World's Greatest Leaders

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In business, government, philanthropy and the arts, and all over the globe, these men and women are transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same. Read more about our third annual list here.
RANK NAME TITLE AFFILIATION AGE
1 Jeff Bezos CEO Amazon 52
2 Angela Merkel Chancellor Germany 61
3 Aung San Suu Kyi Leader National League for Democracy 70
4 Pope Francis Pontiff Roman Catholic Church 79
5 Tim Cook CEO Apple 55
6 John Legend Recording artist and activist The Show Me Campaign 37
7 Christiana Figueres Executive Secretary UN Framework Convention on Climate Change 59
8 Paul Ryan Speaker U.S. House of Representatives 46
9 Ruth Bader Ginsburg Associate Justice U.S. Supreme Court 83
10 Sheikh Hasina Prime Minister Bangladesh 68
11 Nick Saban Head football coach The University of Alabama 64
12 Huateng “Pony” Ma Chairman and CEO Tencent 45
13 Sergio Moro Federal Judge Brazil 42
14 Bono Lead singer, Co-founder U2, One 55
15 Stephen Curry and Steve Kerr Point guard, head coach Golden State Warriors -
16 Bryan Stevenson Founder Equal Justice Initiative 56
17 Nikki Haley Governor South Carolina 44
18 Lin-Manuel Miranda Composer, lyricist, author "Hamilton" 36
19 Marvin Ellison CEO J.C. Penney 51
20 Reshma Saujani Founder and CEO Girls Who Code 40
21 Larry Fink CEO BlackRock 63
22 Scott Kelly and Mikhail Kornienko Crew members International Space Station -
23 David Miliband CEO International Rescue Committee 50
24 Anna Maria Chávez CEO Girl Scouts of the USA 48
25 Carla Hayden Nominee Library of Congress 63
26 Maurizio Macri President Argentina 57
27 Alicia Garza, Patrisse Cullors, and Opal Tometi Co-founders Black Lives Matter -
28 Chai Jing Freelance journalist China 40
29 Moncef Slaoui Chairman of Vaccines GlaxoSmithKline 55
30 John Oliver Host and Executive Producer "Last Week Tonight" 38
31 Marc Edwards Professor Virginia Tech 51
32 Arthur Brooks President American Enterprise Institute 51
33 Rosie Batty Founder Luke Batty Foundation 54
34 Kristen Griest and Shaye Haver Rangers U.S. Army -
35 Denis Mukwege Founder Panzi Hospital 61
36 Christine Lagarde Managing Director IMF 60
37 Marc Benioff CEO Salesforce 51
38 Gina Raimondo Governor Rhode Island 44
39 Amina Mohammed Minister of Environment Nigeria 54
40 Domenico Lucano Mayor Riace, Italy 58
41 Melinda Gates and Susan Desmond-Hellmann Co-chair, CEO Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation -
42 Arvind Kejriwal Chief Minister New Delhi 47
43 Jorge Ramos Journalist Univision 58
44 Michael Froman U.S. Trade Representative Executive Office of the President 53
45 Mina Guli CEO Thirst 45
46 Ramón Mendéz Head of Climate Change Policy Uruguay 55
47 Bright Simons President, Founder Mpedigree 34
48 Justin Trudeau Prime Minister Canada 44
49 Clare Rewcastle Brown Editor and Founder Sarawak Report 56
50 Tshering Tobgay Prime Minister Bhutan 50
7

Christiana Figueres

Executive Secretary, UN Framework Convention on Climate Change, 59
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Figueres, center, talkd to the press while touring the conference room at the COP21 conference center in Le Bourget, outside Paris.
Laurent Cipriani — AP

If Mother Nature held auditions for a guardian, Figueres, 59, would be first in line. The daughter of a Costa Rican President who led a landmark revolution in 1948, Figueres became the United Nations climate-change chief in 2010, tasked with nothing less than halting the potentially catastrophic effects of global warming. For six years she worked to convince governments that a binding agreement on limiting carbon emissions and slowing fossil fuel-led growth was in the world’s best interest.

 

Figueres’s efforts culminated in December at the Paris climate conference, where 195 countries signed a deal committing them to limit worldwide temperature increases to no more than 2° C above pre-industrial levels, a critical if hard-to-attain benchmark. “To bring all countries together on something everyone has been fighting on for decades, and to get them to agree, was brilliant,” says Jean Krasno, a political science lecturer at City College of New York and the author of The United Nations: Confronting the Challenges of a Global Society. Figueres is stepping down in July, and many believe she could become the first woman to be named UN Secretary-General.

VIDEO

How Christiana Figueres Is Spearheading Climate Change Policy at the UN

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