Ali Parsa – Creating Babylon’s AI-enabled digital healthcare as “the biggest doctor’s brain in the world”
Ali Parsa is founder and CEO of Babylon, the revolutionary artificial intelligence and digital health company. Babylon’s mission is "to put an accessible and affordable health service in the hands of every person on Earth."
Andy Puddicombe – The English-born Buddhist monk who created Headspace, the world's leading mindfulness business
Headspace was created with one mission in mind: to improve the health and happiness of the world. Launched in 2010, it was one of the first meditation apps, and now reaches more than 65 million users in 190 countries. It is committed to advancing the field of mindfulness through clinically-validated research
Angela Cretu – Leading a revolution in women's beauty by women
"We believe in a better world for women, which is a better world for all. We believe everyone is equal and we champion gender equality. We speak up and speak out on issues that matter to our communities; supporting causes that help women’s health and wellbeing."
Anne Wojcicki – Decoding the human genome and recoding the future of personalised healthcare with 23andMe
Anne Wójcicki went from Wall Street analyst who realised that data was the future of healthcare, to healthcare entrepreneur who championing consumer DNA analysis to the point where personalised medicines are now possible. Challenging business models and industry regulation, she is transforming the future of healthcare, and helping us live longer healthier lives.
Bernard Arnault – Creating LVMH as the world’s largest luxury-goods company, from Dior handbags to Dom Pérignon champagne
LVMH, from Christian Dior to over 70 luxury brands, including Louis Vuitton and Givenchy, Sephora and Tiffany, has multiplied 20 times in market value under the leadership of Bernard Arnault
Bob Iger – The Disney CEO's ride of a lifetime, from weather presenter to transformational leader.
“Don’t be in the business of playing it safe. Be in the business of creating possibilities for greatness” in his autobiography, A Ride of a Lifetime, in which he describes his career in Disney, from weather presenter to transformative CEO.
Cristina Junqueira – Launching Nubank, Latin America's digital bank for the unbanked, and particularly for women
Nubank is the leading fintech company in Latin America and the largest independent "neobank" in the world, with more than 40 million customers. Its first product, launched in 2014, was a no-fee credit card fully managed by a mobile app. Recently, Nubank was ranked as the most innovative company in Latin America.
Daniel Ek – Spotify's founder says he's an introvert, but you don’t need to be a superhero to be an effective leader
It’s easy to fall into the trap of thinking that leaders, particularly CEOs, need to be extraordinary people. We have images of victorious leaders mounting the barricades to encourage their followers to rise up and follow them. We have hundreds of leadership books focused on how to be a great visionary and storyteller, all round inspiring person. But we don’t all have that personality, or need it.
Devi Shetty – The Indian heart surgeon who created accessible healthcare for millions of people across emerging countries
Devid Shetty was inspired by his early career caring for Mother Teresa. He has been call the Henry Ford of heart surgery. He created Narayana Health which has become one of the largest hospital groups with 22 hospitals, 6 heart centres, over 30 medical specialities with 2.6 million patients treated every year from 78 countries.
Eliud Kipchoge – No human is limited, says the double Olympic marathon champion, and first man to run under 2 hours
The humble Kenyan, the first man to run himself two hours for the marathon says that “no human is limited” and, despite his Olympic gold medals and world records, sets himself much more audacious goals.
Elon Musk – He used his $180m from Paypal to transform the future of mobility, space travel and more
Musk’s audacious mindset launched him on trajectory to the stars, creating Tesla with a mission to escape fossil fuels, and SpaceX to create new civilisations. Add the Boring Company to escape urban congestion, and Hyperloop to speed up trains, and Neuralink to connect AI with humanity. Not bad for a PhD student who dropped out of Stanford after 2 days.
Emily Weiss – She turned her online blog into Glossier, the cult beauty brand for the Instagram generation
The young Vogue columnist turned her social media followers into a community of beauty lovers, and the world’s fastest growing C2C cosmetics business.
Emmanuel Faber – Change maker, rock climber, and transformational, sustainable CEO of Danone
Not every CEO story ends well. After 24 years in Danone, most recently as CEO, Faber parted company after challenging his investors about the need to rebalance short term results in pursuit of longer term transformation. Maybe he didn't quite get it right, but he is still admired as one of the world's most inspiring sustainable leaders - transforming Danone into a health business, a B Corporation, and leading the way for many others across the world to make a similar change.
Eren Bali – Turkish education and healthcare entrepreneur who founded Udemy and Carbon Health
Bali is the founder of Udemy, an online education platform with 150,000 courses ranging from how to win at online poker to principles of quantum mechanics. However that's not enough for Bali, who is also founder of Carbon Health which is a modern, tech-enabled omni-channel healthcare provider. Both organisations have thrived during the pandemic.
Eric Yuan – The Zoom founder who says his business is all about delivering happiness.
"The greatest, most sustainable happiness comes from making others happy. It is our privilege to deliver you happiness every single day" says the former Webex engineer who thought he could do better, so created Zoom.
Evan Spiegel – Making technology more human, with the help of rabbit ears, mini videos and meditation
Snap describes itself, slightly backwardly, as a camera company - saying it believes that reinventing the camera represents the greatest opportunity to improve the way people live and communicate. "We contribute to human progress by empowering people to express themselves, live in the moment, learn about the world, and have fun together."
Hamdi Ulukaya – The anti-CEO, founder of Chobani, who wants to give it all away
The Kurdish refugee who created the world’s leading yogurt brand Chobani, calls himself an anti-CEO, and has pledged to donate most of his wealth, at the time of the pledge at least $700 million, to help Kurdish refugees, and refugees from all around the world.
Hooi Ling Tan – How Grab grew from the night taxis of Kuala Lumper to the "super-app" of South-East Asia
Hooi Ling Tan was at Harvard when she co-created Grab, the $20 billion South East Asian "everything everyday" super-app, where she is better known as “the plumber” for her pragmatic approach.
Jack Ma – Alibaba's entrepreneurial founder, and karaoke star, who then grew to big for the Chinese government
Jack Ma is the Hangzhou teacher on $12 a month who went to America and couldn't even get a job with KFC, so returned to China and built Alibaba into a $400 billion global technology leader over 20 years, before retiring to become a teacher again.
Jane Fraser – The First Lady of Wall Street, the CEO of Citigroup says that leadership is about context, curiosity and courage.
Citigroup's new CEO, the Scottish-born 53 year old, was born a few hundred miles from me, and just two months apart. I don't know about you, but I tend to find that I can relate more to somebody with a timeline similar to my own, even if we end up in vastly different places!
Jeff Bezos – The Wall Street banker who built the world's largest online bookstore and created $1.5 trillion
At Amazon, it's always Day 1 ... Walk into Amazon's Day 1 head office in Seattle and you will find the Day 1 room, it's Jeff's room. And he only has meetings in the afternoon, the morning is for entrepreneurial thinking. Amazon's Day 1 approach remains the same as it was on Jeff's very first day when he arrived in a VW campervan from Wall Street - to make smart, fast decisions, stay nimble, invent, and focus on delighting our customers.
Jensen Huang – Creating the software to enable a virtual world
AI is transforming our world. The software that enables computers to do things that once required human perception and judgment depends largely on hardware made possible by Jensen Huang.
Jessica Tan – Transforming Ping An into the world’s largest digital healthcare platform
Jessica Tan is co-CEO of Ping An Group, the Shenzhen-based second largest insurance company in the world, but with a responsibility far beyond insurance. She grew up in Singapore, and then studied Engineering and Economics at MIT. She spent a decade at McKinsey before joining Ping An in 2013
JK Rowling – "To get through life without failing, would not be a life worth living"
Harry Potter was the culmination of her own story from poverty and rebellion to fame and fortune. “It matters not what you are born, but what you grow to be.”
Katrina Lake – Harnessing the power of AI to reinvent how people shop for fashion
Katrina Lake, founder of Stitch Fix, is reinventing how we shop. Launching the business in 2011 at the age of 29, an IPO followed 6 years later. In 2021 she "retired" as CEO, to focus on investments and family.
Larry Fink – BlackRock's CEO has been described as “the Steve Jobs of the money game”
Larry Fink leads the world's leading investment company. BlackRock’s mission is to help investors build better financial futures and the firm is trusted to manage more money than any other investment company in the world. Each year he write a letter to the CEOs of the world, to the people who he invests in, about how we sees the challenge of business in the world - the need for more purpose, the urgency of climate change, the shift from shareholders to stakeholders as the source of value creation.
Marcos Galperin – Leading the rise of Latin America's most successful retailer Mercado Libre
Mercado Libre is the Buenos Aires-based online marketplace that has become the most valuable company in Latin America. It operates in 18 countries, although Brazil alone accounts for 65% of its revenue, growing to 96% when including Argentina and Mexico. It was founded in 1999 by Marcos Galperin and two colleagues while at Stanford.
Maria Raga – The Spanish CEO is building Depop with a vision to be more human in a digital world
Depop is the community-powered marketplace app to buy and sell unique fashion. It has become the fashion home of GenZ, preferring to trade vintage clothes with one another, creating their own stores. It was recently acquired by Etsy, but continues as a separate business.
Mark Parker – The running geek who found his dream job as a Nike shoe designer, then became CEO
Mark Parker recently stepped down as Nike’s CEO after 14 years in the role, during which time sales have grown from $14bn to $45bn, and most impressively market cap has grown from $16bn to $145bn. The average tenure of a Fortune 500 CEO is now less than 5 years.
Mary Barra – Reinventing GM for an electric future
She challenged the traditional culture of GM in dramatic style, rejecting complacency and embracing new tech, on a mission to reinvent her industry.
Masayoshi Son – Japan’s legendary technology investor takes a long-term view, with a $100 billion plan over 30 years
SoftBank is a global technology investment company based in Minato, Tokyo. It primarily invests in companies operating in technology, energy, and financial sectors - and also runs the Vision Fund, the world's largest technology-focused venture capital fund, with over $100 billion in capital.
Melanie Perkins – Empowering the world to design, with Canva, the online design and publishing platform.
Canva is an innovative, Australia-based online design and publishing tool. It has grown rapidly since its launch in August 2013 and is now empowering millions of people across from every corner of the globe to create great designs and reach their goals, whether that's landing a job with a stylish resume, getting their business off the ground by creating great marketing materials or connecting with their community by designing great social media graphics.
Mukesh Ambani – From industrial conglomerate to the Jio super-app, that is now transforming Indian life
The richest man in India had done it all, until he decided to join the tech revolution. Jio, his mobile phone business, went from launch to market leader in three months - he gave it away free, and created a huge sponsorship business too. Then he recognised that the phone was just a platform to do more, and launch Jio Platforms, a super-app that is now transforming Indian life.
Nik Storonsky – From Russian physics to British fintech
How Russian-born, data-obsessed, Kitesurfing-loving Nikolay Storonsky went from Moscow physics graduate and champion swimmer, to Lehman Brothers trader, and now British fintech entrepreneur of Revolut, the money superapp.
Pat Brown – On a mission to eliminate animal-based foods, he created the Impossible Burger that sizzled and tasted better than meat
"Developing a better, more sustainable way to produce the meat, fish and dairy foods the world loves - directly from plants. Understanding the environmental impact of the global food system. Deep molecular characterization of present and future foods. Optimizing the global food system." That's how Pat Brown describes his job.
Phil Knight – Nike's original "shoe dog" who built the world's most successful sports brand
Phil Knight co-founded Nike in 1968 with his running coach Bill Bowerman. At college he trained hard in pursuit of a 4 minute mile, but not quite making it, he started selling imported Tiger running shoes out the back of his truck. He trained as an accountant at Coopers & Lybrand, but soon had an entrepreneurial urge. He headed back to Japan, to form a partnership that produced his first Nike shoes, the swoosh created for $35 by a girlfriend. The business grew rapidly into the world's most successful sports brand.
Piyush Gupta – Leading DBS, the world’s most innovative bank, with a vision to be invisible.
As a CEO, Gupta has a relatively unorthodox background, having grown up in the technology and operations parts of banking. During his 27-year Citi banking career, he did 22 jobs in multiple countries, including a one-year stint as a tech entrepreneur leading his own start-up. He built a very broad-based understanding of commercial banking, how people work together, and how digital can enhance it.
Reed Hastings – "No rules" rules at Netflix, provided that you deliver on exponential growth
Netflix is the world's leading streaming entertainment service with 200 million paid memberships in nearly 200 countries enjoying TV series, documentaries, feature films and mobile games across a wide variety of genres and languages.
René Redzepi – The Noma chef who goes out each morning to forage in his local forest for his Michelin star menus
The world’s most celebrated chef, opened Noma in his native Copenhagen at the age of 25, with a cuisine that reflects his locality.
Satya Nadella – The tech leader who wants to make other's cool
The Indian-born CEO says he doesn’t want to be cool, but to make other people cool, inspiring Microsoft to become the world’s most valuable business, again.
Sebastian Thrun – The German AI scientist who is creating driverless cars, online education and flying taxis
Sebastian Thrun is the German-born founder of Google X, more often known as the Moonshot Factory, or the new ideas business of Alphabet. He defined the goal as to use the capabilities of technology and data to solve the world’s biggest problems, and famously search for “10x not 10%”.
Tan Le – Connecting you, your brain, and the world
Tan Le is a Vietnamese boat refugee who found a new beginning in Australia, qualifying as a lawyer, then creating Emotiv, a world-leading neurotechnology company.
Tobi Lütke – How the German-Canadian created Shopify, and is now shaping the future of retail
Shopify is taking the world’s retailers online. As the world locked down amidst pandemic, stores great and small lost their entire footfall. Overnight, many turned to the Canadian tech company for the tools that allowed them to relaunch, not just with a virtual store, but with the marketing, warehousing, payment and distribution infrastructure too. A small town store could instantly transform itself into a global player.
Uğur Şahin – How BioNTech championed the innovative mRNA platform to create a Covid-19 vaccine, and transform the future of medicine
As Covid-19 raged across the world, Turkish-born Uğur Şahin and his wife Özlem Türeci, transitioned their development of mRNA-based cancer therapies to create an innovative vaccine. Building an ecosystem of experts and partners around their Mainz lab, they were able to achieve in 9 months what had previously take decades. They now believe their approach could transform the future of medicine.
Wang Xing – The Chinese super-speedy delivery business, that realised that its key asset was consumer data
Meituan Dianping is a Chinese delivery business that grew rapidly first in delivery food, and then in every types of business. It wasn't the first business that Wang Xing had founded, but this one worked. As the business grew, he realised his strength was not just in last mile logistics, but in knowing Chinese consumers better than anyone else. Fast Company ranked Meituan as “the world's most innovative company” in 2020.
Yvon Chouinard – Patagonia's founder is on a mission to save our home planet
Patagonia was founded by Yvon Chouinard in 1973, based in Ventura, California. A certified B-Corporation, Its mission is to save our home planet. The company is recognised internationally for its commitment to authentic product quality and environmental activism, donating 1% of sales annually, contributing over $100 million in grants and in-kind donations since 1985.
Zhang Ruimin – The Chinese physicist who smashed his products to create Haier as the world's leading home appliances ecosystem.
Zhang Ruimin 张瑞敏 is the founder of Haier Group, the world's leading home appliances business. In 1984 he became director of Qingdao Refrigerator Factory, famously asking each of his managers to smash their existing products with a sledgehammer to demonstrate they needed to move to world class. The small, failing collective factory evolved into a world leader, and an ecosystem brand.
Zhang Yiming – Founder of Bytedance, the world’s largest unicorn business, and the man behind the rapid growth of TikTok
ByteDance is a tech company with platforms that span 150 markets and 75 languages - including TikTok, Helo, Vigo Video, Douyin, and Huoshan. It describes its mission as "to inspire creativity and enrich life" adding "We believe that every spark of inspiration is worth the spotlight."