NEW YORK — In a year in which terrorism, refugees and protests of many stripes dominated headlines, TIME magazine tapped German Chancellor Angela Merkel as its Person of the Year.
The German leader bested seven other finalists, namely Black Lives Matter activists, ISIS leader Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, transgender figure Caitlyn Jenner, Uber CEO Travis Kalanick, Russian President Vladimir Putin, Iranian President Hassan Rouhani and businessman-reality TV star-Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump.
In announcing the winner on NBC’s “Today Show” Wednesday, TIME Managing Editor Nancy Gibbs pointed to Merkel’s handling of a vast array of issues — including the European economic crisis tied to countries such as Greece, the flood of refugees into the continent from the Middle East and Africa and several deadly terrorist attacks in the region.
“No one was tested the way she was,” Gibbs said. “…She has stepped up in a way that was uncharacteristic, even for her.”
Merkel is the fourth woman to be named, individually, as TIME’s Person of the Year since Charles Lindbergh was the first to secure that honor in 1927. Last year, the New York-based magazine tapped those behind the fight against the Ebola virus for the same honor.
The German leader’s selection contrasts with the result of an online poll with the same eight contenders.
At the time the winner was announced on NBC, Baghdadi was the runaway winner in that online survey with some 64% of the vote. Trump was a distant second with about 18% support, with Putin placing third with around 11% support.
During the “Today Show” presentation, Gibbs ranked Baghdadi as the second contender, followed by Trump, Black Lives Matter activists and Rouhani.