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 fourth annual list here.
RANK NAME TITLE AFFILIATION
1 Theo Epstein President, Baseball Operations Chicago Cubs
2 Jack Ma Executive Chairman Alibaba Group
3 Pope Francis Head of the Roman Catholic Church -
4 Melinda Gates Cochair Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation
5 Jeff Bezos Founder and CEO Amazon
6 Ava DuVernay Film Director and Screenwriter -
7 H.R. McMaster U.S. National Security Adviser -
8 Tsai Ing-Wen President Taiwan
9 John McCain U.S Senator Arizona
10 Angela Merkel Chancellor Germany
11 LeBron James Small Forward Cleveland Cavaliers
12 John Kasich Governor Ohio
13 John Delaney U.S. Representative Maryland
14 Helle Thorning-Schmidt CEO Save the Children International
15 Katharine Hayhoe Director, Climate Science Center TexasTech
16 Bryan Stevenson Executive Director Equal Justice Initiative
17 Janet Yellen Chair Federal Reserve
18 Brian Chesky CEO and Head of Community Airbnb
19 Samantha Bee Host and Executive Producer "Full Frontal"
20 Paul Polman CEO Unilever
21 John Roberts Chief Justice U.S. Supreme Court
22 Janeé Harteau Chief of Police Minneapolis
23 Joe Biden Former U.S. Vice President -
24 Zhang Ruimin CEO Haier Group
25 Carmen Aristegui Host and Reporter Aristegui Noticias
26 Arundhati Bhattacharya Chairman State Bank of India
27 Shakira Singer, Songwriter, and Producer -
28 Raj Panjabi CEO Last Mile Health
29 Svetlana Gannushkina Founder Citizens Assistance Committee
30 Elon Musk CEO Tesla and SpaceX
31 Justin Trudeau Prime Minister Canada
32 Rebecca Richards-Kortum Professor Rice University
33 Strive Masiyiwa Chairman Econet Wireless Group
34 Tamika Mallory, Linda Sarsour, Bob Bland, and Carmen Perez National Cochairs The Women's March on Washington
35 Diana Natalicio President University of Texas at El Paso
36 Ohood Al Roumi Minister of Happiness United Arab Emirates
37 Fazle Abed CEO BRAC
38 Haruno Yoshida President BT Japan
39 Jamie Dimon CEO JPMorgan Chase
40 Yuri Milner Founder DST Global
41 Randall Stephenson Chairman and CEO AT&T
42 Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie Novelist and Essayist -
43 Marc Benioff CEO and Chairman Salesforce
44 Frank Mugisha Executive Director Sexual Minorities Uganda
45 Dalia Grybauskaitė President Lithuania
46 Chance the Rapper Musician and Activist -
47 Hu Shuli Editor-in-Chief Caixin Media
48 Sadiq Khan Mayor London
49 Carlos Rodriguez-Pastor CEO Intercorp
50 Lisa Su CEO Advanced Micro Devices
30

Elon Musk

CEO, Tesla and SpaceX
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Space X CEO Elon Musk, center, checks out the HYPERXITE University of California, Irvine pod during the SpaceX Hyperloop competition in Hawthorne, California on January 29, 2017.
Gene Blevins — AFP/Getty Images

Visionary, ideologue, risk-taker: None of these shorthand labels quite capture who Elon Musk is. The billionaire entrepreneur is running two companies he cofounded that together employ 35,000 people. His aims are stratospheric. Tesla, the automaker and sustainable-energy company that acquired SolarCity in 2016, is Musk’s pathway to a carbon-­emissions-free world. (The batteries he’s beginning to crank out at Tesla’s “Gigafactory” in Nevada are another element of that strategy.) SpaceX, an aerospace startup, was founded to lower the cost of space transportation and ultimately enable the colonization of Mars.

 

Musk, who has admitted to keeping a sleeping bag near a production line at Tesla’s factory in Fremont, Calif., has added another problem to his to-do list—soul-crushing traffic. His new business, the Boring Co., aims to find a way to quickly and cost-effectively dig networks of tunnels for vehicles and high-speed trains such as the Hyperloop, an idea he floated in 2013 that universities and startups are actively trying to develop.

 

Musk’s aura as a technocratic seer has taken some lumps over the past couple of years. Tesla—experiencing production delays and falling short of delivery goals—hasn’t always lived up to the bullish expectations of analysts and its legion of passionate fans. And the Tesla/SolarCity merger drew fire from critics who question whether the acquisition will benefit shareholders. But many still look to him as one of the tech world’s foremost civic-minded voices. Musk advises President Trump as part of the Strategic and Policy Forum.

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