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, CNN reports.
The German leader bested seven other finalists, namelyBlack 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."
Easy choice, says correspondent
Speaking to CNN, TIME correspondent Karl Vick said the award was given each year to the newsmaker who, for good or ill, was considered to have had the greatest impact on world events.
"It's pretty easily Angela Merkel," he said, describing her as "the de facto leader of the European Union" by virtue of being leader of the EU's largest and most economically powerful member state.
Twice this year, he said, the EU had faced "existential crises" which Merkel had taken the lead in navigating -- first the Greek debt crisis faced by the Eurozone, and then the ongoing migrant crisis.
Germany led the way in welcoming migrants, committing to accepting 800,000 this year, far more than any other European country, and becoming the preferred destination for the migrants.
"Her response to that was extraordinary, and a lot of people say out of character, but really tectonic," said Vick.
"Once again you have the question of the future of Europe at play, and her at the helm."
Fourth female Person of the Year
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.
The 61-year-old former physicist was elected to Germany's parliament, the Bundestag, in 1990, and became the country's first female chancellor in 2005. In December 2013, she was sworn in for her third term in Germany's highest office.
Last year, the New York-based magazine tapped those behind the fight against the Ebola virus as its persons of the year.
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.
Merkel was third-to-last, ahead of only Jenner and Rouhani.
During the "Today Show" presentation, Gibbs ranked Baghdadi as the second contender, followed by Trump, Black Lives Matter activists and Rouhani.