Rank change: New
Persson, whose grandfather founded Swedish fast-fashion chain H&M, grew up immersed in the family business. After business school he started an events company, which he later sold. He joined H&M in 2005 and became CEO last summer, a time when the retailer was experiencing a slowdown in sales; things bounced back, and sales were up 14% during the first nine months of the year, to about $12 billion. Last year, H&M opened 250 new stores, as Persson led the world's third-biggest clothing chain into new markets like Russia and South Korea.
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Last updated October 14 2010: 1:25 PM ET