CEO, Walt Disney
In the post-mogul era of media management, Bob Iger might just be the archetype. When he was elevated to run Disney two years ago after the tempestuous reign of Michael Eisner drew to a close, Iger was derided, even by some of his own directors, as Eisner lite - that is, an acolyte of his old boss who lacked the former's glamour or sense of vision.
Iger shrugged off the carping and set about restoring Disney's luster through thoughtful risk-taking and the canny exercise of power. Among his quietly effective hits: mending frayed relations with Steve Jobs, thus allowing Disney to buy Pixar, and putting ABC television fare like episodes of "Lost" on video iPods, an example of the digital savvy that is a hallmark of Iger's Disney.
And the shows go on: The company's profit-spinning media brands, led by ESPN, include the likes of "Pirates of the Caribbean," Pixar's "Ratatouille," "Hannah Montana," and the cheerfully unavoidable "High School Musical." Although the shares have been flat lately, over the past two years, they are up 28%, outpacing the S&P and most other media-company stocks. --Richard Siklos