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The 10 Biggest CEO Departures Of 2018

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A number of high-profile CEOs from some very large and consequential companies called it quits this year. Some were forced out, some exited having guided their companies to relatively safe harbor, and one unexpectedly passed away. We do not claim to have listed everyone who traded in their seat at the head of the table in 2018, but these are some of the more notable ones.

Kevin Systrom, Instagram

In 2006, while a senior at Stanford University, Kevin Systrom was offered a position at Facebook by the then up-and-coming social media company’s founder and CEO Mark Zuckerberg. He famously turned Zuck down, electing to stay in school.

Regardless of the declined opportunity, Systrom, 34, wound up at Facebook anyway, but on his own terms. In 2012 he sold his fast-growing photo sharing network, Instagram, to the social media behemoth for about $1 billion, earning himself a $400 million payday based on his then 40% stake.

This September Systrom, Instagram’s CEO, and his cofounder Mike Krieger, announced they would step away from the company amid alleged tensions with Zuckerberg. In staying on with the firm for six years following Instagram’s acquisition, Systrom has been instrumental in cultivating the company’s revenue-generating advertising offerings, as well as its reach with a younger demographic at a time when young people are turning away from Facebook.


Pepsi Chairman and CEO Indra Nooyi. Picture: Paul Morigi/Getty Images for Fortune

Indra Nooyi, Pepsi

In October big business lost one of its few female CEOs, as Indra Nooyi resigned from Pepsico after a dozen years in the top spot.

Nooyi, 63, who will remain as chairman of Pepsico through the start of 2019, spent 24 years with the company and led the organization as it sought to evolve with a changing food industry that is placing greater emphasis on healthier products. Last year, thanks to her leadership, Pepsico declared that ‘better-for-you’ items accounted for 50% of its offerings.

Despite pushback and criticism from some investors and industry watchers over her emphasis on beefing up Pepsico’s reach in the healthy food category, Nooyi’s results during her tenure overshadow her naysayers: She leaves the company as its annual revenue stands at $63.5 billion—up from $35 billion per year when she began her stint as its CEO in 2006—and Pepsico’s share price has almost doubled in that time.


VW group CEO Matthias Mueller. Picture: Alexander Koerner/Getty Images

Matthias Müller, Volkswagen

When Matthias Müller took over as CEO of Volkswagen in 2015, he was installed as a replacement for Martin Winterkorn, on whose watch the company was discovered to have installed software in its vehicles meant to fool emissions testing—a scandal that embarrassed the well-known German automaker and cost the company more than $15 billion in fines and compensation.

This spring, the world’s largest automaker announced that Müller would step down. He was replaced by VW brand manager Herbert Diess.

Under Müller, who had previously been chief executive of VW subsidiary Porsche, Volkswagen invested heavily in the development of electric vehicles and attempted to overhaul the company’s management structure. Under him, the firm retained its title as the world’s largest automaker and saw its profit margins grow.

Müller, who is 64, earned $12 million in compensation last year and last March the Volkswagen board voted to give him a 40% pay raise. Despite his resignation, he will continue to be paid through 2020, when his current contract expires.


Lloyd Blankfein, chairman and chief executive officer of Goldman Sachs Group. Picture: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs

After 12 years atop the mighty Goldman Sachs, CEO Lloyd Blankfein announced his resignation earlier this year. He was replaced by the firm’s president and COO, David Solomon.

Blankfein, 64, has held several positions within the firm, including vice chairman, president and COO. This year Blankfein placed #47 on Forbes’ list of the world’s Most Powerful People. In a farewell message to his colleagues, he said “When times are tougher, you can’t leave. And, when times are better, you don’t want to leave.”

Sullying Blankfein’s final days at the firm are woeful share prices for Goldman, which are down about 33% from last year, the steepest drop coming this fall in the aftermath of an escalating controversy over allegations that the firm was connected to a conspiracy to launder $2.7 billion from a Malaysian fund several years ago.

Ian Read, Chairman and CEO of Pfizer. Picture: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Ian Read, Pfizer

After eight years as the head of one of the world’s largest pharmaceutical companies, Ian Read announced this year that he will be stepping down as CEO of Pfizer. Read was a company man, joining the pharma giant in 1978 as an operational auditor, and in the years that followed held various positions, including chief financial Officer with Pfizer Mexico, Country Manager in Brazil, president of its International Pharmaceuticals Group, and group president of the Worldwide Bio-pharmaceutical Businesses.

During his tenure as CEO, Read, who is 65, pursued foreign acquisitions to allow Pfizer to avoid U.S. tax penalties. In this Read was unsuccessful, allowing targets like AstraZeneca and Allergan to slip away, while being maligned by U.S. politicians for the effort.

Les Moonves, former CBS CEO. Picture: David McNew/Getty Images

Les Moonves, CBS

CBS’s Les Moonves made headlines this year when a dozen women stepped forwardaccusing the CEO of instances of inappropriate behavior and sexual assault that date back as far as the 1980s, outlined in a series of news media articles. Moonves, 68, denied the allegations. In September CBS’ board forced him out, the latest high-profile entertainment figure to come to ruin through allegations of sexual misconduct.

In December, CBS announced that Moonves would not receive a dime of the $120 million severance package to which he was contractually entitled as an internal investigation into his activities concluded that he had violated company policy. Still, Moonves is far from destitute. The former CEO is worth an estimated $800 million, $500 million of which was earned through the sale of CBS stock.

Sergio Marchionne, former chief executive officer of Fiat Chrysler Automobiles. Picture: Jeff Kowalsky/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Sergio Marchionne, Fiat-Chrysler

This summer the auto industry lost a true giant, as Fiat-Chrysler CEO, Sergio Marchionne, passed away at age 66 due to complications following shoulder surgery.

Marchionne’s career highlights include spearheading the resurgence of Fiat and Chrysler—the former he assumed control of as its chief executive in 2004; the latter he worked shrewdly to acquire in 2009, virtually for free after Chrysler emerged from bankruptcy. Today the organizations, merged under his leadership, are worth ten times their value when he took the helm.

Forbes contributor Ed Garsten, who worked with Chrysler before and after Marchionne’s acquisition of the company, remembers the late CEO’s arrival on the scene and the positive boost he gave to his new employees in his initial address at Chrysler. “In the course of about 30 minutes, in his gravelly, accented voice, Marchionne proceeded to say the words that made the past two years seem to disappear,” Garsten writes, “delivering a message of hope, of promise, of winning, that we’re all in it together, punctuated by a bit of philosophy, in Swahili.”

Sir Martin Sorrell, the former chief executive officer of WPP. Picture: Eamonn M. McCormack/Getty Images for Advertising Week Europe

Martin Sorrell, WPP

WPP, one of the world’s largest advertising and marketing companies, lost its CEO and founder this year: Martin Sorrell, who ran the company for 33 years.

Sorrell’s departure comes in the wake of mysterious allegations of misconduct that moved WPP’s board to hire an outside law firm to investigate its CEO. The results of the investigation have not been disclosed, but Sorrell later resigned and was replaced by company COO Mark Read.

Sorrell, who is 73 and an icon of entrepreneurship in Britain, acquired WPP in the mid-1980s to act as a holding company for his planned marketing empire. He had previously been the financial director of advertising company Saatchi & Saatchi. His aggressively acquisitive strategy assured fast growth—and debt—for WPP over the years, and last year the conglomerate generated nearly $19.3 billion in revenue. Sorrell himself earned $68 million.

But the business life is not over for Sorrell. Shortly after his resignation from WPP, he set the wheels in motion for his latest venture: a communications services firm named S4.


Brian Krzanich, former Intel CEO. Picture: Steve Jennings/Getty Images for TechCrunch

Brian Krzanich, Intel

This year Intel celebrated its 50th year in business. It also bid farewell to its CEO of five years, Brian Krzanich, who was dislodged following the revelation that he’d had a consensual relationship with a subordinate colleague, which violated company policy. He was replaced with company CFO Robert H. Swan.

Krzanich, 58, began his career at Intel in 1982 as an engineer at a microchip factory in New Mexico. Over the years he’s held a number of positions with the tech giant, including that of chief operating officer. Krzanich was a member of Donald Trump’s administration’s American Manufacturing Council, a body that included Tesla’s Elon Musk, Under Armour’s Kevin Plank and Michael Dell. He quit the Council in the wake of Trump’s response to the 2017 Unite The Right Rally that left one counter-protestor dead and many others injured.

In November Krzanich announced he had found a new job, assuming the chief executive position of Illinois-based software company CDK Global.


Condé Nast CEO Bob Sauerberg. Picture: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Bob Sauerberg, Condé Nast

Condé Nast announced in November that its CEO, Bob Sauerberg, would step down as soon as a suitable replacement is found. The timing of his departure comes just a few months after Sauerberg set down a turnaround strategy for the publishing conglomerate to return to solvency within two years. Condé Nast says it will adhere to Sauerberg’s plans.

Sauerberg’s replacement will assume a more powerful role, one that oversees both Condé Nast and Condé Nast International—two operations traditionally led by different chief executives.

Sauerberg joined the company in 2005 and was named president five years later. He was made CEO in January of 2016 and during his tenure as head of the company launched Condé Nast Entertainment.

-Karsten Strauss

Billionaires

Richest Cities In The World: The Top 10 Cities With The Most Billionaires

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People with ten-digit fortunes can live pretty much anywhere they want. As it turns out, many like the same spots.

Of the 2,153 members of the 2019 Forbes World’s Billionaires List, 551 live in just 10 of the world’s 1,860 cities. Billionaires living in this relative handful of locations possess a collective $2.3 trillion of wealth, exceeding the GDP of all but seven nations on earth.

New York City again tops the list with 84 billionaires, whose combined net worth of $469.7 billion is greater than the GDP of Austria. The biggest city in the U.S. and home of the world’s two biggest stock exchanges, New York has housed the most billionaires for five years running.

The streak started in 2015 when it beat out Moscow, which has ranked as No. 3 since 2016. The Russian capital had 85 billionaires in 2014, 14 more than today.

China has the most cities in the top 10, with 145 of the nation’s billionaires living in just three places: No. 4 Beijing, No. 6 Shanghai and No. 8 Shenzhen. While all three Chinese cities have fewer billionaires than last year, they still account for 45% of the country’s list members.

That percentage may stand to grow even larger as China sprints toward further urbanization; the nation’s city-dwelling population has increased from 48% to 59% since 2009, per Chinese census data.

The same 10 sites were also the most popular on last year’s World’s Billionaires list, albeit with slightly shuffled rankings. San Francisco saw the biggest year-over-year jump, moving up from No. 10 to No. 7 and adding eight billionaires, including Coinbase cofounder Brian Armstrong and Levi Strauss heiress Mimi Haas.

Mumbai is the biggest loser, dropping from No. 7 to No. 10 with a net loss of eight billionaires. Nine fell off the list, including pharma bigwigs Samprada Singh and Basudeo Singh of Alkem Laboratories, whose stock price fell some 20%. Only one new billionaire emerged in India’s most populous city: paint company heir Mahendra Choksi.

Here are 10 cities with the most billionaires from No. 10 to No. 1:

10. Mumbai, 37 billionaires (-8 since 2018)

Total net worth: $184.4 billion

Richest resident: Oil and gas heir Mukesh Ambani, $50 billion

Mumbai is home to what is likely the most expensive residence on earth: Ambani’s $1 billion 27-story palace. It was also the site of one of the biggest, costliest weddings ever, again courtesy of Ambani. He hosted the week-long blockbuster celebration for his daughter Isha and the son of fellow billionaire Ajay Piramal in December 2018.  

9. Seoul, 38 billionaires (-3)

Total net worth: $99.9 billion

Richest resident: Samsung chairman Lee Kun-hee, $16.9 billion

All but one of South Korea’s billionaires reside in its biggest city, and all are South Korean citizens. Seoul’s richest people control the nation’s biggest businesses, including global powerhouses Samsung and Hyundai. South Korea is also the world’s fourth-largest online gaming market (over $5.7 billion in revenue, per Newzoo), and the sector has produced five Seoul billionaires, including Maple Story-maker Kim Jung-ju.

8. Shenzhen, 39 billionaires (-5)

Total net worth: $190.5 billion

Richest resident: Tencent CEO Ma Huateng, $38.8 billion

Designated as a “special economic zone” during Chinese economic reforms of the 1980’s, the Hong Kong-bordering city has become an economic and tourist hub. Every listmaker from Shenzhen is a self-made billionaire, with its second-richest resident Hui Ka Yan working as a factory technician for ten years before founding one of China’s foremost real estate developers. Dorm room founder Frank Wangbecame the world’s first drone billionaire in 2016, along with an early investor and his marketing chief, both Shenzhen residents.

7. San Francisco, 42 billionaires (+8)   

Total net worth: $109.2 billion

Richest resident: Facebook cofounder Dustin Moskowitz, $11.1 billion

The heart of America’s tech revolution, San Francisco is homebase for founders of Uber, Airbnb and Pinterest. The region’s influx of digital-age companies has made it the most expensive city in the U.S. (The entire Bay Area, including San Francisco and nearby cities, has 82 billionaires, still fewer than New York). One escapee: PayPal cofounder and Trump backer Peter Thiel, who moved to Los Angeles in 2018, reportedly for its greater political diversity.

6. Shanghai, 45 billionaires (-5)

Total net worth: $110.7 billion

Richest resident: Ecommerce entrepreneur Colin Huang, $13.5 billion

As ecommerce surges worldwide, so do fortunes like Huang’s, which is tied to internet retailer Pinduoduo. All those online-purchased items have created a massive package delivery market. Shanghai, also the world’s biggest port, is home to four major package delivery companies, each with a pair each of billionaires. The city’s richest logistics duo is tied to Yunda Express; its cofounding spouses Nie Tengyun and Chen Liying are worth a combined $5.1 billion.

5. London, 55 billionaires (+0)

Total net worth: $226 billion

Richest resident: Russian bank founder Mikhail Fridman, $15 billion

London, with more five star hotels than any other city, is a mecca for the uber rich. While 20 Brits call the cosmopolitan city home, 35 expatriate billionaires from 23 countries including India, Iceland and Russia have relocated to London. Five, including two Ikea heirs, come from high-taxed Sweden, more than any other nation. Four are Russians, including Russia’s richest woman Elena Baturina, whose husband was removed as mayor of Moscow in 2010. And though he’s not a resident, Chicago hedge fund head Ken Griffin bought a $122 million property just a ten minute walk from Buckingham Palace this January.

4. Beijing, 61 billionaires (-3)

Total net worth: $193.3 billion

Richest resident: Commercial real estate titan Wang Jianlin, $22.6 billion

Beijing is home to China’s two youngest billionaires, both products of the internet era: 33-year-old cryptocurrency miner Jihan Wu and 35-year-old ByteDance chair Zhang Yiming. The success of his $75 billion internet-era content creation hub has launched Zhang from the city’s No. 13 to No. 2 richest in just a year. He’s only topped by Wang, whose fortune comes from real estate. Tech (17) and real estate (12) are the most popular industries for billionaires in the Chinese capital.

3. Moscow, 71 billionaires (-6)

Total net worth: $336.5 billion

Richest resident: Natural gas oligarch Leonid Mikhelson, $24 billion

Nearly 80% of all billionaires in Russia live in its capital, which is also its most populous city. Moscow is home to five billionaires sanctioned by the U.S. Treasury in April 2018: suspected election meddler Oleg Deripaska, Michael Cohen-tied Viktor Vekselberg, legislative official Andrei Skoch, former Putin judo partner Arkady Rotenberg and trained economist Suleiman Kerimov. Russia’s Great Gatsby (as he’s been called) Kerimov faced money-laundering charged in France that were dropped in June.

2. Hong Kong, 79 billionaires (+2)

Total net worth: $355.5 billion

Richest resident: Conglomerate kingpin Li Ka-shing, $31.7 billion

Housing prices in the city have quadrupled since the Great Recession, thanks to its government’s tight grip on supply. The booming market has vaulted the fortunes of developers like Lee Shau Kee and Peter Woo, and 29 Hong Kong billionaires (and half of its top-ten richest) count real estate as their chief source of wealth. But a correction may be imminent—a Citigroup survey says that 57% of Hongkongers anticipate a drop in residential real estate prices during 2019.

1. New York, 84 billionaires (+1)

Total net worth: $469.7 billion

Richest Resident: Media magnate Michael Bloomberg, $55.5 billion

Some Big Apple billionaires were born and raised in New York, including Estee Lauder heir Ronald Lauder, JPMorgan Chase chief Jamie Dimon and Highbridge Capital cofounder Henry Swieca. Dimon and Swieca are two of 40 billionaires in the city whose fortunes were built in finance, the richest of whom is Carl Icahn, one of few hedge fund managers to make money in 2018. And though the city’s most famous landlord now calls the White House home, 17 other real estate billionaires live in New York City. That includes native New Yorker Steven Roth, whose real estate company Vornado owns 70% of Trump’s skyscraper at 1290 Avenue of Americas. But just like in London, NYC’s priciest residence, a $238 million Central Park penthouse, is owned by out-of-towner Ken Griffin (he calls Chicago home).

-Carter CoudrietForbes Staff

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Businesses Of The Future: 20 New Wealth Creators On The African Continent

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The New Wealth Creators is the first of its kind list by FORBES WOMAN AFRICA. Herein is a collection of female entrepreneurs on the African continent running businesses and social enterprises that are new, offbeat and radical.

These 20 women have been selected because they have created significant impact in their respective sectors by transforming a market or company, or innovating a product or service, and are pioneering their organization(s) in generating new untapped streams of income.

These women come from across the continent, from the villages and the suburbs, and are in their 20s, 30s, 40s and 50s. They have all adopted sustainable development initiatives in one way or another to help solve Africa’s problems.

They may be wealth creators but their businesses, ironically, did not stem from a need to make money,  but rather from the need to solve Africa’s persisting socio-economic challenges.

 Economically empowering women has shown to boost productivity. It increases economic diversification and income equality, in addition to other positive developmental outcomes.

Simply put, when more women work, economies are likely to grow.

FORBES WOMAN AFRICA put in months of rigorous research, searching near and far for these inspirational entrepreneurs.

We took into account their business model, new ideas, potential, struggles, social impact, growth, influence, resilience and most importantly, their innovation.

Speaking to FORBES WOMAN AFRICA last year at the BRICS summit in Johannesburg, South Africa’s Minister of Science and Technology, Mmamoloko Kubayi-Ngubane, said: “Innovation [is] becoming the cornerstone for our economy going forward.”

As Africa’s population is reported to increase by 53% by 2100, according to the United Nations, new solutions must be created in order for us to keep up.

One question remains: can Africa translate its significant population growth into economic development, and invest this wealth to improve the quality of life?

Entrepreneurship could very well be the answer, or at least, one of the answers.

Last year, the Founder and Chair of the Alibaba Group Jack Ma paid Africa a visit to discuss tangible investment and technology development.

He encouraged African entrepreneurs to take giant leaps in solving the challenges facing the continent and to take advantage of the digital economy.

From left to right: Rachel Sibande, Arlene Mulder, Miishe Addy, Sarah Collins, Dineo Lioma, Jessica Anuna. Picture: Motlabana Monnakgotla
Assistant Photographer: Gypseenia Lion

He said that opportunities lie where people complain.

And these women, through their businesses, have identified just that.

Vijay Tirathrai, director of the Techstars Dubai Accelerator, shared the same sentiments with FORBES WOMAN AFRICA.

“The new wealth creators, for me, are entrepreneurs who are very conscious about finding solutions in the market place, but from a lens of having social impact or having impacted the environment,” he says.

Tirathrai believes that while servicing consumers, new wealth creators are also “making a safer and a greener planet in the process, eliminating diseases, improving health conditions and advocating for equality for women”.

Women on the African continent have been making headway as drivers of change, and in many ways, they embody new wealth.

They are the true wealth.

As FORBES WOMAN AFRICA, we seek to celebrate such women.

Through this list, money is no longer the central indicator of new wealth creation.

It is about job creation, contributing to healthy societies, recycling waste, giving agency to those who are financially excluded and developing solutions for some of the socio-economic problems we grapple with.

These women may all come from different places but they are bound together by one common thread, and that is the thread of new wealth creation.

This compilation is innovative, exciting, inspiring and shows what businesses of the future may look like.

Meet the FORBES WOMAN AFRICA New Wealth Creators of 2019.

The list on the pages that follow is in no particular order.

-Curated by: Unathi Shologu

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The Richest Woman In The World

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Maybe she’s born with it, maybe it’s L’Oréal? In Francoise Bettencourt Meyers case, it’s both. The L’Oréal heiress, who is also the chairwoman of her family’s holding company, is the world’s richest woman, with a fortune of $49.3 billion.


Bettencourt Meyers, who is the 15th-richest person in the world, leads the women on the 2019 Forbes World’s Billionaires list.

The granddaughter of L’Oréal’s founder Eugène Schueller (an inventor of hair dyes), and a member of the company’s board since 1997, Bettencourt Meyers debuted on the billionaires list last year following the death of her mother, Liliane Bettencourt, in September 2017. Liliane had been on the list every year since Forbes published its first World’s Billionaires List in 1987.

Bettencourt Meyers’ fortune increased by $7.1 billion, or 17%, since last year thanks to stellar results at the makeup giant, of which she and her immediate family own a 33% stake.

READ MORE | At 21, Kylie Jenner Becomes The Youngest Self-Made Billionaire Ever

An estimated 90% of her wealth is tied to shares of the company, which recorded its best sales growth in more than a decade last year with total revenue coming in at $30.6 billion. Revenue in Asia Pacific jumped 20%, driven by China; the region has now overtaken North America in terms of sales.

Bettencourt Meyers, who lives in Paris, is the president of her family’s Bettencourt Schueller Foundation. The philanthropic foundation encourages French progress in science and the arts, giving money and support to projects in life sciences, social progress and traditional crafts.

The foundation has donated to projects including the research of neurons, support for families of autistic children and French choirs. She is also a writer and has authored a book on the Greek gods and another with commentary on the Bible.

While it’s Bettencourt Meyers’ first official year as richest woman, her name is no stranger to the spot. For the past decade, the world’s richest woman has either been a Bettencourt or Walton. In fact Bettencourt Meyers first overtook Alice Walton, last year’s richest woman, in March 2018, just days after we finalized our annual list.

READ MORE | Fewer Billionaires, Poorer Billionaires On African Continent In 2019

Bettencourt Meyers’ mother Liliane Bettencourt, the daughter of L’Oréal founder Scheuller, spent most of her life working at L’Oréal; late in life she suffered from dementia. She and Walmart heiresses have taken turns holding the title of richest women for most of the past three-plus decades that Forbes has been tracking the wealthy.

Liliane Bettencourt was the richest woman for most of the first 14 years Forbes published the billionaires’ list. In the years following 2001, she was overtaken some years by Walmart founder Sam Walton’s daughter Alice Walton and other years by Sam’s widow Helen Walton. Bettencourt took back the number one spot in 2006. She and Alice Walton’s sister-in-law Christy Walton took turns holding the title for the remainder of the past decade.

In 2010, buoyed by strong Walmart stock, Christy Walton, Sam Walton’s daughter-in-law, became the richest woman. Forbes understood at the time that she received the bulk of her husband John’s fortune when he died in a plane crash in 2005.

She continued as the world’s richest woman for the next four years, but in 2015, previously sealed documents revealed that she had inherited just one-sixth of his fortune. Christy and John’s son, Lukas, received one-third of John Walton’s estate, while the rest went to charity.

The Forbes World’s Billionaires list is a snapshot of wealth using stock prices and exchange rates from February 8, 2019. Some people will become richer or poorer between then and the publication of the rankings, or within days of publication.

-Madeline Berg; Forbes Staff

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