There are no rules about creativity. Which made constructing our list of the 100 Most Creative People in Business a tricky task. We looked for dazzling new thinkers, rising stars, and boldface names who couldn’t be ignored. We avoided people we’ve profiled in the recent past. We emphasized those whose creativity addresses a larger issue — from the future of our energy infrastructure to the evolution of philanthropy to next-generation media and entertainment. So read on. Enjoy. Quibble. Complain.
Chief executive officer, Focus Features
Perhaps the only person in Hollywood who can rival Meryl Streep’s versatility is James Schamus. In addition to being a CEO, he’s a veteran screenwriter, Columbia University film professor, producer, marketer, distributor, and sometime composer. “There’s nobody else like him in the entire industry,” says Bill Mechanic, former chairman of 20th Century Fox Filmed Entertainment. “For a writer of his caliber to choose to be an executive is completely abnormal.” Schamus, 49, cofounded Focus in 2002. Known for its sophisticated and daring film slate, Focus produced Oscar winners Milk and Lost in Translation. Coming soon: Taking Woodstock, Schamus’s latest screenplay for director Ang Lee.
President of NBC Universal Cable
“We’re escapism,” Bonnie Hammer told The New York Times last year. Which might explain why the USA Network’s ratings have soared under her watch — its 2008 prime-time viewership was the largest ever for any basic-cable channel — and her products contributed more than $1 billion to NBC Universal’s profits last year. Hammer, 58, has a rep as a terrific programmer — Monk and Battlestar Galactica blossomed under her — and NBC Universal CEO Jeff Zucker recently put her in charge of a new production studio. In July, she’ll embark on another reinvention, turning the 17-year-old SciFi Channel into “Syfy.” She plans to extend the brand’s reach to online games and grow its audience. Her target: lovers of fantasy.
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