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
2

Jack Ma

Executive Chairman, Alibaba Group
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Founder and Executive Chairman of Alibaba Group Jack Ma attends the opening ceremony of the third annual World Internet Conference in Wuzhen town of Jiaxing, Zhejiang province, China.
Aly Song—Reuters

Alibaba, a sprawling and murkily understood digital conglomerate built around e-commerce, has made Jack Ma one of the richest men in China, with a fortune valued at nearly $30 billion. And that success has rocketed him to prominence as arguably the first Chinese executive who’s an easily recognizable figure on the global stage.

 

What’s more, Ma is using his new platform in unexpected, invigorating ways, positioning himself as a champion of both free trade and philanthropy—and arguing that open digital marketplaces like Alibaba’s can power the world’s economy by enabling small businesses to reach an ever-expanding pool of customers. That’s the premise that emboldened Ma to promise then-President-elect Donald Trump during a sit-down in January that Alibaba would help create 1 million jobs in the U.S. over five years.

 

To realize his vision, Ma has urged the lowering of trade barriers while proving to be a surprisingly warm, optimistic, and effective diplomat on behalf of capitalism—one known to disarm visitors by greeting them wearing sandals and Buddhist prayer beads.

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