If you saw the recent boring-story-brilliantly-told called The Social Network, you might have come away with the notion that Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg deserves the Businessperson of the Year title. The movie's been a box-office smash, but evidently the voting public felt otherwise, electing Ford CEO Alan Mulally as their popular choice.
The online Reader's Choice contest is one of several criteria which Fortune magazine uses to select their honoree, and works in a playoff-like bracketed run-off. Mulally was pitted against Zuckerberg in the first round, but the social networking chief isn't the only tech guru vanquished by the auto exec along his rise to the top of the standings: Mulally also knocked off Apple's Steve Jobs, while his Indian counterpart Ratan Tata – who incidentally took Jaguar and Land Rover off Mulally's hands in his restructuring plan – beat out Twitter's Ev Williams. The noteworthy leaders of Amazon, WalMart, Berskshire Hathaway and DuPont were also eliminated along the way.
While the popular perception that Mulally succeeded where his Detroit compatriots failed surely weighed heavily, the victory was compounded by a campaign on Ford's part to drive voters to the Fortune contest: The business journal reports that over half the voters came directly from Ford.com.