who to follow
Chief executive, OneShift George, 24, founded online employment agency OneShift with her father three years ago. The business specialises in finding people casual jobs but has since expanded into other labour market niches such as older workers. She has had no qualms about taking on old-school players. She has combined a down-to-earth attitude with a desire for constant improvement. “Test-fail-learn” is one of her mottos. Whatever happens she will never stand still.
WHY: Young entrepreneur
Chairman and chief executive, Dow Chemicals; director, IBM A 39-year veteran of Dow, Darwin-born Liveris studied chemical engineering at the University of Queensland, then joined Dow in Melbourne. He became chief executive in 2004. Liveris regularly meets with world leaders, including China’s Xi Jinping and US president Barack Obama. He has been active on US and Australian government task forces. His strategic thinking, global approach and diplomatic skills are critical to the company’s success.
WHY: Global leader
Chief executive, Wesfarmers Goyder has run Australia’s largest conglomerate for the past decade. The group owns supermarket chain Coles, Bunnings, Target, Kmart and Officeworks and employs more than 200,000 people. Goyder, who took a risk in 2007 with a $20bn bid for a run-down Coles, made the deal work in the face of heavy criticism. He has a record of identifying high-level managerial talent and giving his executives the space to manage their businesses. He has won respect for being a fair-minded, steady CEO who oversees a major conglomerate from Perth.
WHY: Long-term CEO
Founder, Boost Juice Allis led an adventurous life before becoming a mother of four, working in a number of jobs including publishing. In 1999, while in the US she saw the fresh juice and smoothie business was flourishing. Keen to start her own operation, she opened a juice bar in Adelaide. Since then she has expanded and has moved into new food areas with Salsa’s Fresh Mex Grill, Cibo and Hatch. Her parent company, Retail Zoo, has a turnover of more than $223m with more than 350 stores in 17 countries including Singapore and Estonia. A tireless marketer, Allis now appears with Yellow Brick road founder Mark Bouris on the Network Ten show Shark Tank giving advice to would-be entrepreneurs.
WHY: Can-do marketer
Founder and chief executive, Platinum Asset Management. The fund manager moved to Australia in 1984 from South Africa to work with Bankers Trust. He founded Platinum Asset Management in 1994 with backing from international investor George Soros. Platinum was one of the first Australian based investment funds to focus solely on offshore investing. Neilson quietly built his business into an international investment giant with $25bn in funds under management. He listed 20 per cent of his company near the top of the last stock market boom in 2007, making him a billionaire. His career has shown a steady focus on good value investments backed by detailed research.
WHY: Respected fund manager
Co-founder, PayPal; chief executive, Tesla Motors and SpaceX; chairman SolarCity South-African born Musk combines a passion for computers and technology with a vision for a more energy efficient world. His career has involved constantly trying new ventures from software to publishing to online payments. The half genius, half eccentric founder of launch vehicle company SpaceX and Tesla Motors has a grand vision to establish a colony on Mars and revolutionise the automotive industry with his electric cars. He co-founded SolarCity, which has become one of the largest providers of solar power in the US. His career shows that an intense ideological passion and a strong technical background can be a major factor in modern entrepreneurship.
WHY: Visionary entrepreneur
Media proprietor, talk show host, actress, and producer Born into a poor family in the American south, Winfrey used energy, personality and dynamism to develop her career as a television talk show host. She differentiated herself from her male competitors by being able to discus her feelings and problems on air. Her frank, personal style, including discussion of her weight problems, built a huge following with female viewers and made her one of the wealthiest African-American entrepreneurs. She formed her own production company and has bought a 10 per cent stake in struggling Weight Watchers International.
WHY: Becoming your own brand