Industry CEOs Among ‘World’s Greatest Leaders’

New York – Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Haier Group’s Zhang Ruimin and Apple’s Tim Cook are among the world’s greatest living leaders, Fortune Magazine has declared.
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Jeff Bezos

New York – Amazon’s Jeff Bezos, Haier Group’s Zhang Ruimin and Apple’s Tim Cook are among the world’s greatest living leaders, Fortune Magazine has declared.

The publication’s inaugural list of “The World’s 50 Greatest Leaders” ranks Bezos 10th, behind the Dalai Lama; Ruimin 22nd, behind Angelina Joli; and Cook 33rd, just ahead of Pakistani teen activist and assassination target Malala Yousafzai.

The magazine’s April 7 cover story describes the Top 50 as “men and women who will inspire you — all of them energizing their followers and making the world better … in an era that feels starved for leadership.”

Bezos was described by Fortune as “an extremely rare combination of visionary and master builder — 20 years ago seeing something no one else could see and then turning it into the world’s No. 2 Most Admired Company (after Apple) on our list, with a recent market value of $174 billion. Prospective employees are still drawn to his vision; though he’s highly demanding, thousands aspire to work for him. That’s one way to know a great leader when you see one.”

Ruimin was cited for “his radical management innovations [that] transformed Haier from a small, failing, state-owned refrigerator maker into the world’s largest appliance brand” [by unit volume]. “He groups employees into small, self-managing teams that choose their own managers, compete for internal talent, and can earn big bonuses – unusual in the West and unheard-of in China,” Fortune noted.

For Cook, “Following Steve Jobs has arguably been the toughest corporate leadership assignment in decades, yet [he] has carried it off with mostly quiet aplomb. In 2½ years he has kept the parade of winning new products marching (the Retina display, new operating systems, the iPhone 5), and he is bringing in Burberry’s savior, Angela Ahrendts, to run Apple’s retail stores. That’s thinking different.”

Heading the Top 50 list is Pope Francis, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, Ford CEO Alan Mulally, Warren Buffett, Bill Clinton, National League for Democracy chair Aung San Suu Kyi, four-star Marine Corps General Joe Dunford, and U2 lead singer Bono.

Conversely, Fortune also introduced its first annual Leadership Infamy Awards, topped by Russian President Vladimir Putin, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Calif.), the board of JCPenney, Justin Bieber and Toronto Mayor Rob Ford.

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