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15. Miles White

Miles White

AGE: 56
OCCUPATION: Chairman and CEO, Abbott Laboratories

Like Irene Rosenfeld (No. 12), White would have landed higher on our list had he not recently bowed to pressure from investors and announced he’ll snap his huge company in two. By the end of 2012, he’ll run Abbott’s $22 billion medical products concern, leaving the riskier $18 billion pharmaceutical business to others. White remains an insider’s insider in corporate Chicago and a mainstay on several high-profile boards.

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Photograph: Shauna Bittle/Chicago Tribune

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