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.
13

Huateng ‘Pony’ Ma

CEO, Tencent
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VCG via Getty Images

Huateng “Pony” Ma (ma is horse in Chinese, hence the nickname) may be the most soft-spoken billionaire tech entrepreneur in the world. The cofounder of Tencent, Ma quietly presides over one of China’s most dynamic companies. Tencent began as a messaging service but grew into China’s dominant mobile-game maker. Games were lucrative, but Tencent’s WeChat tool—which is how Chinese people talk, message, and pay—catapulted it into the cultural stratosphere. Tencent’s growth has been phenomenal: Revenues and profits have jumped an average of 44% annually for the past three years. One challenge? The Chinese government is cracking down on the addictive nature of Tencent’s games.

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