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 fifth annual list here. Read the 2019 edition of this list here.
RANK NAME TITLE AFFILIATION
1 The Students - Marjory Stoneman Douglas and other schools
2 Bill and Melinda Gates Cofounders Gates Foundation
3 The #MeToo Movement - -
4 Moon Jae-in President South Korea
5 Kenneth Frazier CEO Merck
6 Scott Gottlieb FDA commissioner -
7 Margarethe Vestager Commissioner for Competition European Union
8 Larry Fink CEO BlackRock
9 Gen. Joseph Dunford Chairman Joint Chiefs of Staff
10 Liu He Vice Premier China
11 Mary Barra CEO General Motors
12 Nick Saban Football coach University of Alabama
13 Emmanuel Macron President France
14 Tim Cook CEO Apple
15 Serena Williams Athlete -
16 Isabelle Kocher CEO Engie
17 Katie Bethell Executive director PL+US
18 Ryan Coogler Film director -
19 Huateng “Pony” Ma CEO Tencent
20 Indira Jaising Founder Lawyers Collective
21 Marc Benioff CEO Salesforce
22 The Gymnasts and Their Allies - -
23 Kathleen McLaughlin Chief sustainability officer Walmart
24 Mukesh Ambani Chairman and managing director Reliance Industries
25 Mick Cornett Former mayor Oklahoma City
26 Donald Hopkins Physician the Carter Center
27 Oprah Winfrey CEO OWN
28 Mitch Landrieu Mayor New Orleans
29 Jacinda Ardern Prime Minister New Zealand
30 Ma Jun Environmentalist China
31 West Virginia Teachers - -
32 Leymah Gbowee President Gbowee Peace Foundation
33 Jamie Dimon CEO JPMorgan Chase
34 Michael Sorrell President Paul Quinn College
35 Reese Witherspoon Actor/producer -
36 Daniel Servitje Montull CEO Grupo Bimbo
37 Izumi Nakamitsu Undersecretary general for disarmament United Nations
38 Bashar Masri Founder Rawabi
39 Leila de Lima Senator Philippines
40 Angela Nyambura Gichaga CEO Financing Alliance for Health
41 Timothy Keller Evangelical minister/author Redeemer City to City
42 Gwynne Shotwell President and chief operating officier SpaceX
43 Balkrishna Doshi Architect India
44 Feike Sijbesma CEO DSM
45 Kelly Chibale Scientist South Africa
46 Ana Botín Group executive chairman Banco Santander
47 Dina Meza Journalist PEN Honduras
48 Ridwan Kamil Mayor Bandung, Indonesia
49 Amy Gutmann President University of Pennsylvania
50 Ed Bastian CEO Delta Air Lines
19

Huateng “Pony” Ma

CEO, Tencent
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Paul Yeung—Bloomberg via Getty Images

Superlatives attach themselves to Pony Ma and Tencent, the Chinese technology juggernaut the 46-year-old entrepreneur cofounded and leads as CEO. Ma is China’s richest man, with a net worth north of $40 billion. His company’s valuation hovers near the half-a-­trillion-dollar mark. And Tencent’s WeChat messaging service recently crossed the 1-billion-account threshold, cementing its role as the electronic thread that stitches together the fabric of digital China. So central is WeChat to how Chinese people communicate that many believe it has become a more important ingredient to a smartphone than its operating system—enabling Tencent to occupy a powerful commercial and technological position without having to physically make phones.

A soft-spoken engineer, Ma is less well known in the West than the outspoken former-English-teacher leader of Alibaba, Jack Ma, who is no relation. Yet Pony Ma’s influence has begun to be felt as much globally as it already is in China. Tencent has been on an investment tear, pumping billions of dollars into the likes of Snapchat owner Snap, Tesla, and countless startups. Closer to home, WeChat Pay—money zapped via WeChat—vies with Alibaba for payment dominance in a smartphone-crazed country.

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