Michael O'leary

CEO -- Ryanair -- Ireland

Europe's air-travel industry is among the world's most hidebound and overregulated. But Michael O'Leary, 39, is doing his utmost to change that. He calls it "taking on the rip-off artists." The former property developer and tax consultant took over bankrupt Ryanair in 1991. Now, the Dublin carrier boasts one of the industry's best profit margins: In 1999, when most European airlines struggled, Ryanair earned pretax profits of $51.8 million on revenues of $264 million.

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