Position last year: 18
Pablo Isla begins his ascent back up the Top 100 ladder, after rising costs hit Inditex’s bottom line in 2014 and he slipped from number 8 to 18.
Group net sales at the Spanish behemoth, which owns Zara, Pull & Bear, Massimo Dutti, Bershka and Stradivarius, grew 17% year-on-year to €9.4bn (£6.9bn) in the first half of 2015 to July 31, while its net profit rose 26% to €1.2bn (£0.9bn). Like-for-like sales were up 7%.
Isla became chief executive of Inditex in 2005 and was promoted from deputy chairman to chairman in 2011, succeeding founder Amancio Ortega Gaona. Since then, he has overseen an accelerated programme of international expansion, investing heavily in emerging markets such as Asia. This decisive action has helped the group keep its head above water during the economic downturn and in the face of difficult trading conditions since.
In the first half of 2015, Inditex opened 94 new stores, bringing its total to 6,777 across 88 markets. Its growth seems to know no bounds, and Isla has earned his reputation as one the most successful CEOs in the world.