CEO, BHP Billiton
Talk about being in a hurry: Kloppers took over as chief executive of the world's biggest mining company by market capitalization (some $200 billion) on Oct. 1. One month later he launched a $150 billion takeover bid for rival Anglo-Australian mining giant Rio Tinto; the combined entity would be a resources superpower with a larger market cap than Microsoft and higher revenues (some $70 billion combined in 2007) than Dell or Boeing.
Mining insiders weren't too surprised by the move. Kloppers, a 45-year-old vegetarian, has a reputation as an aggressive executive with superior intellectual bandwidth. BHP produces, in vast quantities, industrial staples like iron ore, copper, coal, nickel, uranium, oil, gas, and aluminum. That makes K loppers a crucial middleman in the global economy. --Brian O'Keefe