News APP

NewsApp (Free)

Read news as it happens
Download NewsApp

Available on  gplay  » Business » World's greatest business leaders

World's greatest business leaders

Last updated on: March 21, 2014 16:06 IST

Image: Anand Mahindra
Photographs: WEF/Wikimedia Commons

Indian business honchos Anand Mahindra and Lakshmi Mittal are among the world's 50 greatest leaders, according to Fortune magazine.

"In an era that feels starved for leadership, we've found men and women who will inspire you -- some famous, others little known, all of them energizing their followers and making the world better," Fortune said ranking 50 greatest leaders from different fields across the world.

Take a look at the business leaders who are ranked among the ‘World’s 50 Greatest Leaders’…

World's greatest business leaders

Image: U.S. President Barack Obama as Mahindra & Mahindra Ltd. Managing Director Anand Mahindra watches during Obama's meeting with entrepreneurs in Mumbai.
Photographs: Rafiq Maqbool/Reuters

Anand Mahindra

Rank: 40 

“A third-generation corporate aristocrat, Mahindra has aggressively expanded the big conglomerate through acquisitions in autos, computer services, aeronautics,” Fortune said about the 58-year old chairman Anand Mahindra. 

Fortune credits the role of Mahindra is making the company one of the most sought-after employers.

Anand Mahindra started off his career in 1981 when he joined Mahindra Ugine Steel Co (MUSCO), a major producer of specialty steels, as Executive Assistant to the Finance Director.  

In 1989, he was appointed President and Deputy Managing Director of the company. At the young age of 36, he faced revolt from workers when asked to beef up productivity. 

However, the enraged workers finally gave into his demands and agreed to improve their efficiency.

He initiated a comprehensive change program to make the company an efficient and aggressive competitor in the new liberalised economic environment in India. He was finally appointed as the chairman of the board in 2012.

(Ranking: Fortune has ranked 50 greatest leaders from different fields. Business leaders are listed here.)


World's greatest business leaders

Image: Lakshmi Mittal
Photographs: Gonzalo Fuentes/Reuters

Lakshmi Mittal

Rank: 48

Lakshmi Mittal is the chairman and CEO of ArcelorMittal, the world’s largest steelmaking company.

Mittal owns 41 percent of ArcelorMittal and holds a 34 percent stake in the Queens Park Rangers F.C. football team. 

 He was also ranked as the 47th ‘most powerful person’ of in Forbes' "Most Powerful People" list for 2012. 

“Mittal created the world's largest steelmaker (MT) by pursuing a decades-long, impossibly audacious plan of consolidation -- working with governments, powerful labor unions, and other constituencies to rewrite the rules of the old steel industry in tough times,” says Fortune magazine.

Click NEXT to find out more about the greatest business leaders from across the globe…


World's greatest business leaders

Image: Ford Motor Co. CEO Alan Mulally poses next to a Ford vehicle during a gathering with members of the media at the Ford Conference Center in Dearborn, Michigan.
Photographs: Rebecca Cook/Reuters

Alan Mulally

Rank: 3

Fortune calls Alan Mulally, CEO, Ford Motor Co a ‘miracle worker’, who rescued the company from the brink of bankruptcy.

Ford was the only American major car manufacturer to avoid a bailout fund.

“After earning $7.2 billion of profit last year -- far more than General Motors (GM, Fortune 500) or Chrysler -- the company paid its 47,000 UAW workers a record $8,800 each in profit sharing,” Fortune said.


World's greatest business leaders

Image: Buffett reacts after taking a bite of a Dairy Queen vanilla orange ice cream bar.
Photographs: Rick Wilking/Reuters

Warren Buffett

Rank: 4

The 83-year-old CEO of Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett is hailed as ‘Oracle of Omaha’. 

Considered the most successful investor of the 20th century, is among the the world's richest people.

Warren Buffett made a fortune of about $37 million per day in 2013, according to Wealth-X, making him the billionaire who made the most money this year.

In 2012, American magazine Time named Buffett one of the most influential people in the world.

World's greatest business leaders

Image: Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos (R) and his wife MacKenzie.
Photographs: Stelios Varias/Reuters

Jeff Bezos

Rank: 10 

Fortune ranks 50-year-old Jeff Bezos, founder and CEO of, as a ‘visionary’ and ‘master builder’.

In 1994, he quit a high paying job to start his own venture in the rapidly growing Internet medium.

Under his leadership, has become the largest online retailer. In 2013, Bezos purchased The Washington Post newspaper.

A person with diverse interests, Bezos has spent $42 million to fund a Clock of the Long Now, designed to last 10,000 years.

Fascinated by space travel, Bezos founded Blue Origin, a human spaceflight startup company in 2000, to make it affordable for people to travel to space.

World's greatest business leaders

Photographs: Stelios Varias/Reuters

Christine Lagarde

Rank: 13 

Christine Lagarde, 50, became the managing director of the International Monetary Fund in July 2011.

She has held several ministerial posts in the French government.

Lagarde became the first woman chairman of the international law firm Baker & McKenzie.

The Financial Times ranked her the best Minister of Finance in the Eurozone in 2009.

“Lagarde combines her tough prescription of austerity with an argument that reforms will help the poor and unemployed above all -- a balance that has increased acceptance of her message,” says Fortune.


World's greatest business leaders

Image: Paul Polman, Chief Executive Officer, Unilever, of Britain, attends a session at the World Economic Forum (WEF) in Davos,
Photographs: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Paul Polman

Rank: 14 

The 57-year-old CEO of Unilever,Paul Polman, has strong leadership skills and big ambitions.

He was appointed as CEO on 1 January 2009.

 Polman started his career as a as a Cost Analyst in Procter & Gamble. He worked with P&G for 27 years, becoming Managing Director of P&G UK in 1995.

“With rare skill, Polman has combined noble corporate goals with savvy management in his five years as CEO,” says Fortune.


World's greatest business leaders

Image: Jack Ma, chairman and founder of China's largest business-to-business Web marketplace
Photographs: Christian Hartmann/Reuters

Jack Ma

Rank: 16

Executive chairman of Alibaba Group, the 49-year old Jack Ma has built Alibaba into the world's largest online business.

It has 100 million shoppers a day and higher revenues than Amazon and eBay combined, says Fortune.

He was named the Financial Times' 2013 Person of the Year.

World's greatest business leaders

Image: Chairman and CEO of American Express Company Kenneth Chenault.
Photographs: Mike Segar/Reuters

Ken Chenault

Rank: 18

Ken Chenault, 62, has been the CEO and Chairman of American Express since 2001.

Fortune appreciates Chenault as ‘one of most accomplished leader in global finance’. Despite numerous crises plaguing the industry, Chenault has maintained American Express operations steadily.

He is the third African-American CEO of a Fortune 500 company.

In 1995, Ebony ranked him as one of 50 ‘living pioneers’ in the African-American community.

World's greatest business leaders

Image: Zhang Ruimin
Photographs: Courtesy, Haier Group

Zhang Ruimin

Rank: 22

CEO of Haier Group, 65-year-old Zhang Ruimin is hailed for turning around a bankrupt refrigerator manufacturer into one of the world’s biggest appliance brands. 

He was ranked among the ‘World’s 50 Most Respected Business Leaders’ by The Financial Times in 2005.

According to Fortune, he lets employees form small groups, allows them to choose their own managers. The employees then compete with each other and win big bonuses. 

World's greatest business leaders

Image: Carlos Ghosn, Chairman and CEO of Renault-Nissan Alliance at the Nissan headquarters in Yokohama, south of Tokyo.
Photographs: Yuriko Nakao/Reuters

Carlos Ghosn

Rank: 23

One of the most dedicated executives, Carlos Ghosn is also Chairman and CEO of the Renault-Nissan Alliance.

Turning around the bankrupt Nissan, earned him the title of ‘Mr. Fix It’.

"One of the most dramatic turnarounds in the history of the modern corporation," says McKinsey on his revival of Nissan.

Forbes magazine called "the hardest-working man in the brutally competitive global car business."

Japanese media also calls him ‘Seven-Eleven’ as he starts work early in the morning and continues till late at night.


World's greatest business leaders

Image: Fred Smith
Photographs: Reuters

Fred Smith

Rank: 26

Frederick W. Smith is credited for creating a world-changing industry.

As chairman and chief executive officer of FedEx Corporation, a $45-billion global transportation, business services and logistics company, 69-year-old Smith has done a remarkable job.

Smith is responsible for providing strategic direction for all FedEx Corporation operating companies. 

FedEx serves more than 220 countries and over 300,000 employees handle more than 10 million shipments each day worldwide.

World's greatest business leaders

Image: Starbucks Chief Executive Howard Schultz attends a news conference in Tokyo.
Photographs: Yuriko Nakao/Reuters

Howard Schultz

Rank: 29

Howard Schultz’s rise from a poor family to becoming the the chairman and CEO of Starbucks is inspirational.

He started off his career as a salesperson for Xerox Corporation. Later he joined the marketing department of Starbucks. 

Under Schultz’s leadership, Starbucks opened 20,000 shops worldwide. Today he is among world’s highest paid CEOs as well.
Schultz co-founded an investment group Maveron in 1998.

World's greatest business leaders

Image: Ellen Kullman
Photographs: Reuters

Ellen Kullman

Rank: 31

Ellen Kullman, 58, began her business career at General Electric and joined DuPont in 1988 as marketing manager.

She took charge as CEO from January 1, 2009, becoming the first woman to lead the 212-year-old company.

Fortune magazine named Kullman fifteenth in its list of the world's fifty most powerful women for 2008 and The Wall Street Journal named her eighth on its 2008 list of ‘Women to Watch’. 

World's greatest business leaders

Image: Tim Cook
Photographs: Reuters

Tim Cook

Rank: 33

The 53-year-old CEO of Apple, Tim Cook is also the highest paid CEO in the world with a package of $378 million. 

Cook joined Apple in March 1998 as SVP of Worldwide Operations and also served as EVP of Worldwide Sales and Operations.

He took over from Steve Jobs as the CEO of Apple on August 24, 2011.

He has kept “the parade of winning new products marching (the Retina display, new operating systems, the iPhone 5),” says Fortune.

World's greatest business leaders

Image: Strive Masiyiwa
Photographs: Courtesy, Econet Wireless.

Strive Masiyiwa

Rank: 35

Strive Masiyiwa is the founder and chairman, of global telecommunications group, Econet Wireless.

One of Africa's most influential figures, Masiyiwa fought and won a key court battle to open Zimbabwe's telecom industry to private investment, says Fortune. 

World's greatest business leaders

Image: Susan Wojcicki
Photographs: Courtesy, Google

Susan Wojcicki

Rank: 42 

Susan D Wojcicki si the CEO of YouTube. 

Interestingly, Google founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin set up office in Susan's garage in Menlo Park.

Wojcicki is regarded as 'the most important person in advertising’.
Forbes magazine had ranked her among The World's 100 Most Powerful Women in 2013. She was also listed among the World's 100 Most Powerful Women in Business by Fortune magazine.

Wojcicki played a key role in guiding the evolution of the company's hugely successful advertising and commerce platforms, says Fortune

World's greatest business leaders

Image: Gail Kelly
Photographs: Reuters

Gail Kelly

The 57-year-old Gail Kelly is the chief executive officer of Westpac, one of Australia's big four banks. 

In 2002, she became the first female CEO of a major Australian bank. 

“Her six-year tenure as CEO has brought a 70 per cent return to WestPac (WBK) shareholders -- a remarkable feat given the challenges,” says Fortune.