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.

14

Shantanu Narayen

CEO, Adobe Systems
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Courtesy of Adobe

Adobe has long had a knack for churning out household-name products: It created the PDF, Photoshop, Adobe Flash, and Acrobat. But Shantanu Narayen has accomplished the rare feat of propelling an already successful tech company into the stratosphere. The India-born exec took the top job the year before the financial crisis and quickly shifted the company away from selling CDs in boxes toward a subscription model integrated with the cloud—a then-controversial move now considered to be one of the most successful cloud transformations to date. Adobe has also fashioned itself as a digital marketing powerhouse, doubling down on data analytics. The result? Revenue was up 25% through the first three quarters of 2017, and the stock is up 74% this year alone. —Anne VanderMey

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