Businessperson of the Year

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How does one choose a Businessperson of the Year? We think you have to start with the basics: Is the top dog delivering results? To answer that question, Fortune’s data guru, Scott DeCarlo, constructed an exacting screen. It parses and ranks companies by 12- and 36-month increases in profits, revenues, and stock performance, and factors in return on capital and debt. (We give the 12-month results more weight to capture who’s killing it today but also include the 36-month figures to eliminate those who had one lucky year.) Then, of course, come the intangibles: Is the CEO influencing business? Taking bold, visionary steps? The list that follows reveal star executives with wildly varying styles and approaches, but one thing in common: They deliver, big-time. By: Scott Cendrowski, Geoff Colvin, Laura Entis, Adam Lashinsky, Clifton Leaf, Michal Lev-Ram, Leena Rao, Jonathan Vanian, Nicholas Varchaver, Phil Wahba, and Jen Wieczner

1 Mark Zuckerberg CEO Facebook
2 Jeff Bezos CEO Amazon
3 Mary Dillon CEO Ulta Beauty
4 Larry Page CEO Alphabet
5 Satya Nadella CEO Microsoft
6 Brad Smith CEO Intuit
7 Jen Hsun Huang CEO Nvidia
8 Cheng Wei CEO Didi Chuxing
9 Rodney Sacks CEO Monster Beverage
10 Jack Ma Executive Chairman Alibaba
11 Tim Cook CEO Apple
12 Mary Barra CEO General Motors
13 Reed Hastings CEO Netflix
14 Delos “Toby” Cosgrove CEO Cleveland Clinic
15 Travis Kalanick CEO Uber
16 Wang Jianlin Chairman Dalian Wanda Group
17 Barbara Rentler CEO Ross Stores
18 Pony Ma CEO TenCent
19 Larry Fink CEO BlackRock
20 Oscar Munoz CEO United Continental
21 Robert Martin CEO Thor Industries
22 Robert Iger CEO Disney
23 Andrew Wilson CEO Electronic Arts
24 Mark Parker CEO Nike
25 Walter Bettinger CEO Charles Schwab
26 Pablo Isla CEO Inditex
27 Susan Cameron CEO Reynolds American
28 Anders Runevad CEO Vestas Wind Systems
29 Howard Schultz CEO Starbucks
30 Guibin Zhao CEO Nexteer Automotive
31 Phebe Novakovic CEO General Dynamics
32 Mark Dunkerly CEO Hawaiian Airlines
33 Margaret Keane CEO Synchrony Financial
34 Ajita Rajendra CEO A.O. Smith
35 Robert Greenberg CEO Skechers
36 Aditya Puri Managing Director HDFC Bank
37 Kevin Plank CEO Under Armour
38 Lars Sorensen CEO Novo Nordisk
39 Bradley Tilden CEO Alaska Air
40 Ajay Banga CEO Mastercard
41 Michael Neidorff CEO Centene
42 Michael Mussallem CEO Edwards Lifesciences
43 Masahiro Otake CEO Koito Manufacturing
44 Gary Guthart CEO Intuitive Surgical
45 Vernon Nagel CEO Acuity Brands
46 Henrik Ehrnrooth CEO KONE
47 Yasuyuki Yoshinaga CEO Fuji Heavy Industries
48 Daniel Schulman CEO PayPal
49 Paul Saville CEO NVR
50 Thierry Breton CEO Atos SE

Oscar Munoz

CEO, United Continental
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Photograph by Saverio Truglia for Fortune

Oscar Munoz suffered a major heart attack on his 38th day as CEO of United Continental in October 2015. It marked the start of a series of medical trials that, on and off, kept him sidelined for six of his first seven months at United. On Jan. 5, his birthday, Munoz received a heart transplant in an 11-hour operation and then returned to the job after an extraordinarily brief recovery of just over two months. In fact, Munoz is one of the very few CEOs of a major company to ever continue in the top job after receiving a heart transplant. “This is the craziest human-interest story ever,” says Robert Milton, who joined the United board in March at Munoz’s behest and now serves as chairman. “I took the job in part because I wanted this guy to win.”


Munoz has done more than survive. In his short tenure so far, he has ended years of labor strife by reaching new deals with the company’s four major unions, recruited away top talent from the airline’s rivals, and boosted United’s on-time arrivals. And Wall Street has taken notice: As of early November, United’s stock price had soared 44% in four months—besting fellow mega-carriers American (37%) and Delta (17%). Indeed, a comeback at United promises to substantially shift the balance of power in the $700 billion global airlines industry.


Excerpted from “A Miracle Comeback At United,” by Shawn Tully.

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