Delos "Toby" Cosgrove

Photograph by Mackenzie Stroh for Fortune
  • Title
  • Company
    Cleveland Clinic

When Toby Cosgrove told his med school professors he wanted to become a heart surgeon, they scoffed. That was for the A-team, and Cosgrove, due largely to undiagnosed dyslexia, was at the bottom of his class. He ignored them, became a renowned surgeon, and was soon leading the Cleveland Clinic’s celebrated cardiac unit. When the hospital made him CEO in 2004, he again had doubters: Too little business experience! Too nice! But under Cosgrove, the hospital—where doctors work on salary so there’s no incentive for unnecessary procedures—has enjoyed a stellar reputation and expanded abroad. It has even offered the unthinkable: same-day appointments. Last year 1.3 million patients (nearly everyone who asked) got one. Doubters beware.