For Samsung, 2012 proved another banner year. While the South Korean electronics maker remained unchallenged in the TV business for the seventh consecutive year, it also became the No. 1 mobile phone maker, shipping nearly 397 million units and seizing 25% of the global market, according to Strategy Analytics. (Its Galaxy SIII smartphone moved over 30 million units in just five months.) Both TV and phone sales helped drive revenues up 20% year-over-year to $178 billion.
Meet these non-native Global 500 chief execs who have beaten the odds and climbed to the top of their org charts.