The GE veteran and one-time cod fisherman has led a remarkable turnaround at the industrial giant.
Cote (pronounced CO-tee) is an increasingly rare commodity in the business world: an independent thinker who's the antithesis of a slick, prepackaged CEO. The 59-year-old fills a room not because he's an imperial type who prizes pomp, but because he's a rough-hewn leader who demands accountability. Says Honeywell director Gordon Bethune, former CEO of Continental Airlines: "He took us from a disaster to a hell of a company. And he never beat his chest while he was doing it."