Businessperson of the Year

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It starts with results. Each December, when we choose Fortunes Businessperson of the Year, we focus first on CEOs who are delivering the goods. Through an exhaustive screening process, we rank companies by 12- and 36-month increases in profits, revenues, and stock performance, then go deeper to include factors like return on capital. (We give more weight to the 12-month results to identify who’s on top today, but also include the 36-month figures to weed out those who may have just had a lucky year.) But it’s not only about the numbers. We lean toward CEOs with vision—those impacting the world beyond their companies. The 20 star executives that follow are doing nothing less than defining the future of business.

18

Aditya Puri

CEO, HDFC Bank Limited
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Dhiraj Singh — Bloomberg via Getty Images

Earlier this year, the Reserve Bank of India labeled HDFC Bank, India’s largest private bank by market capitalization, a “domestic systematically important bank”—in other words, “too big to fail.” Remarkably, HDFC has gotten that big (amassing more than 40 million customers) in just 23 years of existence. CEO Aditya Puri, now 66, has been in charge for all of those years, and it’s he who gets credit for turning HDFC into India’s most reliably profitable retail banking powerhouse. While many of the bank’s competitors have struggled, profits at HDFC have grown at a 20% annualized rate over the past three years. —Erika Fry

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