Occupation: CEO, McDonald’s
Talk about a tough act to follow. Former McDonald’s honcho Jim Skinner was one of the best CEOs on the planet. The enigmatic Thompson, who got the top job when Skinner retired last summer, is now grappling with slumping U.S. sales. But he has deep experience in high-growth overseas markets, the company is rolling out new offerings (voulez-vous un McBaguette?), and, at presstime, the stock price was inching higher. There’s also the fact that he helms Chicago’s largest company, with the power to feed 68 million people worldwide each day.
Photograph: CHUCK BERMAN/CHICAGO TRIBUNE