Chairman and CEO, Procter & Gamble
Since taking charge in 2000, when Procter & Gamble was sinking under the weight of too many new products and organizational changes, Lafley has refocused on consumers and rejuvenated core businesses. P&G now boasts 23 billion-dollar brands, including Tide, Crest, Pampers, Gillette, Olay, Pantene, and the latest addition, Gain laundry detergent.
By denouncing insularity and demanding innovation in everything that P&G does, this company lifer has pushed P&G toward higher-margin areas like health, beauty, and personal care. The payback: Profits have tripled on his watch, to more than $10 billion on $76.5 billion in revenues.
Of course, Lafley has bought some of that growth; the acquisition of Gillette for $54 billion in 2005 was the largest in company history. But it is the record of organic growth - an average of 6% a year - that has made P&G a stock market standout and Lafley a role model for other CEOs. --Patricia Sellers