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New Zealand PM Jacinda Ardern Tops Fortune's List of Greatest Leaders, SII CEO Adar Poonawalla in Top 10


Last Updated: May 16, 2021, 12:49 IST

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern.

Celebrated leaders who made to the list included- Paypal CEO Daniel H Schulman, NBA Rescuers, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s John Nkengasong and Ping An’s Jessica Tan among others.

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern topped Fortune’s list of the world’s 50 greatest leaders and CEO of Serum Institute of India, Adar Poonawalla also made it to the list.

Ardern has been lauded for her efficiency in tackling and controlling the spread of Coronavirus in New Zealand. While Poonawalla, the only Indian on the list was praised for his exemplary role in manufacturing and supplying almost 90 % of Covid-19 vaccines across India.

Other celebrated leaders who made to the list included- Paypal CEO Daniel H Schulman, NBA Rescuers, Africa Centres for Disease Control and Prevention’s John Nkengasong and Ping An’s Jessica Tan among others.

Here’s the top 10 list


Jacinda Ardern

Ardern, Prime Minister of New Zealand has received massive praise for her role in tackling the deadly coronavirus infection from spreading in her country of 5 million people. According to Fortune, “Though there have been a few scares, her strategy largely proved successful; New Zealand, a nation of nearly 5 million people, has seen fewer than 2,700 cases and only 26 deaths."

In a show of solidarity, Ardern and her cabinet ministers took a six-month, 20 per cent pay cut in 2020 in order to support people who had lost their livelihoods owing to the pandemic.

mRNA Pioneers

Listed second on the list, Fortune stated, “While it’s already paying off in the fight against COVID, mRNA has only begun to show its potential. Compared with traditional vaccines, mRNA vaccines are both easy to tweak—to react, for example, to variants of a global virus like SARS-CoV-2—and relatively easy to scale up. But wherever its deployment ultimately leads, what may seem like overnight success was the product of years of hard work and calculated risk-taking, by leaders whose place in the pharma pantheon now seems assured."

Daniel H Schulman

Listed third on the list, Schulman is an American business executive and president and CEO of PayPal. Fortune said, “Schulman’s investment in PayPal’s own employees has been just as groundbreaking.”

Dr John Nkengasong

Listed fourth on the greatest leaders list- Nekngasong serves as the first Director of Africa Centre for Disease Control and Prevention. He has been widely praised for his role in fighting the spread of Covid-19. A leading virologist with nearly 30 years of work experience in public health, Nkengasong “has weathered the COVID crisis much more successfully than many far richer countries, including the United States.”

NBA Rescuers

Standing fifth on the list, NBA rescuers have spent weeks constructing the ‘bubble plan’. Adam Silver, NBA commissioner, Michele Roberts, executive director of the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) and Chris Paul, a longtime star point guard and the president of the NBPA, were the key players who saved the NBA.

Jessica Tan

Co-CEO, COO, CIO, Ping An Healthcare and Technology Company- Jessica Tan stood sixth on the list. She found a spot for her vision for the company, while people created a new path for insurance companies. Fortune stated among the Chinese private sector it was the technology companies that were able to cushion the blow faced by China. “And none was better positioned to help than Ping An Group, an insurance giant whose “technology plus finance” strategy reflects the vision of co-CEO Jessica Tan…”

Justin Welby

Seventh on the list is 105th Archbishop of Canterbury- Justin Welby. He has been lauded for supporting causes that are critical to society. Fortune stated, “A former oil executive, Welby is now outspoken on climate change and has encouraged the Church’s investment arm to push major emitters on their climate policies. Though he’s one of Britain’s most high-profile institutional leaders, Welby has hit out at the British government on welfare reform and the implementation of Brexit.”

Stacey Abrams

An American politician, lawyer, and voting rights activist- Stacey Abrams stood eight on the list. She made suppression of votes a national conversation. According to Fortune, “Now Abrams may very well be one of the most powerful politicians without a political office. Don’t expect that to last long. Abrams, who was floated as a possible Biden running mate and also happens to be a novelist, is widely expected to run for governor again in 2022.”

Reshorna Fitzpatrick

Fitzpatrick, founder and Pastor of Proceeding Word Church in Chicago is ninth on the list and had been lauded for feeding the hungry in her Chicago neighbourhood for years.

Fortune said, “There are those who fill stomachs. There are those who feed souls. Pastor Reshorna Fitzpatrick has been doing both for years, helping to soothe a long-simmering hunger in her Chicago neighbourhood with whatever sustenance she can provide.” Three years ago, she helped start a community garden in a vacant lot near the North Lawndale church on the city’s West Side where she preaches every Sunday, it added.

Adar Poonawalla

The only Indian in the top 10 list, Poonwalla is CEO of the world’s largest vaccine producer- Serum Institute of India. He has been recognised for taking the task of supplying COVID-19 vaccines across India. Poonawalla’s company has been providing “global vaccine equity, providing low-cost vaccines to fight diseases like influenza, measles, and tetanus.” Now, “the SII has pledged to deliver up to 2 billion vaccine doses in the coming years to COVAX, a global initiative to provide vaccines to lower- and middle-income countries…”

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first published:May 16, 2021, 09:50 IST
last updated:May 16, 2021, 12:49 IST