"As I look across our enterprise, one eye is always on the microscope, driving results day to day, month to month, quarter to quarter. … The other eye is on the telescope, ensuring we're investing for the long-term prosperity."

About Thulin: He joined the 3M Sweden sales and marketing team in 1979 and spent the next 35 years in various management roles. Thulin, 61, led 3M's international surge from 2004 to 2011. He was named CEO and president of Maplewood-based 3M in 2012 and elected chairman three months later. Today, about 64 percent of 3M's revenue comes from outside the U.S. and 60 percent of its employees work beyond U.S. borders.

Personal file: Thulin grew up playing hockey in his birthplace of Malmo, Sweden. Enjoys skiing, hiking and skating. He and his wife, Helene, are U.S. citizens and reside in the Twin Cities.

What's big in 2015: In 2014, Thulin broke tradition, holding 3M's annual meeting outside of Minnesota for the first time — in Austin, Texas. Thulin also surprised Wall Street with news that 3M could pursue multibillion-dollar acquisitions for the first time. Under Thulin's leadership, 3M's stock bolted from $123 to $162 a share this year and blew past the $100 billion market cap threshold for the first time. This year, construction is well underway for 3M's new $150 million R&D Center on its Maplewood campus.

Final word: "Three strategic levers are strengthening our foundation for the future. The first is portfolio management. … The second lever is investing in innovation. Innovation is the heartbeat of 3M. … The third lever is business transformation."