Date
21 November 2017
At 10th on Fortune's list, Joshua Wong is outranked by pop star Taylor Swift (sixth) and General Motors chief executive Mary Barra (ninth). Photo: Bloomberg
At 10th on Fortune's list, Joshua Wong is outranked by pop star Taylor Swift (sixth) and General Motors chief executive Mary Barra (ninth). Photo: Bloomberg

Joshua Wong 10th on Fortune list of world’s 50 greatest leaders

Introducing its second annual list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders”, Fortune manages to take a swipe at Hong Kong Chief Executive Leung Chun-ying while explaining why student leader Joshua Wong Chi-fung made the list.

As chief executive, the US business magazine said, Leung “signs bills into law, issues executive orders, appoints and removes judges and other public officials, and pardons convicted criminals. He’s the leader — except that last fall well over 100,000 Hong Kongers chose dramatically not to follow him.

“When they learned that the 2017 election for Leung’s position would not be free and democratic, as authorities had previously suggested, they poured into the streets and followed Joshua Wong, then 17, who had started a pro-democracy student group.” 

The magazine went on to say: “Leung, 60, commanded a vast city administration, including police wielding pepper spray and truncheons. Wong had a cellphone.

“Yet the protesters paralyzed Hong Kong for three months, Leung’s already low approval ratings plunged to their lowest ever, and Wong landed on the cover of Time’s Asia edition, which called him the ‘Voice of a Generation’.”

Fortune, which is also published by Time Inc., said: “So who’s the real leader? The answer is obvious: Leung has the leader’s job, but he doesn’t have leadership.

“Wong is the one who demonstrated that — which is why he’s the one on our 2015 roster of the World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.”

The co-founder of the student group Scholarism “was one of the most compelling figures in Hong Kong’s pro-democracy ‘Umbrella Revolution’ last year. His nonviolent protest message and energetic idealism galvanized crowds that, over months, numbered in the hundreds of thousands.”

Fortune placed Wong at No. 10 on the list, which is topped by Apple chief executive Tim Cook. 

The runners-up are European Central Bank chief Mario Draghi and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Pope Francis and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi round out the top five.

China also contributes former NBA star Yao Ming (26th), Xiaomi founder and chief executive Lei Jun (29th) and JD.com founder and chief executive Richard Liu Qiangdong to the list.

When they’re done gnashing their teeth, Leung’s supporters may note that the list appears in Fortune’s April 1 issue.

[Go to Fortune]

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