To commemorate its launch in 1989, CNBC today ranked the most influential business and financial leaders from the past 25 years. Topping the list in the number one spot is Apple’s own “iVisionary” Steve Jobs.
Steve Jobs was recognized by CNBC not only for his work at Apple, but also for his influence on the wider culture both in business and in people’s personal lives.
His creative genius revolutionized not just his industry and its products, but also everything from music and movies to smartphones. He provided a platform for others to create and distribute apps, bringing innovation and change to an even wider sphere. Apple’s co-founder tops our anniversary list of the 25 most transformative leaders, icons and rebels of the past-quarter century. More than any other member of our group of extraordinary entrepreneurs and executives—all outstanding leaders—his vision spurred changes far beyond his industry and put an indelible stamp on the wider culture.
When assembling the list, the editorial board at CNBC focused on business, eliminating politicians and government leaders from its top 25. They considered only those business men and women who were transformative both in their own field and beyond. Though most are well-known billionaires, the list was not based on personal financial success or popularity.
We made the decision early on to eliminate heads of government and state from our deliberations. This is a list, after all, about business people, not politicians. It’s about the men and women who, for better or worse, have had the most transformative effect on commerce, finance, markets, human behavior and global culture over the past 25 years. So out went Bill Clinton, Angela Merkel, Jiang Zemin, Hu Jintao, Lee Kuan Yew and Vladimir Putin. In came Oprah.
Also included on the list are other notable technology leaders including Microsoft’s Bill Gates at number two, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos at number five, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg at number eight and Google’s trio of Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, who collectively share the number four spot.
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