14. NOBUKI EBISAWA (57, Japanese)
Chief officer of automobile design, Honda
Key cars: 1984 Honda Civic and 1998 Accord
Ebisawa doesn't play the flamboyant designer role -- he's more white lab coat, shirt, and tie (he's also the managing director of R&D). But, since 2009, he's had overall responsibility for the look of nearly four million Hondas every year. After joining the company back in 1977, he worked through Honda's early '80s "man maximum, machine minimum" design phase. Post-2000, the firm added a more emotional dimension, as witnessed in the superbly packaged Fit minicar, the radical European Civic hatchback, the aerodynamic FCX Clarity fuel-cell vehicle, and the wedgy CR-Z. In all, he's behind more independent-thinking, functional, and dynamic design than he is sometimes given credit for.