Fortune Magazine is out with its annual world’s greatest leaders list, and some of the selections—and snubs—might surprise you.
The magazine’s bar for the list is “leadership within their professional domains, industries, or fields of service or governance.”
With that, Taylor Swift was selected number six: “She has proved shrewder at honing a brand in the social media age than virtually any other person or company,” Forbes writes. “And she’s done it without resorting to dumbed-down salacious gimmickry. (Swift, ahem, is arguably the anti–Miley Cyrus.)”
Swift ranks ahead of such leaders as Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts (#8); GM CEO Mary Barra (#9); Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz (#17); Facebook CEO (#25); Amazon CEO (#27) and Jimmy Fallon (#45).
Most actual world leaders—presidents, prime ministers, etc.—were missing from the list; one noticeable snub was President Obama, who was left off the list for the second straight year.
Fortune defended its decision in a piece Thursday: “Why Obama isn’t on Fortune’s World’s Leaders List.”
“This isn’t a political statement,” Allan Murray wrote. “I voted for Barack Obama in 2008 largely because of his call to unite blue states and red states behind a politics of hope. But it hasn’t happened. At home our politics are as divided—and our federal government is as dysfunctional—as they were when he took office.”
He went on to explain that defenders of the president will argue Obama had no choice to abandon unity in the face of unyielding partisanship from the opposition and the 24/7 social media machine: “But at Fortune we don’t buy this argument,” he continued, going on to explain why the people who made Fortune’s list are superior
“To be sure, most of them haven’t faced the kind of complex political and geostrategic challenges that President Obama faces. But each, in his or her own way, has been through the crucible of leadership and triumphed. Each has mastered context. Together, their stories give us hope.”