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.

9

Marillyn Hewson

CEO, Lockheed Martin
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Franco Vogt—The Forbes Collectio Contour by Getty Images

If there was one executive determined not to let politics get in the way of business this year, it was Lockheed Martin CEO Marillyn Hewson. She deftly deflected a string of tweet attacks from President Trump—the Commander-in-Chief of Lockheed’s largest customer—by vowing to cut the cost of the company’s new F-35 fighter jets and to create 1,800 U.S. jobs. Hewson then reaped the benefits of Trump’s $110 billion arms deal with Saudi Arabia, securing contracts worth a quarter of that total. The company’s sales are on track to grow 7% in 2017. (Hewson also remained on Trump’s now-disbanded manufacturing council when many of her peers resigned this summer.) Lockheed stockholders, meanwhile, have been well rewarded, earning an 81% total return over the past three years and 28% so far in 2017. —Jen Wieczner

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