Paolo Cantarella

When Italy's Fiat picked its new CEO in early 1996, PAOLO CANTARELLA, 52, was the only real contender. As head of its key car unit since 1990, he had turned a loss-making clunker into a sleek profit machine. And Cantarella's bold move to build a "world car" for emerging markets ahead of rivals is paying off. Now, he'll try to work his magic in the rest of Fiat's $53 billion robots-to-real estate empire.

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