Richest Indian Mukesh Ambani and human rights lawyer Indira Jaising have been named by Fortune magazine as the World’s Greatest Leaders of 2018. The Fortune’s 2018 ranking of the 50 Greatest Leaders released today also has architect Balkrishna Doshi in the list which includes Apple CEO Tim Cook, New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern and football coach Nick Saban. Ambani, who turned 61 today, has “in less than two years, brought mobile data to the masses — and completely upended the country’s telecom market”, Fortune said ranking him No.24 behind likes of South Korean President Mon Jae-in, Chinese vice premier Liu He and French President Emmanuel Macron.
“Since Ambani, chief of the USD 47 billion conglomerate Reliance Industries, launched Jio — the first mobile network in the world to be entirely IP-based — in September 2016, the company has signed up a staggering 168 million subscribers. “The secret? Offering dirt-cheap data and free calls (and plowing billions of dollars into the infrastructure that transmits them). The effect, dubbed ‘Jio-fication’, has driven India’s higher-price carriers to drop costs (if not run them out of business), and it fueled a 1,100 per cent rise in India’s monthly data consumption,” it said.
On Jaising, founder, Lawyers Collective, Fortune said: “When the poorest in India need a voice, they find one in Jaising, a lawyer who has dedicated her life to battling injustice.” Ranked No.20, she has fought on behalf of victims of the 1984 Bhopal gas disaster, helped Syrian Christian women in India win property rights equal to their male counterparts’, and helped draft India’s first domestic violence law, it said. Her work has recently led her to Myanmar, where she was appointed by the UN to lead an investigation into the persecution of Rohingya Muslims, it said.
The World’s Greatest Leaders list started only in 2015. The past lists featured global notables like Xi Jinping, Pope Francis, Jeff Bezos, Angela Merkel, Aung San Suu Kyi, Paul Ryan, Jack Ma, Milinda Gates, Gen HR McMaster, Sen John McCain, Janel Yellen, and Justin Trudeau. Prime Minister Narendra Modi featured in the 2015 list while Delhi Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal was on the 2016 Greatest Leaders ranking. The then State Bank of India (SBI) Chairman Arundhati Bhattacharya was on the 2017 list.
This year’s list is topped by ‘The Students’ of Marjory Stoneman Douglas and other schools of US that witnessed gun violence. Ranking Doshi at No.43, Fortune said he is the winner of this year’s Pritzker Prize, architecture’s highest honour. Doshi has spent the bulk of his 70-year career championing accessible housing, earning the moniker ‘the architect for the poor’.
“His designs include the Aranya low-cost housing project in Indore, a labyrinth of homes and courtyards that provide around 80,000 residents with a balance of open spaces and communal living, and the mixed-income Life Insurance Corporation Housing in Ahmedabad, where several generations of a family can occupy levels of the same building. Underlying all his work is the ideal that all economic classes deserve good housing,” it said.
This year’s list has the #MeToo Movement, which described the pervasiveness of sexual abuse, at No.3 behind Bill and Melinda Gates. Others on the list include tennis star Serena Williams, FDA commissioner Scott Gottlieb, Larry Fink who leads the world’s biggest fund BlackRock, General Motors CEO Mary Barra, Engie CEO Isabelle Kocher, film director Ryan Coogler, Tencent CEO Huateng ‘Pony’ Ma, Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff, Oprah Winfrey, Chinese environmentalist Ma Jun, JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon, Delta Air Lines CEO Ed Bastian and 42-year old actor/producer Reese Witherspoon.