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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Pat Gelsinger

CEO, VMWare
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Tony Avelar—Bloomberg via Getty Images

At his company’s annual customer conference in August, VMware CEO Pat Gelsinger, 57, was sporting what he called a “badass tattoo” showing off the name of the company he’s run since 2012. Turns out it was a gag, just a temporary tattoo, but Gelsinger’s accomplishments this year are anything but a joke. Fighting to keep the company’s virtualization apps relevant in an age of cloud computing, Gelsinger is focusing on helping customers improve security and manage apps and data across multiple cloud vendors. Revenue rose 13% in the first half of the year to $4.2 billion, while net income gained 144% to $1.6 billion. It’s fitting that after scaling such heights, the CEO this summer scaled Mount Kilimanjaro to raise money for a girls’ school in Kenya.

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