Vas Narasimhan, 39
Narasimhan, a trained physician and former McKinsey consultant, has plotted his career to have the largest possible impact on public health. Now at Novartis, the giant Swiss pharmaceutical company (No. 167 on the Global 500), he runs one of the industry’s largest drug development programs—overseeing 9,600 employees, 143 projects, 500 ongoing clinical trials and a multi-billion-dollar budget. Among the FDA approvals his shop has collected this year include one for a promising new heart-failure drug (Wall Street is also betting it’s a blockbuster). He’s also focused on using big data and technology to enhance medicine and human health.