the world (Intel is No. 1). Now the new CEO has to contend with its top customer and competitor -- Apple. --Michal Lev-Ram

<h1>6. Larry Page</h1>
<strong>Co-founder and CEO, Google</strong>

Since taking over as CEO of <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=GOOG&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Google</a> in April 2011, Page has energized the company's rank and file, restructured management to give top lieutenants more responsibility and accountability, and shed dozens of non-essential products. Search and ads remain Google's bread and butter, but Page is also investing heavily in Android, Chrome, YouTube, and Google+.  After rising to an all-time high in October, Google shares slid more than 10%. It's not hard to see why investors are somewhat skittish. Google's biggest rivals, Amazon and Apple, appear to be as strong as ever, and no one is yet counting out the challenge that Google could face from a down-but-not-out Facebook.  <em>--Miguel Helft</em>

6. Larry Page

Co-founder and CEO, Google Since taking over as CEO of Google in April 2011, Page has energized the company's rank and file, restructured management to give top lieutenants more responsibility and accountability, and shed dozens of non-essential products. Search and ads remain Google's bread and butter, but Page is also investing heavily in Android, Chrome, YouTube, and Google+. After rising to an all-time high in October, Google shares slid more than 10%. It's not hard to see why investors are somewhat skittish. Google's biggest rivals, Amazon and Apple, appear to be as strong as ever, and no one is yet counting out the challenge that Google could face from a down-but-not-out Facebook. --Miguel Helft
Photo: EMMANUEL DUNAND/AFP/Getty Images

6. Larry Page

Co-founder and CEO, Google

Since taking over as CEO of Google (goog) in April 2011, Page has energized the company's rank and file, restructured management to give top lieutenants more responsibility and accountability, and shed dozens of non-essential products. Search and ads remain Google's bread and butter, but Page is also investing heavily in Android, Chrome, YouTube, and Google+. After rising to an all-time high in October, Google shares slid more than 10%. It's not hard to see why investors are somewhat skittish. Google's biggest rivals, Amazon and Apple, appear to be as strong as ever, and no one is yet counting out the challenge that Google could face from a down-but-not-out Facebook. --Miguel Helft

<h1>7. Carlos Brito</h1>
<strong>CEO, Anheuser-Busch Inbev</strong>

Brito's beer empire is poised to grow: This year he said he would acquire Grupo Modelo, Mexico's biggest brewer, pending a Justice Department review of the $20 billion deal. (Modelo CEO Carlos Fernandez is No. 40 on this list.) The Brazil-born CEO eschews the old-school corner office,and suits too; instead, at his Manhattan office, which boasts an open layout, Brito dons jeans and a button-down shirt. He has some work to do: Budweiser sales last year fell to No. 3, behind Bud Light and new No. 2 Coors Light. Analysts predict Brito has his eyes on an acquisition of a more carbonated variety: PepsiCo. <em>--Daniel Roberts</em>

7. Carlos Brito

CEO, Anheuser-Busch Inbev Brito's beer empire is poised to grow: This year he said he would acquire Grupo Modelo, Mexico's biggest brewer, pending a Justice Department review of the $20 billion deal. (Modelo CEO Carlos Fernandez is No. 40 on this list.) The Brazil-born CEO eschews the old-school corner office,and suits too; instead, at his Manhattan office, which boasts an open layout, Brito dons jeans and a button-down shirt. He has some work to do: Budweiser sales last year fell to No. 3, behind Bud Light and new No. 2 Coors Light. Analysts predict Brito has his eyes on an acquisition of a more carbonated variety: PepsiCo. --Daniel Roberts
Photo: BRUNO FAHY/AFP/Getty Images

7. Carlos Brito

CEO, Anheuser-Busch Inbev

Brito's beer empire is poised to grow: This year he said he would acquire Grupo Modelo, Mexico's biggest brewer, pending a Justice Department review of the $20 billion deal. (Modelo CEO Carlos Fernandez is No. 40 on this list.) The Brazil-born CEO eschews the old-school corner office,and suits too; instead, at his Manhattan office, which boasts an open layout, Brito dons jeans and a button-down shirt. He has some work to do: Budweiser sales last year fell to No. 3, behind Bud Light and new No. 2 Coors Light. Analysts predict Brito has his eyes on an acquisition of a more carbonated variety: PepsiCo. --Daniel Roberts

<h1>8. Ajay Banga</h1>
<strong>CEO, MasterCard</strong>

The India-born former <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=C&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Citigroup</a> executive wants MasterCard to be a leader in the mobile payments revolution. Earlier this year MasterCard unveiled PayPass Wallet Services, a system that lets customers make payments on their phones and online without entering their card information. Banga's other big bet: prepaid cards in emerging markets such as Mexico, South Africa, and Brazil. All told, it's no surprise that <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=MA&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">MasterCard</a> now generates 60% of its revenues outside the U.S. Investors are impressed: Since Banga took the helm two years ago, MasterCard's stock has more than doubled, outperforming archrival <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=V&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Visa</a>. <em>--Mina Kimes</em>

8. Ajay Banga

CEO, MasterCard The India-born former Citigroup executive wants MasterCard to be a leader in the mobile payments revolution. Earlier this year MasterCard unveiled PayPass Wallet Services, a system that lets customers make payments on their phones and online without entering their card information. Banga's other big bet: prepaid cards in emerging markets such as Mexico, South Africa, and Brazil. All told, it's no surprise that MasterCard now generates 60% of its revenues outside the U.S. Investors are impressed: Since Banga took the helm two years ago, MasterCard's stock has more than doubled, outperforming archrival Visa. --Mina Kimes
Photo: Keith Bedford/Reuters/Corbis

8. Ajay Banga

CEO, MasterCard

The India-born former Citigroup (c) executive wants MasterCard to be a leader in the mobile payments revolution. Earlier this year MasterCard unveiled PayPass Wallet Services, a system that lets customers make payments on their phones and online without entering their card information. Banga's other big bet: prepaid cards in emerging markets such as Mexico, South Africa, and Brazil. All told, it's no surprise that MasterCard (ma) now generates 60% of its revenues outside the U.S. Investors are impressed: Since Banga took the helm two years ago, MasterCard's stock has more than doubled, outperforming archrival Visa (v). --Mina Kimes

<h1>9. Rex Tillerson</h1>
<strong>Chairman and CEO, Exxon Mobil</strong>

Tillerson claimed earlier this year that natural gas producers -- <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=XOM&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Exxon</a> is the U.S.'s largest -- were "losing our shirts" due to the commodity's depressed prices. But Exxon, No. 1 on the <a href="http://money.cnn.com/magazines/fortune/fortune500/" title="">Fortune 500</a>, has alternatives: the company has been shifting rigs to oil fields and bolstering its financial performance (and outlook) with key acquisitions and divestitures. It doubled its stake in North Dakota's booming Bakken shale, invested in methane gas production in Australia, and formalized a partnership with Russian oil giant OAO Rosneft that will grant the company access to the untapped Russian Arctic. <em>--Erika Fry </em>

9. Rex Tillerson

Chairman and CEO, Exxon Mobil Tillerson claimed earlier this year that natural gas producers -- Exxon is the U.S.'s largest -- were "losing our shirts" due to the commodity's depressed prices. But Exxon, No. 1 on the Fortune 500, has alternatives: the company has been shifting rigs to oil fields and bolstering its financial performance (and outlook) with key acquisitions and divestitures. It doubled its stake in North Dakota's booming Bakken shale, invested in methane gas production in Australia, and formalized a partnership with Russian oil giant OAO Rosneft that will grant the company access to the untapped Russian Arctic. --Erika Fry
Photo: Aaron M. Sprecher/Bloomberg/Getty

9. Rex Tillerson

Chairman and CEO, Exxon Mobil

Tillerson claimed earlier this year that natural gas producers -- Exxon (xom) is the U.S.'s largest -- were "losing our shirts" due to the commodity's depressed prices. But Exxon, No. 1 on the Fortune 500, has alternatives: the company has been shifting rigs to oil fields and bolstering its financial performance (and outlook) with key acquisitions and divestitures. It doubled its stake in North Dakota's booming Bakken shale, invested in methane gas production in Australia, and formalized a partnership with Russian oil giant OAO Rosneft that will grant the company access to the untapped Russian Arctic. --Erika Fry

Bill McNabb, Chairman and CEO of Vanguard.
Bill McNabb, Chairman and CEO of Vanguard. Courtesy of Vanguard

10. Bill McNabb

Chairman and CEO, Vanguard

McNabb's numbers speak for themselves. Since he took the helm in 2008 -- just weeks before Lehman Brothers collapsed -- Vanguard has quietly become the nation's largest mutual fund company, with $2.2 trillion in global assets under management, winning investors with rock-bottom rates at a time of low returns. This year, Vanguard raked in more cash through September -- $113 billion -- than it has in any other yearlong period in its 37-year history. Its target-date funds are a hit, and its exchange traded-fund business surged this year, igniting an ETF price war among Vanguard, industry leader BlackRock, and others. --EF

Photo: Melissa Golden

11. Frank Blake

CEO, Home Depot

Even before Hurricane Sandy wreaked havoc across the northeastern U.S., sending millions scurrying to their local Home Depots for flashlights and generators, the big-box company was back in a big way.

Under the leadership of CEO Blake, the stock is at a 12-year high, up 46% for the year. A rebound in homebuilding has helped, but real credit goes to Blake for putting the brakes on growth. He abandoned China this year after he realized how hard it would be to crack the local distribution market, and instead of opening new U.S. stores, he is focused on improving Home Depot's (hd) online arm, which topped $1 billion in sales this year. --Jennifer Reingold

<h1>12. Glenn Murphy</h1>
<strong>CEO, Gap</strong>

After years in the wilderness, the <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=GPS&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Gap</a> is suddenly relevant again, thanks in no small part to a series of smart moves by CEO Glenn Murphy. Murphy brought in fresh faces on the marketing and design teams and ended Gap's excessive discounting. With a new marketing approach that emphasized the quality of the product rather than accessibility, plus a collection of fresh new designs, 2012 has finally seen Gap's long awaited turnaround: The stock is up more than 90% thus far this year. <em>--OA</em>

12. Glenn Murphy

CEO, Gap After years in the wilderness, the Gap is suddenly relevant again, thanks in no small part to a series of smart moves by CEO Glenn Murphy. Murphy brought in fresh faces on the marketing and design teams and ended Gap's excessive discounting. With a new marketing approach that emphasized the quality of the product rather than accessibility, plus a collection of fresh new designs, 2012 has finally seen Gap's long awaited turnaround: The stock is up more than 90% thus far this year. --OA
Photograph by Jim Watson — AFP/Getty Images

12. Glenn Murphy

CEO, Gap

After years in the wilderness, the Gap [fortune-stock symbol="GPS" is suddenly relevant again, thanks in no small part to a series of smart moves by CEO Glenn Murphy. Murphy brought in fresh faces on the marketing and design teams and ended Gap's excessive discounting. With a new marketing approach that emphasized the quality of the product rather than accessibility, plus a collection of fresh new designs, 2012 has finally seen Gap's long awaited turnaround: The stock is up more than 90% thus far this year. --OA

<h1>13. Gail Kelly</h1>
<strong>CEO, Westpac Group</strong>

Westpac has not only weathered the global banking crisis under Kelly but has also grown into one of the 20 largest banks in the world by market capitalization. In 2008 she led <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=WBK&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Westpac's</a> acquisition of rival bank St. George, the largest merger in Australian financial services history. Her focus for the bank: getting the retail and business operations to push customer deposits, which grew 12% this year, to roughly $321 billion in U.S. dollars. She also set goals for increasing the number of women in management at the bank. Today Westpac boasts a C-suite that is 40% female -- two years ahead of Kelly's plan. <em>--Rupali Arora</em>

13. Gail Kelly

CEO, Westpac Group Westpac has not only weathered the global banking crisis under Kelly but has also grown into one of the 20 largest banks in the world by market capitalization. In 2008 she led Westpac's acquisition of rival bank St. George, the largest merger in Australian financial services history. Her focus for the bank: getting the retail and business operations to push customer deposits, which grew 12% this year, to roughly $321 billion in U.S. dollars. She also set goals for increasing the number of women in management at the bank. Today Westpac boasts a C-suite that is 40% female -- two years ahead of Kelly's plan. --Rupali Arora
Photo: Brendon Thorne/Getty Images

13. Gail Kelly

CEO, Westpac Group

Westpac has not only weathered the global banking crisis under Kelly but has also grown into one of the 20 largest banks in the world by market capitalization. In 2008 she led Westpac's (wbk) acquisition of rival bank St. George, the largest merger in Australian financial services history. Her focus for the bank: getting the retail and business operations to push customer deposits, which grew 12% this year, to roughly $321 billion in U.S. dollars. She also set goals for increasing the number of women in management at the bank. Today Westpac boasts a C-suite that is 40% female -- two years ahead of Kelly's plan. --Rupali Arora

Photo: Rocky Widner/NBAE/Getty Images

14. Larry Ellison

Co-founder and CEO, Oracle

There's nothing understated about Larry Ellison, Oracle's (orcl) founder and longtime CEO. He was slow to embrace cloud computing, but now he's all in, rewriting nearly all of his company's products to run over the web. And where he's not building, he's buying: This past year alone, enterprise-tech giant Oracle spent more than $3.4 billion snapping up cloud-based software makers like Taleo and RightNow Technologies. (He's also an investor in Salesforce.com and NetSuite, two cloud companies whose CEOs are on this list.) Oh, and Ellison this year also purchased a 98% stake in the Hawaiian island of Lanai. --MLR

Photo: Boston Globe/Getty Images

15. Carol Meyrowitz

CEO, TJX Cos.

Her vision to nearly double TJX Cos.' (tjx)revenue ($23 billion in fiscal 2012) might seem outlandish -- if Meyrowitz didn't have the track record to back it up. Since she became CEO in 2007, the global off-price retailer (brands include T.J. Maxx, Marshalls, and HomeGoods) has thrived, regardless of the economic environment. For the last several years, TJX gained share, increased sales, and upped store traffic, including younger consumers. Meyrowitz has assembled a top-notch buying team that can get products into stores in mere weeks; now she's investing in fine-tuning TJX's supply chain. --Beth Kowitt

Photo: John McConnico/Bloomberg/Getty

16. Lars SØrensen

CEO, Novo Nordisk

Sørensen isn't afraid to take calculated risks: Five years ago he jettisoned the drug maker's diabetes-pill research (while others were pouring money into it), betting instead that injected insulin would continue to be the most effective diabetes treatment. The bet paid off. The pill market shrank because of safety worries and patent expirations, and today Novo Nordisk is the world's biggest insulin producer. Sørensen has positioned the Danish company to keep profiting from the global epidemic: degludec, a new diabetes drug, is close to winning approvals. --OA

<h1>17. Michael Duke</h1>
<strong>CEO, Wal-Mart Stores</strong>

Wal-Mart's financial performance is often a barometer for consumer confidence in the country. By that standard, consumers must be feeling pretty good: In October, shares of the world's largest retailer rose to their highest ever price since the company went public in 1970. The retailer also pledged to focus more on e-commerce and in expanding small store formats to target new customers. To further boost sales, CEO Michael Duke has been cutting prices and has moved back the lucrative Black Friday sales to start at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. He's also raised membership prices for Sam's Club, the company's chain of warehouse clubs. <em>--OA</em>

17. Michael Duke

CEO, Wal-Mart Stores Wal-Mart's financial performance is often a barometer for consumer confidence in the country. By that standard, consumers must be feeling pretty good: In October, shares of the world's largest retailer rose to their highest ever price since the company went public in 1970. The retailer also pledged to focus more on e-commerce and in expanding small store formats to target new customers. To further boost sales, CEO Michael Duke has been cutting prices and has moved back the lucrative Black Friday sales to start at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. He's also raised membership prices for Sam's Club, the company's chain of warehouse clubs. --OA
Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty

17. Michael Duke

CEO, Wal-Mart Stores

Wal-Mart's financial performance is often a barometer for consumer confidence in the country. By that standard, consumers must be feeling pretty good: In October, shares of the world's largest retailer rose to their highest ever price since the company went public in 1970. The retailer also pledged to focus more on e-commerce and in expanding small store formats to target new customers. To further boost sales, CEO Michael Duke has been cutting prices and has moved back the lucrative Black Friday sales to start at 8 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. He's also raised membership prices for Sam's Club, the company's chain of warehouse clubs. --OA

<h1>18. Chanda Kochhar</h1>
<strong>CEO, ICICI Bank </strong>

A bullish outlook through the recession helped Kochhar direct India 's second largest bank -- with assets of $93 billion -- to a standout performance. Net profits are up 26% this year, making it the most profitable private sector bank in the country. Next up for the <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=IBN&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">ICICI</a> lifer: More global clients. <em>--RA</em>

18. Chanda Kochhar

CEO, ICICI Bank A bullish outlook through the recession helped Kochhar direct India 's second largest bank -- with assets of $93 billion -- to a standout performance. Net profits are up 26% this year, making it the most profitable private sector bank in the country. Next up for the ICICI lifer: More global clients. --RA
Photo: Graham Crouch/Bloomberg/Getty

18. Chanda Kochhar

CEO, ICICI Bank

A bullish outlook through the recession helped Kochhar direct India 's second largest bank -- with assets of $93 billion -- to a standout performance. Net profits are up 26% this year, making it the most profitable private sector bank in the country. Next up for the ICICI (ibn) lifer: More global clients. --RA

<h1>19. Warren Buffett</h1>
<strong>Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway</strong>

Barely slowed by radiation treatments for stage 1 prostate cancer, Buffett has been on the hunt for big takeover candidates this year -- he's amassed a near record amount of cash, $47.8 billion -- but has so far held himself to small acquisitions including party favor company Oriental Trading and a newspaper in Waco, Texas. Buffett's complaint that his assistant pays a higher tax rate than he does became fodder earlier this year for President Obama's "Buffett Rule" -- and the topic of tax rates for the wealthy will surely continue to be a subject of intense debate. As evidence that investors can't get enough of Buffett's wisdom, more books featuring his insights are forthcoming this year, including <em>Tap Dancing to Work</em>, compiled by Carol Loomis, <em>Fortune</em> senior editor-at-large.  <em>--EF</em>

19. Warren Buffett

Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway Barely slowed by radiation treatments for stage 1 prostate cancer, Buffett has been on the hunt for big takeover candidates this year -- he's amassed a near record amount of cash, $47.8 billion -- but has so far held himself to small acquisitions including party favor company Oriental Trading and a newspaper in Waco, Texas. Buffett's complaint that his assistant pays a higher tax rate than he does became fodder earlier this year for President Obama's "Buffett Rule" -- and the topic of tax rates for the wealthy will surely continue to be a subject of intense debate. As evidence that investors can't get enough of Buffett's wisdom, more books featuring his insights are forthcoming this year, including Tap Dancing to Work, compiled by Carol Loomis, Fortune senior editor-at-large. --EF
Photo: Scott Eells/Bloomberg/Getty

19. Warren Buffett

Chairman and CEO, Berkshire Hathaway

Barely slowed by radiation treatments for stage 1 prostate cancer, Buffett has been on the hunt for big takeover candidates this year -- he's amassed a near record amount of cash, $47.8 billion -- but has so far held himself to small acquisitions including party favor company Oriental Trading and a newspaper in Waco, Texas. Buffett's complaint that his assistant pays a higher tax rate than he does became fodder earlier this year for President Obama's "Buffett Rule" -- and the topic of tax rates for the wealthy will surely continue to be a subject of intense debate. As evidence that investors can't get enough of Buffett's wisdom, more books featuring his insights are forthcoming this year, including Tap Dancing to Work, compiled by Carol Loomis, Fortune senior editor-at-large. --EF

<h1>20. Barry Diller</h1>
<strong>Chairman and senior executive at IAC, Expedia, and <strong></strong>TripAdvisor</strong>

While the stock of <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=IACI&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">IAC Group</a>, the Internet holding company Diller chairs, are essentially flat for the year, shares of his Expedia travel site have soared more than 100% this year, proving that the media mogul still has a hot hand. This year, he also paid $300 million to wrest About.com from the <em>New York Times</em>, and backed controversial online TV service Aereo. He was behind <em>Newsweek's</em> bold decision to shutter its print operations, and he teamed with Scott Rudin to launch Brightline, which aims to disrupt the book publishing industry. <em>--Jessi Hempel</em>

20. Barry Diller

Chairman and senior executive at IAC, Expedia, and TripAdvisor While the stock of IAC Group, the Internet holding company Diller chairs, are essentially flat for the year, shares of his Expedia travel site have soared more than 100% this year, proving that the media mogul still has a hot hand. This year, he also paid $300 million to wrest About.com from the New York Times, and backed controversial online TV service Aereo. He was behind Newsweek's bold decision to shutter its print operations, and he teamed with Scott Rudin to launch Brightline, which aims to disrupt the book publishing industry. --Jessi Hempel
Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty

20. Barry Diller

Chairman and senior executive at IAC, Expedia, and TripAdvisor

While the stock of IAC Group (iaci), the Internet holding company Diller chairs, are essentially flat for the year, shares of his Expedia travel site have soared more than 100% this year, proving that the media mogul still has a hot hand. This year, he also paid $300 million to wrest About.com from the New York Times, and backed controversial online TV service Aereo. He was behind Newsweek's bold decision to shutter its print operations, and he teamed with Scott Rudin to launch Brightline, which aims to disrupt the book publishing industry. --Jessi Hempel

<h1>21. Stephen Luczo</h1>
<strong>CEO, Seagate Technology</strong>

The situation was pretty dire when Stephen Luczo was asked by the <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=STX&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Seagate</a> board to return as CEO of the hard drive manufacturer in 2009. Luczo took over a company with declining market share, rising costs, and massive debt. Fast forward to 2012: Seagate has achieved record revenues and profits and even briefly wrested the No. 1 position from Western Digital  as the largest hard disk manufacturer in the world. To be sure, Seagate benefitted from the floods in Thailand that damaged rival companies' manufacturing plants, but Luczo also restructured management and made some strategic deals along the way, the most lucrative being the acquisition of Samsung's disk drive business. <em>--OA</em>

21. Stephen Luczo

CEO, Seagate Technology The situation was pretty dire when Stephen Luczo was asked by the Seagate board to return as CEO of the hard drive manufacturer in 2009. Luczo took over a company with declining market share, rising costs, and massive debt. Fast forward to 2012: Seagate has achieved record revenues and profits and even briefly wrested the No. 1 position from Western Digital as the largest hard disk manufacturer in the world. To be sure, Seagate benefitted from the floods in Thailand that damaged rival companies' manufacturing plants, but Luczo also restructured management and made some strategic deals along the way, the most lucrative being the acquisition of Samsung's disk drive business. --OA

21. Stephen Luczo

CEO, Seagate Technology

The situation was pretty dire when Stephen Luczo was asked by the Seagate (stx) board to return as CEO of the hard drive manufacturer in 2009. Luczo took over a company with declining market share, rising costs, and massive debt. Fast forward to 2012: Seagate has achieved record revenues and profits and even briefly wrested the No. 1 position from Western Digital as the largest hard disk manufacturer in the world. To be sure, Seagate benefitted from the floods in Thailand that damaged rival companies' manufacturing plants, but Luczo also restructured management and made some strategic deals along the way, the most lucrative being the acquisition of Samsung's disk drive business. --OA

<h1>22. Ginni Rometty</h1>
<strong>Chairman and CEO, IBM</strong>

Rometty's first 10 months as president and CEO of <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=IBM&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">IBM</a> went so well that in October, predecessor Sam Palmisano handed her the role of chairman. A 31-year veteran of the tech giant, Rometty, 55, managed the $3.5 billion PwC Consulting acquisition that launched IBM in the services business in 2002, and has helped develop IBM's signature successive five-year growth plans. She has promised $20 billion in revenue growth over the next five years. <em>--JH</em>

22. Ginni Rometty

Chairman and CEO, IBM Rometty's first 10 months as president and CEO of IBM went so well that in October, predecessor Sam Palmisano handed her the role of chairman. A 31-year veteran of the tech giant, Rometty, 55, managed the $3.5 billion PwC Consulting acquisition that launched IBM in the services business in 2002, and has helped develop IBM's signature successive five-year growth plans. She has promised $20 billion in revenue growth over the next five years. --JH
Photo: Krista Kennell/Fortune Most Powerful Women

22. Ginni Rometty

Chairman and CEO, IBM

Rometty's first 10 months as president and CEO of IBM (ibm) went so well that in October, predecessor Sam Palmisano handed her the role of chairman. A 31-year veteran of the tech giant, Rometty, 55, managed the $3.5 billion PwC Consulting acquisition that launched IBM in the services business in 2002, and has helped develop IBM's signature successive five-year growth plans. She has promised $20 billion in revenue growth over the next five years. --JH

<h1>23. Howard Schultz</h1>
<strong>Founder and CEO, Starbucks</strong>

Last year's Businessperson of the Year is turning his attention to technology. A pioneer in the delivery of free Wi-Fi in its cafes, <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=SBUX&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Starbucks</a> is emerging as a leader in the mobile payments space. Schultz is partnering with Square, the company founded by Jack Dorsey (<a href="http://money.cnn.com/gallery/news/companies/2012/11/16/business-person-of-the-year.fortune/49.html" title="">No. 48</a>) to enable Starbucks to accept mobile payments -- and Schultz joined the Square board. <em>--OA</em>

23. Howard Schultz

Founder and CEO, Starbucks Last year's Businessperson of the Year is turning his attention to technology. A pioneer in the delivery of free Wi-Fi in its cafes, Starbucks is emerging as a leader in the mobile payments space. Schultz is partnering with Square, the company founded by Jack Dorsey (No. 48) to enable Starbucks to accept mobile payments -- and Schultz joined the Square board. --OA
Photo: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg/Getty

23. Howard Schultz

Founder and CEO, Starbucks

Last year's Businessperson of the Year is turning his attention to technology. A pioneer in the delivery of free Wi-Fi in its cafes, Starbucks (sbux) is emerging as a leader in the mobile payments space. Schultz is partnering with Square, the company founded by Jack Dorsey (No. 48) to enable Starbucks to accept mobile payments -- and Schultz joined the Square board. --OA

<h1>24. Terry Gou</h1>
<strong>Founder and chairman, Hon Hai</strong>

The global electronics supply chain almost invariably passes through Hon Hai, the contract manufacturing company Gou founded in 1974 to make plastic switches for televisions. The firm, also known as Foxconn, now produces  computers for <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=DELL&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Dell</a>, video consoles for Nintendo and <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=SNE&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Sony</a>, handsets for <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=NOK&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Nokia</a> and Huawei, and of course, the iPhone and iPad for Apple. So indispensable is the manufacturer that in the wake of labor strikes and recruiting troubles at an iPhone factory, Apple agreed to subsidize 16% pay raises and overtime bonuses for Foxconn workers. (The complexity of the iPhone 5 assembly and new quality control standards have led to the shift of some iPhone production to Foxconn International Holdings, Hon Hai's struggling handset affiliate, which saw its stock surge 35% after the news hit earlier this month.) 

Hon Hai also continued its push into the television market this year with a deal to produce large-screen high resolution panels for Sharp, a move that analysts say positions the manufacturer well for what could be the next blockbuster product -- Apple TV.  <em>--EF</em>

24. Terry Gou

Founder and chairman, Hon Hai The global electronics supply chain almost invariably passes through Hon Hai, the contract manufacturing company Gou founded in 1974 to make plastic switches for televisions. The firm, also known as Foxconn, now produces computers for Dell, video consoles for Nintendo and Sony, handsets for Nokia and Huawei, and of course, the iPhone and iPad for Apple. So indispensable is the manufacturer that in the wake of labor strikes and recruiting troubles at an iPhone factory, Apple agreed to subsidize 16% pay raises and overtime bonuses for Foxconn workers. (The complexity of the iPhone 5 assembly and new quality control standards have led to the shift of some iPhone production to Foxconn International Holdings, Hon Hai's struggling handset affiliate, which saw its stock surge 35% after the news hit earlier this month.) Hon Hai also continued its push into the television market this year with a deal to produce large-screen high resolution panels for Sharp, a move that analysts say positions the manufacturer well for what could be the next blockbuster product -- Apple TV. --EF
Photo: Tomohiro Ohsumi/Bloomberg/Getty

24. Terry Gou

Founder and chairman, Hon Hai

The global electronics supply chain almost invariably passes through Hon Hai, the contract manufacturing company Gou founded in 1974 to make plastic switches for televisions. The firm, also known as Foxconn, now produces computers for Dell (dell), video consoles for Nintendo and Sony (sne), handsets for Nokia (nok) and Huawei, and of course, the iPhone and iPad for Apple. So indispensable is the manufacturer that in the wake of labor strikes and recruiting troubles at an iPhone factory, Apple agreed to subsidize 16% pay raises and overtime bonuses for Foxconn workers. (The complexity of the iPhone 5 assembly and new quality control standards have led to the shift of some iPhone production to Foxconn International Holdings, Hon Hai's struggling handset affiliate, which saw its stock surge 35% after the news hit earlier this month.)

Hon Hai also continued its push into the television market this year with a deal to produce large-screen high resolution panels for Sharp, a move that analysts say positions the manufacturer well for what could be the next blockbuster product -- Apple TV. --EF

Lennar CEO Stuart Miller
Lennar CEO Stuart MillerPhotograph by Jamie Rector — Bloomberg/Getty

25. Stuart Miller

CEO, Lennar

It's been (at last) the boom after the bust this year for Lennar (len), America's third largest home builder. The Miami-based company has posted bigger and better numbers all year, thanks to a housing recovery spurred on by low interest rates, affordable home prices, and rising rents. Miller's strategy, which focuses the company's properties in communities less exposed to the housing collapse, has blessed the company with relatively fat margins -- they sell homes for more and offer fewer incentives -- putting Lennar ahead of the homebuilder pack. The company is also making a push into multi-generationalhousing (with separate suites for adult children or elderly parents) with hopes of profiting from the demographic trend. --EF

<h1>26. Kenneth Chenault</h1>
<strong>Chairman and CEO, American Express</strong>

As consumer confidence returned, <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=AXP&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">American Express'</a> customers -- who are typically about a third more affluent than typical credit card holders -- continued to make big purchases on their cards, aided by high-end perks such as no-spending-limit cards. Along with increased revenues and lower operating costs, the company's stock has risen nearly 25% this year. <em>--OA</em>

26. Kenneth Chenault

Chairman and CEO, American Express As consumer confidence returned, American Express' customers -- who are typically about a third more affluent than typical credit card holders -- continued to make big purchases on their cards, aided by high-end perks such as no-spending-limit cards. Along with increased revenues and lower operating costs, the company's stock has risen nearly 25% this year. --OA
Photo: Taylor Hill/Getty Images

26. Kenneth Chenault

Chairman and CEO, American Express

As consumer confidence returned, American Express' (axp) customers -- who are typically about a third more affluent than typical credit card holders -- continued to make big purchases on their cards, aided by high-end perks such as no-spending-limit cards. Along with increased revenues and lower operating costs, the company's stock has risen nearly 25% this year. --OA

<h1>27. George Scangos</h1>
<strong>CEO, Biogen Idec</strong>

Scangos made some tough decisions when he took the reins of a pharmaceutical company that was lagging its competitors in 2010. He laid off 650 employees and got rid of <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=BIIB&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Biogen's</a> cancer and cardiovascular diseases research to focus on the company's core strengths in neurology, autoimmunity, and hemophilia. The winnowing is paying off this year as the company's stock has skyrocketed, more than doubling in value over the past 18 months. A lot of this can be attributed to the anticipated approval of the company's latest oral pill for multiple sclerosis, BG-12. If approved, it will be the first FDA approval Biogen has received for a new drug since 2004. <em>--OA</em>

27. George Scangos

CEO, Biogen Idec Scangos made some tough decisions when he took the reins of a pharmaceutical company that was lagging its competitors in 2010. He laid off 650 employees and got rid of Biogen's cancer and cardiovascular diseases research to focus on the company's core strengths in neurology, autoimmunity, and hemophilia. The winnowing is paying off this year as the company's stock has skyrocketed, more than doubling in value over the past 18 months. A lot of this can be attributed to the anticipated approval of the company's latest oral pill for multiple sclerosis, BG-12. If approved, it will be the first FDA approval Biogen has received for a new drug since 2004. --OA
Photo: Frank Polich/Bloomberg/Getty

27. George Scangos

CEO, Biogen Idec

Scangos made some tough decisions when he took the reins of a pharmaceutical company that was lagging its competitors in 2010. He laid off 650 employees and got rid of Biogen's (biib) cancer and cardiovascular diseases research to focus on the company's core strengths in neurology, autoimmunity, and hemophilia. The winnowing is paying off this year as the company's stock has skyrocketed, more than doubling in value over the past 18 months. A lot of this can be attributed to the anticipated approval of the company's latest oral pill for multiple sclerosis, BG-12. If approved, it will be the first FDA approval Biogen has received for a new drug since 2004. --OA

<h1>28. Donald Tomnitz</h1>
<strong>CEO, D.R. Horton</strong>

After scoring four straight quarters of rising home sale orders and six of profits, Tomnitz announced in July that <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=DHI&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">D.R. Horton</a>, America's largest homebuilder, had never been better positioned during his 29 years in the industry. (He's been in D.R. Horton's top spot since 1995.) The results have been good: homebuilding revenue for Horton's fiscal year increased 19%, and by the third quarter, all six of D.R. Horton's homebuilding regions saw increases in sales, backlog, and revenue. D.R. Horton's stock is up by 46% for the year. <em>--EF</em>

28. Donald Tomnitz

CEO, D.R. Horton After scoring four straight quarters of rising home sale orders and six of profits, Tomnitz announced in July that D.R. Horton, America's largest homebuilder, had never been better positioned during his 29 years in the industry. (He's been in D.R. Horton's top spot since 1995.) The results have been good: homebuilding revenue for Horton's fiscal year increased 19%, and by the third quarter, all six of D.R. Horton's homebuilding regions saw increases in sales, backlog, and revenue. D.R. Horton's stock is up by 46% for the year. --EF

28. Donald Tomnitz

CEO, D.R. Horton

After scoring four straight quarters of rising home sale orders and six of profits, Tomnitz announced in July that D.R. Horton (dhi), America's largest homebuilder, had never been better positioned during his 29 years in the industry. (He's been in D.R. Horton's top spot since 1995.) The results have been good: homebuilding revenue for Horton's fiscal year increased 19%, and by the third quarter, all six of D.R. Horton's homebuilding regions saw increases in sales, backlog, and revenue. D.R. Horton's stock is up by 46% for the year. --EF

<h1>29. Christopher Connor</h1>
<strong>Chairman and CEO, Sherwin-Williams</strong>

With Connor at the helm, America's leading paint maker bounced back nicely this year, posting strong sales -- a record $7.31 billion through September -- in line with the recovery of the housing market. (More home sales means more people painting them.) Improving car sales paint a rosy future for the company as well -- people are more likely touch up cars when they are new. Price increases, a move to offset the rising cost of raw materials, have also helped. Connor's tenure, which began in 1999, has been marked by financial discipline, and he's kept the company on track and growing: <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=SHW&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Sherwin-Williams</a> is opening 63 new stores this year and earlier this week agreed to acquire Consorcio Comex, Mexico's leading paint company for $2.34 billion. Stock is up more than 68% for the year. <em>--EF</em>

29. Christopher Connor

Chairman and CEO, Sherwin-Williams With Connor at the helm, America's leading paint maker bounced back nicely this year, posting strong sales -- a record $7.31 billion through September -- in line with the recovery of the housing market. (More home sales means more people painting them.) Improving car sales paint a rosy future for the company as well -- people are more likely touch up cars when they are new. Price increases, a move to offset the rising cost of raw materials, have also helped. Connor's tenure, which began in 1999, has been marked by financial discipline, and he's kept the company on track and growing: Sherwin-Williams is opening 63 new stores this year and earlier this week agreed to acquire Consorcio Comex, Mexico's leading paint company for $2.34 billion. Stock is up more than 68% for the year. --EF

29. Christopher Connor

Chairman and CEO, Sherwin-Williams

With Connor at the helm, America's leading paint maker bounced back nicely this year, posting strong sales -- a record $7.31 billion through September -- in line with the recovery of the housing market. (More home sales means more people painting them.) Improving car sales paint a rosy future for the company as well -- people are more likely touch up cars when they are new. Price increases, a move to offset the rising cost of raw materials, have also helped. Connor's tenure, which began in 1999, has been marked by financial discipline, and he's kept the company on track and growing: Sherwin-Williams (shw) is opening 63 new stores this year and earlier this week agreed to acquire Consorcio Comex, Mexico's leading paint company for $2.34 billion. Stock is up more than 68% for the year. --EF

<h1>30. Leonard Bell</h1>
<strong>CEO, Alexion Pharmaceuticals</strong>

This pharmaceutical company manufactures only one drug, Soliris. Sounds like a risky strategy, but consider that Soliris, which is used to treat a rare form of anemia, costs more than $400,000 a year per patient. Company founder and CEO Leonard Bell has identified the most lucrative of niches and, as a result, has seen the company's stock outpace several stock market giants, including Apple. The cost is high, but the drug is extremely effective, making its demand inelastic among government health care programs. <em>--OA</em>

30. Leonard Bell

CEO, Alexion Pharmaceuticals This pharmaceutical company manufactures only one drug, Soliris. Sounds like a risky strategy, but consider that Soliris, which is used to treat a rare form of anemia, costs more than $400,000 a year per patient. Company founder and CEO Leonard Bell has identified the most lucrative of niches and, as a result, has seen the company's stock outpace several stock market giants, including Apple. The cost is high, but the drug is extremely effective, making its demand inelastic among government health care programs. --OA
Courtesy: Alexion

30. Leonard Bell

CEO, Alexion Pharmaceuticals

This pharmaceutical company manufactures only one drug, Soliris. Sounds like a risky strategy, but consider that Soliris, which is used to treat a rare form of anemia, costs more than $400,000 a year per patient. Company founder and CEO Leonard Bell has identified the most lucrative of niches and, as a result, has seen the company's stock outpace several stock market giants, including Apple. The cost is high, but the drug is extremely effective, making its demand inelastic among government health care programs. --OA

<h1>31. Chase Coleman</h1>
<strong>Co-founder and managing partner, Tiger Global </strong>

A descendant of Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch governor of New York, Coleman may come from old money but he's minted a fortune in recent years thanks to the $6 billion Tiger Global hedge fund he started in 2001. With large investments in companies like Apple, <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=LNKD&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">LinkedIn</a>, Amazon, Google, and Facebook, the fund reportedly gained nearly 22% through September of this year. <em>--JM</em>

31. Chase Coleman

Co-founder and managing partner, Tiger Global A descendant of Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch governor of New York, Coleman may come from old money but he's minted a fortune in recent years thanks to the $6 billion Tiger Global hedge fund he started in 2001. With large investments in companies like Apple, LinkedIn, Amazon, Google, and Facebook, the fund reportedly gained nearly 22% through September of this year. --JM

31. Chase Coleman

Co-founder and managing partner, Tiger Global

A descendant of Peter Stuyvesant, the last Dutch governor of New York, Coleman may come from old money but he's minted a fortune in recent years thanks to the $6 billion Tiger Global hedge fund he started in 2001. With large investments in companies like Apple, LinkedIn (lnkd), Amazon, Google, and Facebook, the fund reportedly gained nearly 22% through September of this year. --JM

<h1>32. Bernard Arnault</h1>
<strong>Chairman and CEO, LVMH</strong>

Arnault's luxury empire includes more than 60 prestige brands (Louis Vuitton, Veuve Cliquot, EmilioPucci), more than 3,000 retail locations, and some 100,000 employees worldwide. But the savvy (and sartorially impeccable) CEO is always on the lookout for more deals. This year, <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=LVMHF&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">LVMH</a> raised its ownership stake in family-controlled Hermes to 22%, prompting Hermes to file a criminal complaint claiming LVMH was engaged in stealth stake building. Arnault's response: The company released a statement saying, "LVMH Group has had no choice but to file a suit for slander, blackmail and unfair competition." <br />
<em>--Stephanie N. Mehta
</em>

32. Bernard Arnault

Chairman and CEO, LVMH Arnault's luxury empire includes more than 60 prestige brands (Louis Vuitton, Veuve Cliquot, EmilioPucci), more than 3,000 retail locations, and some 100,000 employees worldwide. But the savvy (and sartorially impeccable) CEO is always on the lookout for more deals. This year, LVMH raised its ownership stake in family-controlled Hermes to 22%, prompting Hermes to file a criminal complaint claiming LVMH was engaged in stealth stake building. Arnault's response: The company released a statement saying, "LVMH Group has had no choice but to file a suit for slander, blackmail and unfair competition."
--Stephanie N. Mehta
Photograph by Balint Porneczi — Bloomberg/Getty Images

32. Bernard Arnault

Chairman and CEO, LVMH

Arnault's luxury empire includes more than 60 prestige brands (Louis Vuitton, Veuve Cliquot, EmilioPucci), more than 3,000 retail locations, and some 100,000 employees worldwide. But the savvy (and sartorially impeccable) CEO is always on the lookout for more deals. This year, LVMH (lvmhf) raised its ownership stake in family-controlled Hermes to 22%, prompting Hermes to file a criminal complaint claiming LVMH was engaged in stealth stake building. Arnault's response: The company released a statement saying, "LVMH Group has had no choice but to file a suit for slander, blackmail and unfair competition."
--Stephanie N. Mehta

Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuite
Zach Nelson, CEO of NetSuitePhoto: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg/Getty

33. Zach Nelson

CEO, NetSuite

Nelson has his eyes on the prize: $1 billion in annual revenue. Thanks to a hot niche -- business software delivered via the Internet -- he may achieve his goal. (Revenue for the last four quarters rose 28% to $288 million.) Investors are bullish: Shares of NetSuite (n) are up some 56% this year. --SNM

<h1>34. Jim Bidzos</h1>
<strong>Chairman and CEO, Verisign</strong>

When Jim Bidzos last year returned to the CEO job at the Internet security and domain name company (he was the company's founder and first CEO, serving from April 1995 to December 2001), he inherited a company with flagging sales and slow growth. Under Bidzos' leadership, <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=VRSN&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Verisign</a> surged this year, with increased net income, revenue growth, and a steady stock price performance. The company's outlook looks even better as it reaffirmed it will continue running the iconic ".com" domain after a government review of its ownership. <em>--OA</em>

34. Jim Bidzos

Chairman and CEO, Verisign When Jim Bidzos last year returned to the CEO job at the Internet security and domain name company (he was the company's founder and first CEO, serving from April 1995 to December 2001), he inherited a company with flagging sales and slow growth. Under Bidzos' leadership, Verisign surged this year, with increased net income, revenue growth, and a steady stock price performance. The company's outlook looks even better as it reaffirmed it will continue running the iconic ".com" domain after a government review of its ownership. --OA
Photo: Kevin Bocek/Flickr/CC

34. Jim Bidzos

Chairman and CEO, Verisign

When Jim Bidzos last year returned to the CEO job at the Internet security and domain name company (he was the company's founder and first CEO, serving from April 1995 to December 2001), he inherited a company with flagging sales and slow growth. Under Bidzos' leadership, Verisign (vrsn)surged this year, with increased net income, revenue growth, and a steady stock price performance. The company's outlook looks even better as it reaffirmed it will continue running the iconic ".com" domain after a government review of its ownership. --OA

<h1>35. Marc Benioff</h1>
<strong>Chairman and CEO, Salesforce.com</strong>

The charismatic executive's big bet on software-as-a-service has paid off in a big way: <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=CRM&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Saleforce's</a> revenue for the last four quarters climbed 37% to $2.6 billion, and Benioff's technology dominates the customer relationship management (CRM) category. Now Benioff is looking to diversify: His latest craze? "Social" software for businesses. <em>--MLR</em>

35. Marc Benioff

Chairman and CEO, Salesforce.com The charismatic executive's big bet on software-as-a-service has paid off in a big way: Saleforce's revenue for the last four quarters climbed 37% to $2.6 billion, and Benioff's technology dominates the customer relationship management (CRM) category. Now Benioff is looking to diversify: His latest craze? "Social" software for businesses. --MLR
Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty Images

35. Marc Benioff

Chairman and CEO, Salesforce.com

The charismatic executive's big bet on software-as-a-service has paid off in a big way: Saleforce's (crm) revenue for the last four quarters climbed 37% to $2.6 billion, and Benioff's technology dominates the customer relationship management (CRM) category. Now Benioff is looking to diversify: His latest craze? "Social" software for businesses. --MLR

<h1>36. Deepak Narula</h1>
<strong>Founder and managing partner, Metacapital Management</strong>

Deepak Narula knows mortgage-backed securities, and it shows. The former Lehman trader's $1.5 billion mortgage-focused hedge fund has left others in the industry in the dust this year, posting 37% returns through October (the hedge fund industry average for the period is 4.5%). Metacapital has outpaced other funds for years -- it's up 520% since 2008 -- by taking positions with near perfect foresight of policy change and movement in the housing market. 

This year, they've won big both on agency mortgage backed securities that have risen in value with QE3 -- the Fed is buying $40 billion in mortgage backed securities per month -- and non-agency mortgage backed securities, which have done well as housing has recovered. 

Narula credits Metacapital's team of seasoned investment professionals for the performance. Narula, who was born in India and graduated with an engineering degree, can put himself in that category: He has focused on mortgages since the late '80s.  <em>--EF</em>

36. Deepak Narula

Founder and managing partner, Metacapital Management Deepak Narula knows mortgage-backed securities, and it shows. The former Lehman trader's $1.5 billion mortgage-focused hedge fund has left others in the industry in the dust this year, posting 37% returns through October (the hedge fund industry average for the period is 4.5%). Metacapital has outpaced other funds for years -- it's up 520% since 2008 -- by taking positions with near perfect foresight of policy change and movement in the housing market. This year, they've won big both on agency mortgage backed securities that have risen in value with QE3 -- the Fed is buying $40 billion in mortgage backed securities per month -- and non-agency mortgage backed securities, which have done well as housing has recovered. Narula credits Metacapital's team of seasoned investment professionals for the performance. Narula, who was born in India and graduated with an engineering degree, can put himself in that category: He has focused on mortgages since the late '80s. --EF
Photo: Jacob Kepler/Bloomberg/Getty

36. Deepak Narula

Founder and managing partner, Metacapital Management

Deepak Narula knows mortgage-backed securities, and it shows. The former Lehman trader's $1.5 billion mortgage-focused hedge fund has left others in the industry in the dust this year, posting 37% returns through October (the hedge fund industry average for the period is 4.5%). Metacapital has outpaced other funds for years -- it's up 520% since 2008 -- by taking positions with near perfect foresight of policy change and movement in the housing market.

This year, they've won big both on agency mortgage backed securities that have risen in value with QE3 -- the Fed is buying $40 billion in mortgage backed securities per month -- and non-agency mortgage backed securities, which have done well as housing has recovered.

Narula credits Metacapital's team of seasoned investment professionals for the performance. Narula, who was born in India and graduated with an engineering degree, can put himself in that category: He has focused on mortgages since the late '80s. --EF

Photo: Jin Lee/Bloomberg/Getty Images

37. Terry Lundgren

Chairman and CEO, Macy's

Who says the department store is dead? This year, Macy's (m) CEO Terry Lundgren oversaw the hiring of more than 1,000 young workers straight out of college to add to its 171,000-strong workforce, something that was achieved on the back of the department store's healthy sales. Stores open for more than a year reported a revenue increase of 4%. Columbia Business School recently named Lundgren as one of the winners of the Deming Cup, given to outstanding performers in the business. --OA

<h1>38. Kirk Hachigian</h1>
<strong>Chairman and CEO, Cooper Industries</strong>

When Cooper Industries was founded in 1833, it sold stoves and hog troughs. These days, it's an electrical equipment manufacturer very much on the cutting edge. Hachigian, who stepped up as CEO in 2005, deserves at least some of the credit: he's turned Cooper's focus to future growth opportunities, like LED lighting and smart grid technology. This year, <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=CBE&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Cooper</a> acquired four companies, including Fifth Light, a "daylight harvesting" operation that brings optimum efficiency to lighting systems -- strategic moves that, in turn, made Cooper an attractive acquisition target. Earlier this year Eaton Corporation, the power management provider, agreed to buy Cooper Industries for about $11.8 billion. <em>--EF</em>

38. Kirk Hachigian

Chairman and CEO, Cooper Industries When Cooper Industries was founded in 1833, it sold stoves and hog troughs. These days, it's an electrical equipment manufacturer very much on the cutting edge. Hachigian, who stepped up as CEO in 2005, deserves at least some of the credit: he's turned Cooper's focus to future growth opportunities, like LED lighting and smart grid technology. This year, Cooper acquired four companies, including Fifth Light, a "daylight harvesting" operation that brings optimum efficiency to lighting systems -- strategic moves that, in turn, made Cooper an attractive acquisition target. Earlier this year Eaton Corporation, the power management provider, agreed to buy Cooper Industries for about $11.8 billion. --EF

38. Kirk Hachigian

Chairman and CEO, Cooper Industries

When Cooper Industries was founded in 1833, it sold stoves and hog troughs. These days, it's an electrical equipment manufacturer very much on the cutting edge. Hachigian, who stepped up as CEO in 2005, deserves at least some of the credit: he's turned Cooper's focus to future growth opportunities, like LED lighting and smart grid technology. This year, Cooper (cbe) acquired four companies, including Fifth Light, a "daylight harvesting" operation that brings optimum efficiency to lighting systems -- strategic moves that, in turn, made Cooper an attractive acquisition target. Earlier this year Eaton Corporation, the power management provider, agreed to buy Cooper Industries for about $11.8 billion. --EF

<h1>39. Robert Moran</h1>
<strong>Chairman and CEO, PetSmart </strong>

While revenue growth at <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=PETM&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">PetSmart</a> was less than what it was last year, net income was up nearly 25% and Bob Moran is still at the head of a company that managed a remarkable turnaround after facing stiff competition from large retailers like <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=WMT&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Wal-Mart</a>. It has done this by expanding into more personalized service such as Doggie Day Camps and pet hotels. Starting next year, the company plans to expand its web services, enabling customers to reserve pet rooms and other services online. <em>--OA</em>

39. Robert Moran

Chairman and CEO, PetSmart While revenue growth at PetSmart was less than what it was last year, net income was up nearly 25% and Bob Moran is still at the head of a company that managed a remarkable turnaround after facing stiff competition from large retailers like Wal-Mart. It has done this by expanding into more personalized service such as Doggie Day Camps and pet hotels. Starting next year, the company plans to expand its web services, enabling customers to reserve pet rooms and other services online. --OA

39. Robert Moran

Chairman and CEO, PetSmart

While revenue growth at PetSmart (petm) was less than what it was last year, net income was up nearly 25% and Bob Moran is still at the head of a company that managed a remarkable turnaround after facing stiff competition from large retailers like Wal-Mart (wmt). It has done this by expanding into more personalized service such as Doggie Day Camps and pet hotels. Starting next year, the company plans to expand its web services, enabling customers to reserve pet rooms and other services online. --OA

<h1>40. Carlos Fernández</h1>
<strong>Chairman and CEO, Grupo Modelo
</strong>

Fernández got his start at family-controlled Grupo Modelo, Mexico's leading brewer, at a young age. He became CEO in 1997. Since then, he's worked to grow the beer maker's international footprint, particularly in the U.S., with its burgeoning Latino market. He's had success: Modelo's Corona is the leading import beer in 38 countries, including the U.S., where Corona Extra, Corona Light, and ModeloEspecial all land in the top 5. That was no doubt part of<a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=BUD&amp;source=story_quote_link" title=""> Anheuser-Busch InBev'</a>s calculations when it agreed to acquire the half of Grupo Modelo it doesn't already own (pending regulatory approval).<em> --E</em>F

40. Carlos Fernández

Chairman and CEO, Grupo Modelo Fernández got his start at family-controlled Grupo Modelo, Mexico's leading brewer, at a young age. He became CEO in 1997. Since then, he's worked to grow the beer maker's international footprint, particularly in the U.S., with its burgeoning Latino market. He's had success: Modelo's Corona is the leading import beer in 38 countries, including the U.S., where Corona Extra, Corona Light, and ModeloEspecial all land in the top 5. That was no doubt part of Anheuser-Busch InBev's calculations when it agreed to acquire the half of Grupo Modelo it doesn't already own (pending regulatory approval). --EF

40. Carlos Fernández

Chairman and CEO, Grupo Modelo

Fernández got his start at family-controlled Grupo Modelo, Mexico's leading brewer, at a young age. He became CEO in 1997. Since then, he's worked to grow the beer maker's international footprint, particularly in the U.S., with its burgeoning Latino market. He's had success: Modelo's Corona is the leading import beer in 38 countries, including the U.S., where Corona Extra, Corona Light, and ModeloEspecial all land in the top 5. That was no doubt part of Anheuser-Busch InBev' (bud)s calculations when it agreed to acquire the half of Grupo Modelo it doesn't already own (pending regulatory approval). --EF

<h1>41. David Einhorn</h1>
<strong>Founder and president, Greenlight Capital</strong>

Overheard on Wall Street this year: "You've been Einhorned." No one moves markets quite like hedge fund manager David Einhorn, best known for publicly shorting (and quickly sinking) stocks he deems unworthy. Take <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=HLF&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Herbalife</a>, the nutritional supplement company that saw its stock plunge 20% one day last May when Einhorn raised questions about the company on a conference call with analysts and investors. Since then, his words have sent <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=CMG&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Chipotle</a> tanking, given <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=GM&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">GM</a> and <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=CI&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Cigna</a> a nice boost, and have become so potent that the <em>Wall Street Journal</em> studied, in earnest, the "Einhorn Effect." (He's also won $4 million playing poker.) That's enough cultural currency to make up for his own fund's middle-of-the-pack performance -- it's up 13.2% this year through September -- and being slapped with an $11 million fine for insider trading in January. <em>--EF</em>

41. David Einhorn

Founder and president, Greenlight Capital Overheard on Wall Street this year: "You've been Einhorned." No one moves markets quite like hedge fund manager David Einhorn, best known for publicly shorting (and quickly sinking) stocks he deems unworthy. Take Herbalife, the nutritional supplement company that saw its stock plunge 20% one day last May when Einhorn raised questions about the company on a conference call with analysts and investors. Since then, his words have sent Chipotle tanking, given GM and Cigna a nice boost, and have become so potent that the Wall Street Journal studied, in earnest, the "Einhorn Effect." (He's also won $4 million playing poker.) That's enough cultural currency to make up for his own fund's middle-of-the-pack performance -- it's up 13.2% this year through September -- and being slapped with an $11 million fine for insider trading in January. --EF
Photo: Peter Foley/Bloomberg/Getty

41. David Einhorn

Founder and president, Greenlight Capital

Overheard on Wall Street this year: "You've been Einhorned." No one moves markets quite like hedge fund manager David Einhorn, best known for publicly shorting (and quickly sinking) stocks he deems unworthy. Take Herbalife (hlf), the nutritional supplement company that saw its stock plunge 20% one day last May when Einhorn raised questions about the company on a conference call with analysts and investors. Since then, his words have sent Chipotle (cmg) tanking, given GM (gm) and Cigna (ci) a nice boost, and have become so potent that the Wall Street Journal studied, in earnest, the "Einhorn Effect." (He's also won $4 million playing poker.) That's enough cultural currency to make up for his own fund's middle-of-the-pack performance -- it's up 13.2% this year through September -- and being slapped with an $11 million fine for insider trading in January. --EF

<h1>42. Grayson Hall</h1>
<strong>CEO, Regions Financial</strong>

In the years since the financial crisis, Hall engineered a remarkable turnaround for the Alabama-based bank that was mired in bad investments and toxic loans. One of Hall's strategies was to sell off the company's investment banking division and focus instead on core operations, increasing commercial and industrial lending along with mortgage revenues. The result: steadily declining loan loss reserves, increased net income, and a soaring share price that has put the company under review for a possible ratings upgrade by Moody's. And to cap off the turnaround, this year <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=RF&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Regions Financial</a> paid off the $3.5 billion in TARP funding it received at the height of the financial crisis, freeing up its capital and positioning itself to make some useful acquisitions or dividend payouts. <em>--OA</em>

42. Grayson Hall

CEO, Regions Financial In the years since the financial crisis, Hall engineered a remarkable turnaround for the Alabama-based bank that was mired in bad investments and toxic loans. One of Hall's strategies was to sell off the company's investment banking division and focus instead on core operations, increasing commercial and industrial lending along with mortgage revenues. The result: steadily declining loan loss reserves, increased net income, and a soaring share price that has put the company under review for a possible ratings upgrade by Moody's. And to cap off the turnaround, this year Regions Financial paid off the $3.5 billion in TARP funding it received at the height of the financial crisis, freeing up its capital and positioning itself to make some useful acquisitions or dividend payouts. --OA

42. Grayson Hall

CEO, Regions Financial

In the years since the financial crisis, Hall engineered a remarkable turnaround for the Alabama-based bank that was mired in bad investments and toxic loans. One of Hall's strategies was to sell off the company's investment banking division and focus instead on core operations, increasing commercial and industrial lending along with mortgage revenues. The result: steadily declining loan loss reserves, increased net income, and a soaring share price that has put the company under review for a possible ratings upgrade by Moody's. And to cap off the turnaround, this year Regions Financial (rf) paid off the $3.5 billion in TARP funding it received at the height of the financial crisis, freeing up its capital and positioning itself to make some useful acquisitions or dividend payouts. --OA

<h1>43. James Lillie</h1>
<strong>CEO, Jarden</strong>

<a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=JAH&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Jarden</a> may not be the flashiest company featured on this list but for many investors, the stock has been a winner this year. The household goods maker, whose portfolio includes Sunbeam, Oster, Coleman, and Rawlings, has seen its stock gain well above 80% this year and has proven to be an extremely resilient company, with sales dipping only 1% in 2009 at the height of the recession. Now with former COO James Lillie completing a year in charge, the company is poised to continue its steady growth and maintain its low risk, high return investment reputation. <em>--OA</em>

43. James Lillie

CEO, Jarden Jarden may not be the flashiest company featured on this list but for many investors, the stock has been a winner this year. The household goods maker, whose portfolio includes Sunbeam, Oster, Coleman, and Rawlings, has seen its stock gain well above 80% this year and has proven to be an extremely resilient company, with sales dipping only 1% in 2009 at the height of the recession. Now with former COO James Lillie completing a year in charge, the company is poised to continue its steady growth and maintain its low risk, high return investment reputation. --OA
Photo: Brendan McDermid/Reuters

43. James Lillie

CEO, Jarden

Jarden (jah) may not be the flashiest company featured on this list but for many investors, the stock has been a winner this year. The household goods maker, whose portfolio includes Sunbeam, Oster, Coleman, and Rawlings, has seen its stock gain well above 80% this year and has proven to be an extremely resilient company, with sales dipping only 1% in 2009 at the height of the recession. Now with former COO James Lillie completing a year in charge, the company is poised to continue its steady growth and maintain its low risk, high return investment reputation. --OA

<h1>44. Fu Chengyu</h1>
<strong>Chairman, China Petroleum</strong>

Though appointed chairman of Asia's largest oil refinery just last year (No. 5 on the Fortune Global 500), Fu has already managed to create some buzz in the position: he was voted "Petroleum Executive of the Year" by industry peers in March, and in June, set off speculation when he appeared at the NBA Finals, courtside, with <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=CHK&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Chesapeake Energy</a> CEO Aubrey McClendon. 

But it wasn't that surprising: Fu, who came to China Petrochemical (Sinopec) from CNOOC, another big state-controlled oil company, pioneered the strategy for Chinese energy companies trying to operate abroad, and particularly in the U.S. (After an ambitious but ultimately failed takeover of Unocal in 2005, Fu went after minority stakes in American companies like Chesapeake.) 

He's now taken the playbook and ambitions to Sinopec, where overseas oil production grew 27% through September. This year, the firm added stakes in Nigeria, the North Sea, and the American Midwest. It also made its first foray into shale gas in western China and announced plans to take its refineries and carbon-capture technologies abroad. <em>--EF</em>

44. Fu Chengyu

Chairman, China Petroleum Though appointed chairman of Asia's largest oil refinery just last year (No. 5 on the Fortune Global 500), Fu has already managed to create some buzz in the position: he was voted "Petroleum Executive of the Year" by industry peers in March, and in June, set off speculation when he appeared at the NBA Finals, courtside, with Chesapeake Energy CEO Aubrey McClendon. But it wasn't that surprising: Fu, who came to China Petrochemical (Sinopec) from CNOOC, another big state-controlled oil company, pioneered the strategy for Chinese energy companies trying to operate abroad, and particularly in the U.S. (After an ambitious but ultimately failed takeover of Unocal in 2005, Fu went after minority stakes in American companies like Chesapeake.) He's now taken the playbook and ambitions to Sinopec, where overseas oil production grew 27% through September. This year, the firm added stakes in Nigeria, the North Sea, and the American Midwest. It also made its first foray into shale gas in western China and announced plans to take its refineries and carbon-capture technologies abroad. --EF
Photo: CARL COURT/AFP/Getty Images

44. Fu Chengyu

Chairman, China Petroleum

Though appointed chairman of Asia's largest oil refinery just last year (No. 5 on the Fortune Global 500), Fu has already managed to create some buzz in the position: he was voted "Petroleum Executive of the Year" by industry peers in March, and in June, set off speculation when he appeared at the NBA Finals, courtside, with Chesapeake Energy (chk) CEO Aubrey McClendon.

But it wasn't that surprising: Fu, who came to China Petrochemical (Sinopec) from CNOOC, another big state-controlled oil company, pioneered the strategy for Chinese energy companies trying to operate abroad, and particularly in the U.S. (After an ambitious but ultimately failed takeover of Unocal in 2005, Fu went after minority stakes in American companies like Chesapeake.)

He's now taken the playbook and ambitions to Sinopec, where overseas oil production grew 27% through September. This year, the firm added stakes in Nigeria, the North Sea, and the American Midwest. It also made its first foray into shale gas in western China and announced plans to take its refineries and carbon-capture technologies abroad. --EF

<h1>45. Alan Mulally</h1>
<strong>CEO, Ford Motor</strong>

Ford's board recently announced that Alan Mulally will continue to serve as <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=F&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Ford's</a> CEO through 2014, another vote of confidence in the man who steered the auto maker through its worst times during the recession, all without a government bailout. Ford earned its largest profit since 1998 last year and hung on to the No. 2 spot it had taken from <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=TM&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Toyota</a> in 2010. <em>--OA</em>

45. Alan Mulally

CEO, Ford Motor Ford's board recently announced that Alan Mulally will continue to serve as Ford's CEO through 2014, another vote of confidence in the man who steered the auto maker through its worst times during the recession, all without a government bailout. Ford earned its largest profit since 1998 last year and hung on to the No. 2 spot it had taken from Toyota in 2010. --OA
Photo: Nelson Ching/Bloomberg/Getty

45. Alan Mulally

CEO, Ford Motor

Ford's board recently announced that Alan Mulally will continue to serve as Ford's (f) CEO through 2014, another vote of confidence in the man who steered the auto maker through its worst times during the recession, all without a government bailout. Ford earned its largest profit since 1998 last year and hung on to the No. 2 spot it had taken from Toyota (tm) in 2010. --OA

Former Lululemon CEO Christine Day talked about her new adventure at Fortune's first-annual Next Gen Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday.
Former Lululemon CEO Christine Day talked about her new adventure at Fortune's first-annual Next Gen Summit in San Francisco on Wednesday. Photograph by Daniel Acker — Bloomberg/Getty Images

46. Christine Day

CEO, Lululemon Athletica

There's no Savasana in sight for Day or her fast-growing yoga apparel company, Lululemon Athletica (lulu). The Canadian retailer's stock is up 40% this year, and 290% since Day, a former Starbucks exec who got her start as Howard Schultz's assistant, took the top spot at the company in 2008. Day has demonstrated her strategic gifts in the role: she's won over Lululemon's loyal flocks by cultivating a sense of scarcity around the pricey yoga gear (discounts are rare). The counter-intuitive move is working: Lululemon expects $1.4 billion in sales this year. That's up more than $300 million from 2011 and well ahead of the crop of competitors, like Gap's Athleta, which have begun to sell fashion-forward sportswear at slightly lower prices. --EF

<h1>47. Clarence Otis Jr.</h1>
<strong>Chairman and CEO, Darden Restaurants</strong>

The company that owns affordable, family-friendly restaurant chains, including Olive Garden and Red Lobster, operates nearly 2,000 restaurants in all 50 states with annual revenue of just over $8 billion. It recently announced that it expected sales to grow between 5% and 9%, with Otis planning to combine the two major revenue streams of Olive Garden and Red Lobster "under one roof." <em>--OA</em>

47. Clarence Otis Jr.

Chairman and CEO, Darden Restaurants The company that owns affordable, family-friendly restaurant chains, including Olive Garden and Red Lobster, operates nearly 2,000 restaurants in all 50 states with annual revenue of just over $8 billion. It recently announced that it expected sales to grow between 5% and 9%, with Otis planning to combine the two major revenue streams of Olive Garden and Red Lobster "under one roof." --OA

47. Clarence Otis Jr.

Chairman and CEO, Darden Restaurants

The company that owns affordable, family-friendly restaurant chains, including Olive Garden and Red Lobster, operates nearly 2,000 restaurants in all 50 states with annual revenue of just over $8 billion. It recently announced that it expected sales to grow between 5% and 9%, with Otis planning to combine the two major revenue streams of Olive Garden and Red Lobster "under one roof." --OA

<h1>48. Jack Dorsey</h1>
<strong>Co-founder and CEO, Square</strong>

<strong>Co-founder and executive chairman, Twitter</strong>

Is he the Steve Jobs of his generation? That's been the buzz surrounding Dorsey, who holds down two roles (a la Jobs' dual gigs at Apple and Pixar) at Twitter and mobile payments platform Square. Square has been on a roll: In August, Dorsey inked a deal with Starbucks to process all card payments in their 7,000 U.S. stores. Square Wallet, an app that allows customers to make payments with their phones, also debuted in the coffee retailer's stores earlier this month. Meanwhile, Twitter continues to show its relevance; the messaging service proved its merits during the presidential debates and Hurricane Sandy. <em>--EF</em>

48. Jack Dorsey

Co-founder and CEO, Square Co-founder and executive chairman, Twitter Is he the Steve Jobs of his generation? That's been the buzz surrounding Dorsey, who holds down two roles (a la Jobs' dual gigs at Apple and Pixar) at Twitter and mobile payments platform Square. Square has been on a roll: In August, Dorsey inked a deal with Starbucks to process all card payments in their 7,000 U.S. stores. Square Wallet, an app that allows customers to make payments with their phones, also debuted in the coffee retailer's stores earlier this month. Meanwhile, Twitter continues to show its relevance; the messaging service proved its merits during the presidential debates and Hurricane Sandy. --EF
Photo: C Flanigan/Getty Images

48. Jack Dorsey

Co-founder and CEO, Square

Co-founder and executive chairman, Twitter

Is he the Steve Jobs of his generation? That's been the buzz surrounding Dorsey, who holds down two roles (a la Jobs' dual gigs at Apple and Pixar) at Twitter and mobile payments platform Square. Square has been on a roll: In August, Dorsey inked a deal with Starbucks to process all card payments in their 7,000 U.S. stores. Square Wallet, an app that allows customers to make payments with their phones, also debuted in the coffee retailer's stores earlier this month. Meanwhile, Twitter continues to show its relevance; the messaging service proved its merits during the presidential debates and Hurricane Sandy. --EF

<h1>49. Steve Anderson</h1>
<strong>Founder, Baseline Ventures</strong>

As founder of Baseline Ventures, an early stage investment firm, Anderson has seen a string of investments pay off this year. He was the first seed investor in the popular photo-sharing app Instagram, which <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=FB&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Facebook</a> acquired for a reported $1 billion earlier this year. Anderson also backed OMGPOP, maker of "Draw Something," which <a href="http://money.cnn.com/quote/quote.html?symb=ZNGA&amp;source=story_quote_link" title="">Zynga</a> snapped up for $200 million. <em>--JM</em>

49. Steve Anderson

Founder, Baseline Ventures As founder of Baseline Ventures, an early stage investment firm, Anderson has seen a string of investments pay off this year. He was the first seed investor in the popular photo-sharing app Instagram, which Facebook acquired for a reported $1 billion earlier this year. Anderson also backed OMGPOP, maker of "Draw Something," which Zynga snapped up for $200 million. --JM
Photo: Peter DaSilva/The New York Times/Redux

49. Steve Anderson

Founder, Baseline Ventures

As founder of Baseline Ventures, an early stage investment firm, Anderson has seen a string of investments pay off this year. He was the first seed investor in the popular photo-sharing app Instagram, which Facebook (fb) acquired for a reported $1 billion earlier this year. Anderson also backed OMGPOP, maker of "Draw Something," which Zynga (znga) snapped up for $200 million. --JM

<h1>50. Shawn Carter (Jay-Z)</h1>
<strong>Co-owner, Brooklyn Nets</strong>

The man known as Jay-z owns less than 1% of the Brooklyn Nets (Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov owns 80% of the basketball team), but Carter is the face of the team, and by extension, of his home borough. The rapper put in a mere $1 million into the initial partnership, but by all accounts was deeply involved in every aspect of the Nets' Brooklyn launch, including elements of its home stadium, the Barclays Center. The Nets are the latest addition to a business empire that includes New York's storied 40/40 Club and Roc-A-Fella Records. (He sold his clothing line, Rocawear, to Iconix in 2007 for $204 million.) Jay-Z the rapper may be winding down his career, but Shawn Carter the businessman is truly heating up after a fiery 2012. <em>--DR</em>

50. Shawn Carter (Jay-Z)

Co-owner, Brooklyn Nets The man known as Jay-z owns less than 1% of the Brooklyn Nets (Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov owns 80% of the basketball team), but Carter is the face of the team, and by extension, of his home borough. The rapper put in a mere $1 million into the initial partnership, but by all accounts was deeply involved in every aspect of the Nets' Brooklyn launch, including elements of its home stadium, the Barclays Center. The Nets are the latest addition to a business empire that includes New York's storied 40/40 Club and Roc-A-Fella Records. (He sold his clothing line, Rocawear, to Iconix in 2007 for $204 million.) Jay-Z the rapper may be winding down his career, but Shawn Carter the businessman is truly heating up after a fiery 2012. --DR
Photo: Taylor Hill/FlimMagic/Getty Images

50. Shawn Carter (Jay-Z)

Co-owner, Brooklyn Nets

The man known as Jay-z owns less than 1% of the Brooklyn Nets (Russian billionaire Mikhail Prokhorov owns 80% of the basketball team), but Carter is the face of the team, and by extension, of his home borough. The rapper put in a mere $1 million into the initial partnership, but by all accounts was deeply involved in every aspect of the Nets' Brooklyn launch, including elements of its home stadium, the Barclays Center. The Nets are the latest addition to a business empire that includes New York's storied 40/40 Club and Roc-A-Fella Records. (He sold his clothing line, Rocawear, to Iconix in 2007 for $204 million.) Jay-Z the rapper may be winding down his career, but Shawn Carter the businessman is truly heating up after a fiery 2012. --DR

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