Steve Schaefer , FORBES STAFF
They are our best and brightest: citizens of the world who leverage technology, finance and sheer brainpower to upend entire sectors and transform the everyday lives of billions. To compile our list of the world’s boldest business leaders we started by screening hundreds of companies for growth, innovation and global presence. We only considered for-profit entities with a market value of more than $1 billion. Although we sought balance in terms of industries and geography, inclusion was mostly determined, in the end, by the brilliance of their ideas and the audacity of their ambition.
Marc Benioff, 51
Founder, CEO, Salesforce.com CRM +0.18%
has upended the software business with its ubiquitous customer relationship software. Revenues, which were $6.7 billion in 2015, continue to grow at 30% annual clip.
“What we’re using today will be obsolete in a few years. The past is never the future.” Aug. 8, 2011
Jeff Bezos, 52
Founder, CEO, Amazon.com AMZN +0.35%
First books, then retail. Now movies and data farms. Next : drones and grocery delivery. Bezos seems to remake an industry nearly every year, and Amazon has global sales of nearly $110 billion.
“We are comfortable planting seeds and waiting for them to grow into trees.” Apr. 23, 2012
Rahul Bhatia, 55
Brought the discount airline model to the developing world, supersized it and made it profitable. IndiGo is now India’s largest and most profitable carrier, with 29 million passengers in 2015, or 2 in 5 domestic fliers. Recently expanded to Dubai, Singapore, Bangkok, Kathmandu and Muscat.
“We keep asking ourselves: What other cost can we remove without losing a single customer? This is our religion, and it serves us well.” Oct. 20, 2014
Sara Blakely, 45
In just over a decade Spanx has become a byword for shapewear in the same way Kleenex is for tissues, spawning dozens of competitors and copycats. Blakely still owns 100% of the brand, which had estimated sales of $400 million last year, ships to 61 countries and is rolling out its own brick-and-mortar network (14 stores and counting).
“I’m game for anything. The company has to pull me back.” Mar. 26, 2012
Katrine Bosley, 47
CEO, Editas Medicine
Bosley is spearheading the push to turn CRISPR, a revolutionary gene-editing technology that has been called a word processor for DNA because of its low cost and ease of use, into new medicines. Its first treatment, soon to be tested in humans, is for Leber’s congenital amaurosis, a rare inherited eye disease. It is also developing cancer-killing cells with Juno Therapeutics of Seattle, Wash. After a successful IPO earlier this year, the company is already worth some $1.5 billion.
Brian Chesky, 34
Cofounder, CEO, Airbnb
The first smash hit of the share economy, Airbnb has provided beds for more than
60 million since 2008. The company offers accommodations in 34,000 cities in 190 countries, including Cuba.
“People providing these services in many ways are entrepreneurs or micro-entrepreneurs. They’re more independent, more liberated, a little more economically empowered.”