Theo Epstein tops Fortune's list of world leaders

It's one thing for Theo Epstein to be able to tell his peers he led the Cubs to a World Series championship, but it's another thing to have bragging rights on the pope.

Fortune named the Cubs president its No. 1 world's greatest leader — two spots ahead of Pope Francis.

Chicago's Chance the Rapper placed 46th on a top 50 list that includes CEOs, entertainers and politicians. 

Fortune writes, "The Cubs owe their success to a five-year rebuilding program that featured a concatenation of different leadership styles. ... But most important of all was the evolution of the club’s president for baseball operations, Theo Epstein, the wunderkind executive who realized he would need to grow as a leader in order to replicate in Chicago the success he’d had with the Boston Red Sox."

After Epstein, other notables in the top 10 include Gates Foundation co-chair Melinda Gates (4), Amazon founder Jeff Bezos (5), Director Ava Duvernay (6), national security adviser H.R. McMaster (7) and German Chancellor Angela Merkel (10). LeBron James, the second sports figure to make the list at No. 11, preceded Epstein's feat by ending the Cavaliers' (and Cleveland's) title drought last summer.

Some may question how Chance, still a relative neophyte compared to music moguls such as Jay-Z, cracked the list, but Fortune notes how his "Coloring book" mixtape became the first streaming-only recording to win a Grammy.

"Chance is also a political force as an antiviolence campaigner in his hometown of Chicago, and he may only be getting started," Fortune writes. "His latest salvo: A $1 million donation to Chicago Public Schools, after he called Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner to task for what Chance called Rauner’s neglect of educational funding."

plthompson@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @_phil_thompson

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