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.

3

Marc Benioff

CEO, Salesforce
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Spencer Lowell for Fortune

The uninitiated observer of online software purveyor Salesforce would be forgiven for not knowing that Benioff is a businessman. He tends to speak foremost about causes like health care and education and oceans and equality. It’s such a long list, really, that it often takes Benioff a while to get around to discussing revenues and products and business strategy. But make no mistake: Business is one of Benioff’s passions, and by creating a new model for selling software he’s been able to build Salesforce into a fast-growing enterprise with nearly $10 billion in revenue—which helps the CEO focus on all those areas that need his attention. —Adam Lashinsky

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