Mission: Impossible III

Jason Kilar

It’s going to be kill or be killed for Kilar, 36, who has to launch the NBC/News Corp. “YouTube killer” this month. The still-unnamed-at-press-time video hub will feature content from both companies’ huge video libraries and be distributed through AOL, CNET, Comcast, MSN, MySpace, and Yahoo. Kilar better have some Jack Bauer in him to survive the latest media wars.

Drew G. Faust
Harvard University

Faust, 59, enters her first fall term as the university’s 28th president when classes begin September 17. She’ll have to rely on the lessons of her Civil War scholarship to get the renowned-but-largely-independent grad schools to work together. As she pushes to make Harvard’s latest multibillion fund-raising goal, though, we’ll find out what kind of field general she’s going to be.

Stefan Jacoby
Volkswagen of America

Jacoby, 49, takes the wheel of the ailing car-maker on September 1. The former head of global marketing and sales is going to have to reach deep into his bag of tricks to turn the unit around. It lost $828 million last year and hasn’t been profitable since 2002. If he’s the guy who okayed the “unpimp mein auto” ads, then VW’s kaput.