From the euro mess to the Occupy Wall Street movement to the U.S. unemployment crisis, 2011 was the kind of
year that tests leaders. So when Fortune
set out to pick a Businessperson of the Year (and 49 runners-up), great stories were easy to find. Facebook doubled its revenue the year
its CEO turned 27. Jim Skinner of McDonald's boosted profitability despite rising commodity food costs. Ralph Lauren sold Chinese consumers on his vision of old-school American glamour.
Reid Hoffman of LinkedIn and Andrew Mason of Groupon took their social networks public. But it was Howard Schultz of Starbucks who rose to the top of our list. The reasons may surprise
NEXT: 1. Howard D. Schultz
By Richard McGill Murphy, contributor - Last updated November 17 2011: 5:58 PM ET