Fortune’s list of the top 50 executives is out and Starbucks CEO Howard D. Schultz was named as the 2011 Businessperson of the Year. It has been a rough year for many businesses with an unstable economy and the recent backlash against Wall Street and the corporate world but this is where Shultz shined. He was able to combine ideas that are good for business with political activism and this was why Fortune awarded Schultz the top honor this year.

“Since returning to Starbucks in 2008, Fortune's 2011 Businessperson of the Year has restored the iconic company he founded and taken it to new heights, posting record revenue and profits. Schultz distinguished himself in another way in 2011, taking steps to raise funds for job creation and to fight political dysfunction in Washington. The White House paid attention.” Source:

Looking back at 2011, Schultz and Starbucks did have a good year. Here are just a few of the company’s highlights from the past 10 months:

  • Starbucks launched the Jobs for USA program encouraging customers to donate $5 to help boost job creation.
  • Schultz invited the public to participate in a national call-in campaign to discuss political gridlock in Washington.
  • Proceeds from Schultz’s book, Onward: How Starbucks Fought for Its Life Without Losing Its Soul, will be donated to the Starbucks Foundation.
  • The Starbucks mobile payment app for iPhone and Blackberry devices was a huge hit with customers.

These are just a few of the reasons that Schultz rose to the top of the list this year. Read more about Schultz and the other 49 individuals being recognized by visiting the Fortune 2011 Businessperson of the Year gallery.