Back in 2003, Brent Saunders took the biggest risk of his career. Then a young dad with a baby at home and a new house, Saunders walked away from a partnership at Pricewaterhouse Coopers, accepted a 66% salary cut, and started over again in the business world.
Smart move: Now CEO of Allergan (most famous for Botox), Saunders is following up the pharmaceutical giant’s blockbuster cosmetic drugs by introducing Kybella, the first FDA-approved injection to destroy double chins (OK, “submental fat”) without surgery. “It’s a stubborn area—even some guys who are quite fit have it,” says Saunders, who, at a fresh-faced 46, is one of the youngest Fortune 500 chief executives in the country. “I think it’s going to be a real door opener for men looking to enter the facial-aesthetics market.”
You won’t find much cellulite on him, though. When Saunders isn’t with his family or working on the next wonder drug— mental health is his next big focus—he’s at the gym by 5 a.m. for functional strength and cardio. Everything else, he says, is secondary.
“You can’t be great at everything,” he explains. “So you have to pick the most important things and do them exceedingly well with tremendous passion. Without sacrifice, you’ll never reach excellence.”