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.
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Michelle Gass

CEO, Kohl's
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Photograph by Rebecca Greenfield for Fortune

As e-commerce began making department stores passé, chains like Macy’s, J.C. Penney, and Sears tried to stop the bleeding by closing hundreds of locations. Wisconsin-based Kohl’s, in contrast, kept stores open while racing to upgrade its own technology. Today it’s recognized as one of retail’s savviest survivors—its stock has nearly doubled in the past year. Gass, a Starbucks veteran who helped make “frappuccino” a household word, has been CEO only since May. But during her five years at Kohl’s, she engineered many of its most successful innovations, including big bets on Under Armour and other activewear brands. Her latest experiment: a risky but revolutionary partnership with Amazon.

 

Read: Kohl’s Cracks the Retail Code.

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