9. Muhtar Kent
9. Muhtar Kent
President & CEO, Coca-Cola

Coca-Cola is still the world's most valuable brand, and Kent has done a good job protecting it against archrival PepsiCo. Born in America to Turkish diplomat parents, Kent joined Coca-Cola in 1978 and rose to the top job in 2008. Under his leadership, Coke has invested heavily in bottling and distribution infrastructure in emerging markets like China, ­India, and Mexico, where rapid ­urbanization, population growth, and rising per capita income are driving demand. Numbers tell the story: In the third quarter of this year, Coke saw volume growth of 11% in China and 19% in India, vs. 1% in the mature North American market. Like everybody else in the food and beverage industry, Coke is currently facing sky-high commodity input costs that have hurt its profitability to some extent. But Coke's efficient management, global distribution network, and unparalleled brand recognition give Kent a strong platform to build on.

By Richard McGill Murphy, contributor @FortuneMagazine - Last updated November 17 2011: 5:58 PM ET
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