Saying that Minneapolis Police Chief Janeé Harteau’s handling of turmoil in the city “has made her a leadership role model,” Fortune magazine on Thursday ranked her No. 22 on its annual list of the “World’s 50 Greatest Leaders.”
“Over the past 18 months, Harteau has endured the kinds of challenges that every chief dreads,” the national business magazine said in releasing its fourth-annual ranking Thursday. “Growing tension with the police union. A spike in overall crime rates. And most challenging of all: the fatal shooting by police of an African-American man, Jamar Clark, under dubious circumstances that prompted an 18-day protest organized by Black Lives Matter.”
The magazine went on to say that she “weathered these woes with the steadiness that has made her a leadership role model. A 30-year veteran and the city’s first female and first gay police chief, Harteau is the mind behind MPD 2.0, a drive to build trust in the community by putting more cops on the beat. Civic leaders credit her for dismissing cops for misconduct.
“The officers involved in the Clark shooting were not indicted, but local prosecutors are rethinking the use of secret grand juries in police-involved killings — a victory for the transparency that both Harteau and protesters favor. And Minneapolis was one of the few major U.S. cities to report a significant decline in homicides in 2016.”
In a statement, Harteau said she feels honored and “frankly” finds it “hard to believe, that my name was placed on a list with so many people who have done such important work.”
“This honor really belongs to every member of the MPD team,” she said. “They have embraced MPD 2.0 alongside many of our community leaders, which has allowed us to help lead the national discussion on 21st century and community policing.”
Fortune’s praise for Harteau comes just three days after the release of a federal report that concluded that a rift between her and Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges led to a communication breakdown that prevented the city’s response to a weekslong occupation of the Fourth Precinct following Clark’s November 2015 death.
The report, released by the U.S. Department of Justice’s COPS Office, said Hodges, City Council members and other political figures undermined Harteau’s authority and that their disagreements caused confusion and frustration in police ranks, resulting in unauthorized uses of force and even some officer insubordination.
But on Thursday, Hodges had nothing but congratulations for the chief.
“I think the fact the chief, with me, asked for that after-action assessment is a sign of her courage and leadership, not a way to question it,” Hodges said Thursday night. “I’m really grateful people recognize her leadership and service. ... I couldn’t be more proud. Way to go, chief. Good for her. I’m just so excited for her.”
Lt. Bob Kroll, president of the Minneapolis Police Federation, had a different reaction. “Not to discredit the chief, but I question the criteria they list to place her there,” he said.
The list, the magazine cautioned, ranks the recipients within their respective fields, not against each other. The rankings dip into many elements of society, from heads of government and religion to entertainers, athletes and corporate executives.
“In business, government, philanthropy and the arts, and all over the globe, these men and women are transforming the world and inspiring others to do the same,” the magazine wrote in its introduction to the list.
Everyone on the list shares “three lessons they teach,” the magazine explained: “Acknowledge reality and offer hope,” “Bring followers physically together” and “Build bridges.”
Also on Fortune’s list are Pope Francis, film director Ava DuVernay, U.S. Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts, former Vice President Joe Biden, singer Shakira, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and Chance the Rapper. President Donald Trump is not on the list.
Nominations came from the following panelists: Chip Bergh, Levi Strauss & Co.; Christy Turlington Burns, Every Mother Counts; Jean Case, Case Foundation; Arianna Huffington, Thrive Global; Walter Isaacson, The Aspen Institute; Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Global Alliance for Vaccines and Immunization; Thomas Kolditz, Doerr Institute; Rice University; Michael Porter, Harvard Business School; Joey Reiman, BrightHouse; Judith Rodin, Rockefeller Foundation; Michael Schlein, Accion International; Dov Seidman, LRN; Rick Wartzman, Drucker Institute; and the Fortune staff.
Staff writer David Chanen contributed to this report.