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.

15

Phebe Novakovic

CEO, General Dynamics
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Paul Morigi — Getty Images for Ovation

Though her company is best known for making tanks and submarines, Novakovic has positioned General Dynamics to help the government beyond just the Pentagon modernize its technology. A case in point: GD just scored a massive $455 million contract to provide cloud computing and call-center services to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to help it run Obamacare and Medicare programs. An acquisition this year also bolstered the defense company’s cybersecurity capabilities, helping it win new IT business with the military. Investors seem to like the direction: GD’s stock has returned 18% year to date. Jen Wieczner

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