The competition between businesses changes every day, mirroring the affairs between the nations they are set in. Similar to countries competing for power and impact around the world, businesses influence the pace and direction of globalization now more than ever.
Although a company’s sole purpose is to make a profit, wealth was never the sole driving force behind its growth or survival. Instead, successful companies rely on intelligence and creativity in the face of competition. Quotes from America’s past successful business leaders almost never attribute wealth to success, and instead cite innovation as the key to survival and power.
Henry Ford, for example, said, “The only real security that a man can have in this world is a reserve of knowledge, expectance, and ability.”
Today, intelligence and creativity are often trump cards in the marketplace. Instead of providing physical goods, many companies now reinvent products on digital platforms. A book can now be read and shared online instead of in print, for example. As a result of the new digital realm, information and its derivative goods have only become more prevalent in business, while physical products and money have not always kept pace.
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Below is Newsmax’s list of the 100 most influential business leaders in America. This list takes into account each candidates’ net worth, the company’s brand value, and the positions in both their relevant industries as well as the global business market. For the purposes of this ranking, the leaders themselves don’t necessarily have to be American born, but instead must lead businesses that are U.S.-based. Furthermore, influential business leaders do not necessarily need to hold the position of CEO.
1. Warren Buffett, Berkshire Hathaway Inc. — Referred to as the Oracle of Omaha, Buffett is the CEO of diversified holding company Berkshire Hathaway Inc., and is the third-richest man in the world. Although Buffett’s position is not a major source for job creation, he has continued to inspire and influence the worldwide economic market with his trading approaches. Buffett’s net worth is estimated at $65.7 billion, and he was listed as the 14th-most powerful person in the world in a recent Forbes ranking.
2. Rupert Murdoch, News Corp and 21st Century Fox — Although Murdoch recently announced he would be stepping down as CEO of 21st Century Fox, he will still hold power and influence in the company as executive chairman. Murdoch is also CEO of News Corp, which succeeded News Corporation. In the past, he’s been named by Fortune as the second-most powerful person in business, whose assets include media outlets such as the New York Post, Fox Broadcasting company, The Wall Street Journal, and multiple successful news publications spanning in Australia, America, Europe, and Asia.
3. Larry Page, Google — CEO and one of the co-founders of Google, Page is in charge of the most powerful and influential company on the Internet today. Ranked No. 3 in the world by Forbes for most valuable brands, Google generates some 2 million Internet searches per second. Page has taken the simple idea of a search engine company and maximized its market and projects to engender ambitious new technological advances such as Google Glass and driverless cars. Along with being one of the world’s richest men, Page also has a staggering 96-percent approval rating among employees at Google, according to Glassdoor.com. While balancing employee happiness along with ambitious creative projects, Page has managed to continue to increase Google’s profits, with its net income rising 17 percent to $3.93 billion in the recent three months leading, according to the BBC.
4. Tim Cook, Apple — CEO of the most valuable brand in the world, according to Forbes, Cook has continued to show leadership in the revolutionary tech company. Filling the shoes of American tech pioneer Steve Jobs after his death in 2011, Cook did not stumble in his new position as CEO, but continued to direct Apple in the direction of the future. Under Cook’s direction, the tech giant has broken into two additional markets including smart watches and music streaming services. The Apple Watch is popular among politicians and celebrities, while Apple Music is cruising up to compete with streaming giant Spotify.
5. Jeff Bezos, Amazon — Founder and standing CEO of Amazon.com, Bezos revolutionized how the entire world shops online. In addition to serving as the largest online retail outlet in the world, according to Forbes, Amazon has made its way into many different markets. Under Bezos’s direction, Amazon now sells tablets, video-streaming services, and is also experimenting with drone-based delivery methods. The company’s use of advertisement on delivery boxes is another advance in the field of commercial advertising as well.
6. Sheldon Adelson, Las Vegas Sands Corporation — With a fortune estimated by Forbes to be around the $28 billion mark, Adelson is an investor, philanthropist, business magnate, and chairman and CEO of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation. His company operates Las Vegas’ The Venetian Resort Hotel Casino and the Sands Expo and Convention Center, as well as the Marina Bay Sands in Singapore. He is also a well-known name in the Republican Party, gaining influence over the years as a result of his generous donations.
7. Charles and David Koch, Koch Industries — The Koch brothers run the family business, the second largest privately owned company in the country. With Charles as chairman and CEO and David as executive vice president, Koch Industries hauled in an estimated revenue of $115 billion, according to Forbes. The Koch brothers are also well known as political mega-donors, offering up more than $100 million to fund right-wing causes. They were once dubbed by The New Yorker as “the billionaire brothers who are waging a war against Obama.”
8. Steve Schwarzman, The Blackstone Group — As co-founder and CEO of the global private equity and financial advisory firm The Blackstone Group, Schwarzman has an estimated fortune of $12.9 billion, according to Forbes. He is highly involved in philanthropic causes, donating $100 million to expand the New York Public Library and giving $150 million to Yale University earlier this year, The New York Times reported.
9. Jack Welch, General Electric — Retired businessman Jack Welch was CEO and chairmen of General Electric from 1981 to 2001. During his career at the company, GE’s value rose 4,000 percent, according to TheRichest.com. GE’s revenue grew from $25 billion to $130 billion while Welch was with the company, according to Business Insider.
10. Satya Nadella, Microsoft — Inheriting a massive company from outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer, Nadella has brought some of the magic back to Microsoft’s onetime renaissance under founder Bill Gates. Although he is still young in his position as CEO, Nadella has acted quickly to bring Microsoft up-to-date by cutting ties with Nokia and creating apps that operate with Linux and Mac to tap into the markets of the Android and iPad devices. It’s a quick shift in direction from Nadella that makes Microsoft the second-most valuable brand in the world, according to Forbes.
11. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook — After the film “The Social Network” pushed him into the international spotlight, the Facebook co-founder and CEO only continued to rise in popularity. Named one of the youngest billionaires by Forbes with a net worth of $34 billion, 31-year-old Zuckerberg’s influence will only continue to grow. Facebook is ranked No. 10 on the list of the world’s most valuable company brands, according to Forbes.
12. Lloyd Blankfein, Goldman Sachs Group — CEO of investment banking firm Goldman Sachs Group, Blankfein manages $911.5 billion, and was named the 27th-most powerful person in the world, according to Forbes. Blankfein was also named the third most powerful person in business by Fortune in the past.
13. Rex Tillerson, Exxon Mobil — President and CEO of the world’s largest publicly traded oil company, Tillerson led Exxon Mobile to $4.9 billion in profits within it first quarter beating previous expectations. Tillerson was ranked as the 20th-most influential person in the world, according to Forbes.
14. Brian Roberts, Comcast Corporation — In addition to serving as the chairman and CEO of Comcast, Roberts personally controls 33 and 1/3 percent of the voting rights of the company. He also chairs the board of directors of the National Cable & Telecommunications Association. The attempted $45 billion acquisition of Time Warner Cable may not have worked out, but Comcast has a renewed commitment to revamping its business in order to ensure it stays the largest cable company in the United States.
15. Paul Singer, Elliott Management Corporation — As the founder and CEO of hedge fund Elliott Management Corporation, Singer oversees more than $25 billion, according to Forbes. He ranks No. 16 on the Forbes list of highest-earning hedge fund managers and traders, and has an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion. Singer is also active in the political and philanthropic arenas, donating to the Republican Party and even serving on the Honorary Delegation to accompany President George W. Bush to Jerusalem in 2008.
16. Larry Ellison, Oracle — Ellison, a computer programmer and entrepreneur, is a cofounder and CEO of software manufacturer Oracle Corporation. Under Ellison’s leadership, the company has been able to out-sell IBM, making it the second-largest software vendor. It raked in $29.6 billion in software revenue alone in 2013, according to PC World. Oracle Corporation now competes just under Microsoft, which continues to hold the spot of the largest software vendor. Ellison is the fifth-richest man in the world according to Forbes, with a $54.3 billion net worth.
17. Donald Trump, The Trump Organization — Trump’s accomplishments and image span from his real estate company to his successful television show to his very own board game. Trump is not just a person, but a brand, and now that brand is running for president. Since announcing his candidacy earlier this summer, Trump has promised to take his business expertise and apply it to America as a whole. Although some of Trump’s businesses have filed for bankruptcy in the past, according to Vanity Fair, the billionaire has time and time again overcome any fiscal danger and turned his companies around. With Trump’s net worth at more than $10 billion, he has certainly made himself into a household name. Trump is currently ahead in the polls for the Republican nomination for president with 32 percent of the vote, according to a September CNN/ORC poll.
18. Bill Gates, Microsoft, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation — Gates was ranked the seventh-most powerful person in the world by Forbes. Gates is also known as the richest person on the planet with a net worth estimated at $78.5 billion.
19. Michael Bloomberg — Successful businessman and former New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg shares experience in politics and business alike. Bloomberg was named the richest person in New York state with an estimated net worth of more than $33 billion, according to Business Insider. Bloomberg currently owns 88 percent of his company Bloomberg LP, which he started in 1981.
20. Wilbur Ross — An investor and businessman who made his billions advising bankruptcies and restructuring flailing companies, Ross is a force in the steel, coal, telecommunications, foreign investments, and textiles industries. He spent 25 years with Rothschild Inc’s bankruptcy practice and then founded investment firm WL Ross & Co in 2000. It was acquired by Invesco in 2006. He has spent the recent years turning around troubled banks, first the Bank of Ireland and then the Bank of Cyprus.
21. Jeff Immelt, General Electric — CEO of the ninth-most popular brand in the world, according to Forbes, Immelt and GE manufacture everything from jet engines to medical equipment. Immelt has been with the company since 1982.
22. Doug McMillon, Wal-Mart — CEO of Fortune’s No. 1-ranked business out of 500, McMillon got his start at Wal-Mart unloading boxes on the loading docks, according to Business Insider. He is also ranked as the 29th-most powerful person in the world, according to Forbes.
23. Muhtar Kent, Coca-Cola — CEO of the third-most valuable brand in the world, Kent manages Coca-Cola, which is widely known as the best-selling soft drink in the world, according to The Huffington Post.
24. John Chambers, Cisco — Although he stepped down from CEO to executive chairman last month, Chambers has served as CEO of Cisco for 20 years. During his reign, the CEO made Cisco one of the most respected companies worldwide, ranking No. 15 on Forbes’ list of most valuable brands in the world.
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25. Carly Fiorina- HP and potential 2016 GOP presidential nominee — Fiorina climbed the ranks as an executive at AT&T and then Lucent Technologies, Inc. before becoming CEO of Hewlett-Packard in 1999. As the first woman to lead a top 20 company, Fiorina oversaw HP’s massive merger with Compaq — one of the largest tech mergers in history, according to Forbes. She has now moved on to politics and, thanks to a recent bump in the polls, has secured a place in the second Republican debate schedule for Sept. 16.
26. Ginni Rometty — CEO of IBM
27. Indra Nooyi — Chairman and CEO of Pepsi Co
28. Evan Spiegel — CEO of Snapchat
29. Mary Barra —CEO of General Motors
30. Elon Musk — CEO of SpaceX, Tesla, and SolarCity
31. Bob Iger — Chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company
32. Steve Easterbrook — CEO of McDonald’s Corp
33. Howard Schultz — Chairman and CEO of Starbucks
34. Jamie Dimon — Chairman, president, and CEO of JPMorgan Chase
35. Randall Stephenson — Chairman and CEO of AT&T
36. Gary Kelly — CEO of Southwest Airlines
37. Brian Moynihan — CEO of Bank of America
38. Sam Zell — Chairman of Equity Group Investments
39. James McNerney — Chairman and CEO of Boeing
40. Kenneth I. Chenault — CEO of American Express
41. Jack Dorsey — Co-founder of Twitter and Square
42. Carlos Brito — CEO of Anheuser-Busch InBev
43. Meg Whitman — CEO of Hewlett-Packard Company (HP)
44. Marissa Mayer — CEO of Yahoo
45. Michael Corbat — CEO of Citigroup
46. Mark Parker — CEO of Nike
47. Mort Zuckerman — Co-founder, executive chairman, former CEO of Boston Properties, as well as owner and publisher of the New York Daily News
48. John G. Stumpf — CEO of Wells Fargo
49. Lowell C. McAdam — CEO of Verizon Communications
50. Ken Langone — Co-founder of The Home Depot
51. Gerald Hassell — CEO of The Bank of New York Mellon
52. Sergio Marchionne — CEO of Chrysler Group LLC
53. Richard Davis — CEO of U.S. Bancorp
54. Mark Fields — CEO of Ford Motor Company
55. Richard Anderson — CEO of Delta
56. Frederick Smith — CEO of FedEx
57. Greg Creed — CEO Yum! Brands
58. Brian Krzanich — CEO of Intel
59. Richard Fairbank — CEO of Capital One
60. Stuart Gulliver — CEO of HSBC
61. W. Craig Jelinek — CEO of Costco
62. Douglas Oberhelman — CEO of Caterpillar Inc.
63. David Abney — CEO of United Parcel Service (UPS)
64. Alex Gorsky — CEO of Johnson & Johnson
65. Doug Parker — CEO of American Airlines
66. John Donahoe — CEO and president of eBay
67. Thomas Montag — COO of Bank of America
68. Michael Dell — CEO of Dell
69. Charles R. Schwab — Founder of Charles Schwab
70. Ellen Kullman — CEO and Chairman of DuPont
71. Leslie Moonves — CEO of CBS
72. Robert Marcus — CEO of Time Warner Cable
73. Joseph Hooley — CEO of State Street Corporation
74. James Smith — CEO of Thomson-Reuters Corporation
75. John Bilbrey — CEO of The Hershey Company
76. Alan Lafley — CEO of Procter & Gamble
77. Ajaypal Banga — CEO of MasterCard
78. Abigail Johnson — CEO of Fidelity Investments
79. David Abney — CEO of United Parcel Service (UPS)
80. Reed Hastings — CEO of Netflix
81. Dan Schulman — President of PayPal
82. Oprah Winfrey — Founder and CEO of OWN
83. Jeff Weiner — CEO of LinkedIn
84. Steve Feinberg — CEO of Cerberus Capital Management
85. Carol Meyrowitz — CEO of TJX Cos
86. Charles Scharf — CEO of Visa Inc.
87. Marillyn Hewson — CEO of Lockheed Martin
88. Timothy Mayopoulos — CEO of Fannie Mae
89. Samuel R. Allen — CEO of John Deere
90. Melinda Gates — Co-founder of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation
91. Gary Cohn — President and COO of Goldman and Sachs Group
92. Brian Cornell — CEO of Target
93. Robert Niblock — CEO of Lowe’s
94. John Wren — CEO of Omnicom Group
95. Kevin Ryan — CEO of Gilt Groupe
96. Tim Armstrong — CEO of AOL
97. Shellye Archambeau — CEO of MetricStream
98. John Wendell Thompson — CEO of Virtual Instruments and Chairman of Microsoft
99. Martha Stewart — Chairwoman of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
100. Brady Dougan — CEO of Credit Suisse