40 Under 40

Who are 2012's young business stars? We've got the CEO of a blue-chip beer brand, an airline CEO who just placed the largest order in commercial aviation history, and Warren Buffett's new prodigy, among the Silicon Valley hotshots and others.

1. Larry Page
40u40 main larry page
Age: 39

Co-founder and CEO, Google

Since the co-founder returned to the CEO role last year, he's been bent on proving Google still has its mojo, even as he puts his own stamp on the search engine he co-founded 14 years ago. Straight out of the gate, Page closed Google's boldest acquisition to date—the $12.5 billion purchase of Motorola. He also stripped away layers of management and shuttered dead-end projects. Google+, its self-styled "social spine," hasn't exactly been a home run—as of last count, its 100 million active users are a drop in the bucket compared with Facebook's 1 billion. Still, Google pretty much owns the mobile ad space, pulling in north of 95% of all dollars spent on phone ads. And its Android operating system has been a runaway success. (It powers over half of all smartphones sold in the U.S.) For their part, shareholders have already voted: Google's stock is at an all-time high. This year Page leapfrogs Mark Zuckerberg to take the No. 1 slot on our list for the first time.

Out of this world: Page recently invested in an asteroid mining venture called Planetary Resources, which aims to "expand Earth's natural resource base." -- Michal Lev-Ram

Editors' Note: A previous version of this story incorrectly stated that Google+ had 100,000 active users. The number is actually 100 million. Fortune regrets the error.


  @FortuneMagazine - Last updated October 17 2012 05:11 PM ET
Join the Conversation
The job creators

Organizations headed by some of these top young minds in business have grown this past year, many of them hiring at an impressive rate. Here are seven examples.

Market indexes are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer LIBOR Warning: Neither BBA Enterprises Limited, nor the BBA LIBOR Contributor Banks, nor Reuters, can be held liable for any irregularity or inaccuracy of BBA LIBOR. Disclaimer. Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Disclaimer The Dow Jones IndexesSM are proprietary to and distributed by Dow Jones & Company, Inc. and have been licensed for use. All content of the Dow Jones IndexesSM © 2014 is proprietary to Dow Jones & Company, Inc. Chicago Mercantile Association. The market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved. FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved. Most stock quote data provided by BATS.