23. Michael Francis

Published on .

AD BUDGET: $904.1 million

AGENCIES INCLUDE: Interpublic's R/GA, N.Y. Minneapolis agencies Fame, Peterson Milla Hooks, Haworth.

POWER PLAY: Michael Francis, 42, sits in what's arguably the most coveted marketing seat in retail. With Wal-Mart Stores, six times its size, copying some of Target's strategy, and PR buzz galore around the recent ad buyout of a New Yorker issue, the experimentation and constant aim to be different never stop.

DOWNSIDE: With the lack of a unionized work force (just like Wal-Mart) and a tough negotiating stance with vendors (just like Wal-Mart), might Target be a target itself for organized labor groups? Another challenge might be Wal-Mart's stated strategy to court more upscale shoppers, al la Target. If you've already conceded price, what do you concede if Wal-Mart catches up with design and fashion?

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