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.
6

Lisa Su

CEO, AMD
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Photograph by Sarah Lim for Fortune

The impressive turnaround that CEO Lisa Su has pulled off at Advanced Micro Devices continued to pay off big time in 2018. Though AMD’s share price has gone on a wild ride—it had tripled for the year at one point but was up only 77% by the end of October—the chipmaker’s sales and profits have been steadily increasing on the strength of the high-performance microprocessor lines Su first started planning five years ago. “The thing about our industry is, you don’t know when you make those decisions whether they’re going to be the right decisions or not,” Su tells Fortune. “We try to get more right than wrong.” Stumbles at rival Intel have also helped AMD claw back market share in PCs and, especially, servers—perhaps the most lucrative opportunity. But it’s too soon to say whether Su’s efforts and increased spending on R&D will grab “a little of the market or a lot,” according to Bernstein Research analyst Stacy Rasgon. Says Su: “I’m not taking a victory lap.”

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