World's Greatest Leaders

  • E-mail
  • Tweet
  • Facebook
  • Linkedin
List View
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
1

Theo Epstein

President, Baseball Operations, Chicago Cubs
  • E-mail
  • Tweet
  • Facebook
  • Linkedin
Theo Epstein walks across Wrigley Field after a news conference.
Charles Rex Arbogast—AP

In the fall of 2016, as partisan distrust and division reached abysmal depths, fascination with the Chicago Cubs became that all-too-rare phenomenon that united America. As the Cubs fought to end a 108-year championship drought, television ratings for the World Series soared by almost 50%. Even casual fans who didn’t know a bunt from a beanball stayed up late to watch the excruciating extra-inning Game 7 that turned baseball’s most famous lovable losers into winners at last.

 

The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. The team thrived under the affable patience of owner Tom Ricketts, and, later, under the innovative eccentricity of manager Joe Maddon. But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox.

 

In his book The Cubs Way, Sports Illustrated senior baseball writer Tom Verducci describes that evolution, showing how a deeper understanding of important human qualities among his players—the character, discipline and chemistry that turn skilled athletes into leaders—enabled Epstein to engineer one of the most remarkable turnarounds in sports. Click here to read more about the transformation.

Sign In

Get

Thank you for your interest in licensing Fortune content. Please find information on various licensing contacts below and choose the one that best suits your needs:

  • 1. To license Fortune articles, excerpts, or headlines for republication in various media (including books, eBooks, film, web, newsletters, newspapers, magazines and others), please email syndication@timeinc.com.
  • 2. To license a Fortune cover, order reprint or e-print copies of an article or cover, or license an accolade, please contact PARS International at www.timeincreprints.com.
  • 3. To license text only photocopies of Fortunearticles as print or digital handouts in academic settings, or in academic coursepacks, please contact the Copyright Clearance Center at www.copyright.com