Chairman of the Board, Volkswagen Group
In our words: “There has never been a more colorful, more controversial, or more powerful Man of the Year. Ferdinand Karl Piech is a direct descendant of the Porsche-Piech dynasty, the billionaire father of twelve children, a professed dyslexic, and a ruthless leader….Not other living captain of the automotive industry has whipped this business forward with the same foresight and determination as the balding, thin-lipped Austrian with the wing-nut ears and the piercing, soft voice.”
What happened next: The Volkswagen Group’s new mission: become the biggest automaker in the world. It may have achieved that goal in 2011–it’s a tricky situation–but with Piech at the helm, VW reaching this goal is an almost certainty.