Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella ranks first in Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year 2019 list

The Indian born CEO of Microsoft Satya Nadella takes the first spot in this year’s Fortune’s Businessperson list. This list is an annual compilation, which also includes names like Mastercard CEO Ajay Banga and Arista head Jayshree Ullal.

“In a year dominated by political chaos and bluster, it was a rare brand of steady – even quiet – leadership that won the day in the business world. And no one epitomises that brand of obsessively results-driven, team-based leadership more than our new No. 1 Businessperson of the Year,” a comment by Fortune read.


Banga ranks 8th in the list, while Ullal comes in at the 18th spot for which Fortune looked at 10 financial factors ranging from total return to shareholders to return on capital.

Both Banga and Ullal are of Indian-origin.

Fortune said Nadella, a computer scientist, was “neither a founder like Bill Gates, nor a big-personality sales leader like his predecessor, Steve Ballmer when he was named the “surprise choice” to lead the Microsoft in 2014.

“Key to his leadership style is a willingness to delegate,” particularly to three members of his management team — president Brad Smith, who runs policy and legal affairs; Microsoft’s chief financial officer Amy Hood and chief people officer Kathleen Hogan. “I am wired to be fairly confident in myself and to let others shine,” Fortune quotes Nadella as saying. “CEOs can only do what they do if they have an amazing team. I am blessed to have that.” On Banga, Fortune said, “Thanks in part to Banga’s vision”, Mastercard has emerged as a “poster child” for how legacy players in financial services can embrace and adapt to a rapidly evolving environment. “In turn, the company has become a darling of the markets this year, with its stock climbing more than 40 per cent in 2019.”

Fortune also finds Banga, who is a Sikh, an outspoken proponent of workforce diversity.