Businessperson of the Year

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We start with results. Each December, when we choose Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year, we run the numbers, weighing 10 financial metrics including 12-month and 36-month increases in profits and revenue (we use a three-year window to eliminate any companies that post a great year following a slump). We also weight stock performance and total shareholder returns over the same period. Only then do we factor in those intangibles that separate so-so CEOs from the standouts—things like business influence, strategic vision, and the impact of their leadership. The result? Twenty businesspeople who delivered.
16

Dan Schulman

CEO, PayPal
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Photograph by Robyn Twomey for Fortune

Impressive market share. Conspicuous pricing power. Headroom for days. Google, Netfl ix, Amazon? No—Pay Pal. Schulman ascended to the payment processor’s top job following its split from eBay in 2014. Since then he’s been moving aggressively to put PayPal in front of every wallet-toting customer on the planet. A recent partnership with Walmart placed the company in the checkout aisles of America’s richest retailer, while his $2.2 billion acquisition of Sweden’s iZettle—PayPal’s largest-ever purchase—gave PayPal solid footing among European merchants. At the same time, the company’s 2013 deal to buy Venmo owner Braintree, which gave PayPal access to a new generation of U.S. customers, continues to pay dividends. Schulman, who sits on the boards of Teach for America and Autism Speaks, has in recent years not shied away from politics, notably canceling a 2016 North Carolina expansion after that state passed a restrictive bathroom-use law.

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