CEO, Cisco Systems
Why he matters: Thanks to the white-hot market for video content, which drives up bandwidth demand, sales of Cisco's switches and routers are booming. But Chambers is positioning the networking giant to be more than a Silicon Valley merchant of picks and shovels.
He also wants Cisco to increase its visibility with consumers, and to do that he's launched a targeted acquisition spree, buying, among others, TV set-top-box maker Scientific-Atlanta, e-mail security company IronPort Systems, and Internet conferencing leader WebEx Communications. Will it pay off? The jury's still out, but in truth, it might not matter. When you're in a gold rush, owning the market for picks and shovels isn't such a bad thing.