This adventure is from the August 11, 2003 issue of Fortune. It is the abounding argument of an article excerpted in Tap Dancing to Work: Warren Buffett on Practically Everything, 1966-2012, a Affluence Anniversary book, calm and broadcast by Carol Loomis.
The golf advance has been the date for some actually activating moments in business. Andrew Carnegie was on the links in 1901 aback he was abiding to advertise his ascendancy to J.P. Morgan, creating the aboriginal billion-dollar corporation, U.S. Steel. John D. Rockefeller was arena his claimed 12-hole advance aback told of the Supreme Court cardinal that broke up Accepted Oil. A d that took abode in mid-July in Sun Valley, Idaho, may not bout those two amateur in celebrated import, but it may accept set a new almanac for accumulated bread-and-er might. The players included the CEO of the world’s bigger company, the world’s best acknowledged investor, and the world’s ri man. Picture all that raw ascendancy accumulated into one battery-powered cart, and you accept the appropriate beheld to accessible this, Fortune’s Adeptness Issue.
Singling out “power” for a appropriate affair of Affluence is a bit like Sports Illustrated devoting an affair to “athletics.” Adeptness defines Affluence — it’s what we address about every issue, appropriate or not. Aback in 1929, artist Henry Luce was akin cerebration of allotment his new anniversary Power. While we’re beholden he anesthetized on that one (as able-bodied as Tycoon), Luce was assimilate something. Business, like golf, isn’t abandoned about adeptness — biconcave those putts counts too — but adeptness is in business’s soul.
People accede power’s attendance in agency we’re not akin acquainted of. Put two bodies in a room, analysis by Steve Ellyson of Youngstown Accompaniment University has found, and the beneath able one seeks added eye acquaintance while alert (See, I’m demography in aggregate you say, boss) and beneath eye acquaintance while speaking (I’m cogent my thoughts but am not a blackmail to you). The added able one, added studies show, tends to smile less, sits in weirder positions, and does added “steepling.” Touching one’s fingers calm in a aloft position — Sherlock Holmes and The Simpsons’ Mr. Burns both do it — turns out to be a ascendancy affectation that’s best almighty “right at eye level,” addendum Ellyson, “so one actuality has to attending through the other’s hands.”
It’s difficult to attending at Edward Steichen’s 1903 account of J.P. Morgan and not anticipate “power” and, probably, “menace.” The acclaimed image, in which the best able agent who anytime lived wields a biting scowl and what appears to be a aflame dagger, is a accurate trompe l’oeil: The artful is the metal handle of his chair, the scowl a cursory acknowledgment to Steichen’s requests. Yet akin adeptness of the apparition doesn’t adulterate its force. Actuality is Morgan — a man who controlled assets according to two-thirds of the nation’s achievement and stemmed a 1907 agitation by locking 50 bankers in his offices — accomplished as an basal force, his boring able abundant to allotment crowds.
But acquainted adeptness is one thing. Ranking it is another. Aback Affluence set out to actualize a account of the 25 best able bodies in business, our ambition was simple: to accommodate a snapshot of who controls the advantageous heights of the American economy. Our analogue of adeptness was straightforward: the adeptness to affect the behavior of added bodies — whether in a company, an industry, or the apple at large. The simple allotment appealing abundant concluded there. We anon came to accept the four abiding laws of the altitude of power.
Law One. Power, like gravity, can’t be empiric directly. Abandoned its furnishings can. If, for instance, your accumulated name is bargain acclimated as a verb (“Have you Googled him yet?”), it’s an adumbration you accept some power, but not affidavit positive. If it shows up in Eminem’s lyrics (“I watch TV/and Comcast cable”), you’re accepting closer. If you’re able to get Jack Grubman’s kid into Manhattan’s 92nd Street Y — now we’re in top 25 territory.
Law Two. Absolute power, admitting it may base absolutely, doesn’t abide in business. Instead, anybody exerts adeptness over addition else. The CEO who looks and acts like a captain of industry generally turns out to be a bound — to Wall Street, to pensions, to lawyers, and abnormally to the CEO’s own workers. The adeptness that subordinates ascendancy over their bosses, addendum West Point administration assistant Col. Thomas Kolditz, is commonly underestimated. “I was interviewing Iraqi prisoners of war,” he relates, “and best of them said that if their administration had approved to accomplish them fight, they’d accept attempt them.”
Law Three. Adeptness flows from a array of sources, as Samson (hair), Popeye (spinach), and Mao (barrel of a gun) could accept told us. There are those who are able amid the Able — Rasputins, headhunters, and Herb Allens — and those who change the behavior of the masses (Starbucks’ $3 coffee). There’s the adeptness of the advocate — the Napster that throws the d lath in the air aloof as your hotels on Boardwalk were authoritative money — and the adeptness of the chokeholder, who exacts accolade from all who canyon through his Gates. Afresh there’s that aberrant anatomy of adeptness accepted as “influence,” which is how Steve Jobs manages to bite aloft his company’s about on weight.
Law Four. Comparing Apples to Microsofts ain’t easy, which makes for a lot of awful active debate. (Also: anchor banging.) It’s like a d of rock-scissors-paper — rocks accident scissors, scissors cut paper, cardboard covers rocks. Which article is best to have? Well, is the best able person: (1) the megacompany CEO whom 100,000 advisers address as boss, (2) the band banker who cuts the megacompany’s amount in bisected whenever he assault his nose, (3) the economist whose account cautiously behest the band trader’s moves, or (4) Lockheed Martin (LMT) CEO Vance Coffman, who has abundant air adeptness to ionize all of the above? Rock, scissors, paper, Hellfire missile.
Picking through these intricate layers, one begins to see that the -thumping, Zeus-with-a-thundert angle of adeptness is abandoned the action version. “It’s an art form,” says the historian Robert Caro, “a blazon of adeptness that’s altered from any added blazon of genius.” Caro’s two massive biographies — of Lyndon Johnson and New York’s adept artist Robert Moses — are amid the best nuanced studies of adeptness anytime written. Both men were adamant in their afterward of it; Johnson as he ascended to administration in the Senate, Moses as he tore up accomplished swaths of burghal New York for his anchorage and bridges. And yet their methods were altered entirely. Johnson, addendum Caro, “saw every man as a tool,” application the allure of his personality to cull bodies aing abundant to accretion their weakness; already grasped, the weakness became the tool’s handle. The antisocial Moses — who hated to be affected — couldn’t see the advantage credibility in men’s psyches but formed the advantage credibility in New York’s political arrangement so single-mindedly that for 40 years and bristles mayors, he was untouchable. Caro recalls watching Moses angle with his pencil afore a behemothic map of New York: “He was like an artisan painting an absolute burghal and burghal arena — one with 21 actor or 22 actor bodies — and seeing it as a distinct canvas. But of all the paints he acclimated to acrylic that canvas, the best important was power. Afterwards that, none of it would accept worked.”
Caro’s capital point: “The accretion of adeptness is a artistic act.” It was a cliché that no one could advance the Senate; LBJ created a way to advance it. It was a cliché that New York was ungovernable; Moses invented a way to administer it. For that matter, it was a cliché that cipher could accomplish money in the computer business; Michael Dell begin a new way to do it.
After several circuit of centralized agitation about our adeptness list, two things became clear: first, that adeptness is a absolutely abysmal topic; second, that any account we appear would abet the aforementioned howls of beef and counterprotest that abounding our offices. (“How can the CEO of Pfizer not be in the top ten?!”) And yet in one breadth a aberrant amenity broke out: Aback it came to arch the list’s accomplished slots, there was article aing to unanimity. In fact, we’d narrowed the top three contenders to the leash who, accordingly (hand on the Bible here), were set to comedy golf in Sun Valley.
We had our three bigger fish. That larboard the question: Who’s the kingfish?
There’s no debating who runs the best able company. Lee Scott’s Wal-Mart is about-face about 20 industries at already and would apparently authorize for a atom on the UN Aegis Council if that body’s associates weren’t bound to “countries.” Yet Scott may additionally be the best dispensable of the three. Bill Gates, as advance academician in a aggregation powered by brainpower, is still Mr. Microsoft — and as Huck Finn adeptness accept said, he’s got a able lot of blooming amount to go with his gray. Yet the company’s $46 billion war is abandoned potential, abeyant adeptness unless it finds new behavior-changing agency to use it. Lately Microsoft has been analysis it out to investors as dividends.
Which brings us to our third golfer. Besides administering an ascendancy accepted as Berkshire Hathaway, Warren Buffett has his feel in a lot of important pies (Coca-Cola (KO), Gillette, the Washington Post Co. (WPO)) and a claimed affluence additional abandoned to Gates’. But the best arresting actuality about Buffett may appear from a contempo Duke University analysis of admission MBAs: Afterwards their own father, the actuality the graduates adore best — added than the President, added than the Pope, added than Gandhi — is Warren Buffett. That arresting adeptness gives him a adeptness of moral suasion that’s been fabricated all the stronger by his sparing use of it. It’s the adeptness to appearance the behavior of bodies far aloft his absolute adeptness abandoned through his words, and it’s added to Buffett’s angel as American capitalism’s actionable Lord Protector.
He’s got the rock, the scissors, and the paper. And now he’s got article else: the top atom on our list. —Jerry Useem
And now, for our account of the 25 best able bodies in business:
No. 1 Warren BuffettBerkshire Hathaway (BRKA)
The best able businessperson in America is abundantly chaste about his base in life. Sure, Warren Buffett enjoys some of the accouterment that appear from actuality the second-ri man in the world, such as winging about in one of his Netjets and arena arch with pal (and No. 2 on our list) Bill Gates. Mostly, though, the 72-year-old brushes a the angle that he is the Atlas of American business. “It absolutely aloof agency that if I do article dumb, I can do it on a actual big scale,” he says with his brand chuckle. “It agency you could add a lot of zeros to the losses.”
There haven’t been abounding of the latter. Buffett’s company, Berkshire Hathaway, has become an all-American juggernaut, with multibillion-dollar interests in aggregate from allowance — area Buffett is one of the world’s arch players — to newspapers, carpets, and cowboy boots. In cutting up admixture anniversary allotment of 21% over the accomplished 15 years (vs. the market’s 11%), Buffett has accepted himself the world’s greatest investor. As such, his access on stocks and the bazaar is unparalleled. Chat that Buffett is affairs or affairs assertive shares (be it actuality or fiction) will move a banal like a pinball, which is why he is extra-guarded aback it comes to discussing investments.
One of the few places area he does allocution about investments — his anniversary letter to shareholders — is far and abroad the best broadly apprehend admonition from a CEO in the world. Aback aloft Chinese President Jiang Zemin discussed the mystifying attributes of the U.S. banal bazaar with a visiting Bill Gates, Gates told him that there was absolutely abandoned one guy who accepted it: Warren Buffett. Gates added that aback he got aback to the U.S., he would accelerate Buffett’s best contempo anniversary address to him. Which he did. (No chat on whether Jiang is now continued BRK.)
What’s more, Buffett is afterwards catechism the world’s best approved agent by added CEOs who appetite guidance. “CEOs are amidst by bodies who are accepting paid,” says Buffett. “I’m accepting nothing, so I can accord them aloof advice.” Over the accomplished bristles years dozens of CEOs accept appear to Omaha to appointment the sage, including Accepted Electric’s Jeff Immelt (No. 7 on our list). “I’ve been there two or three times to allege with him and accept a steak,” says Immelt. “He’s the world’s best adroit investor, and I’m aggravating to aces his brain.”
The U.S. Congress hangs on Buffett’s words too. On May 20, aloof canicule afore assembly voted on the Bush tax bill, Buffett wrote an op-ed allotment in the Washington Post that acicular out what he perceived as the absurdity of eliminating taxes on dividends. The tax cut, Buffett argued, would mostly account the wealthy. Able being advancing from Buffett — able abundant to actuate assertive associates of Congress to baptize bottomward the final adaptation of the tax cut.
Quite simply, Buffett is admired and admired added than any added businessperson alive, not abandoned by others in business but by the accepted accessible as well. Now that’s power. —Andy Serwer
No. 2 Bill GatesMicrosoft (MSFT)
While Microsoft’s administrator and co-founder is no best CEO, he charcoal the world’s ri man (estimated net worth: able-bodied over $30 billion) and as arch software architect, he wields astronomic adeptness over how our computers behave. But it is his business accuracy that gives Gates, 47, the best clout. Added than anyone, he afflicted the economics of IT by creating software and accouterments standards that adapted computers into article products. Along the way he accomplished an able cartel in Microsoft’s primary business of operating systems software, and he asperous the best advancing federal antitrust claiming in decades. Now he’s out to change the apple addition way: by throwing billions at eradicating communicable diseases. —Brent Schlender
No. 3 Lee ScottWal-Mart (WMT)
Power isn’t a chat you’ll apprehend abundant about Wal-Mart. Huge concentrations of it alarm people, and any superpower apparent to be throwing its weight about is apt to lose some of it. Lee Scott (right) seems to accept this. But admitting his agilely low profile, the CEO of America’s bigger aggregation (No. 1 on the Affluence 500 list, with $247 billion in sales and about 1.4 actor employees) can’t advice but be a able man. True, he’s added the channeler of Wal-Mart’s adeptness than its source. It was artist Sam Walton (above left) and almsman David Glass (center) — the added two-thirds of retailing’s angelic leash — who congenital the apparatus and the adeptness basal it. But if you’re at the controls of the bigger starship in the galaxy, you are, by definition, a Adept of the Universe. —Jerry Useem
No. 4 Sandy WeillCitigroup (C)
He has orrated some of the bigger mergers in history, authoritative Citigroup the world’s bigger cyberbanking casework aing ($1 trillion-plus in assets, bazaar cap of $231 billion). And admitting Weill has absitively to footfall a as CEO aing year, he’s kept the administrator title, fabricated his right-hand man his backup and will advance a aing anchor on the aggregation until he leaves for acceptable in 2006 — accomplish that if he leaves for acceptable then. Beneath Weill, Citigroup has become the baron of one-stop shopping, consistently topping its aeon in lending, underwriting, and M&A advising. Weill and Citi accept appear beneath amazing authoritative scrutiny, but he still attracts a able crowd. He afresh threw himself a 70th-birthday affair at New York City’s Carnegie Hall. The accident drew a mayor, a governor, a Senator, and an ex-President. —Julie Creswell
No. 5 Rupert MurdochNews Corp. (NWSA)
His Fox TV network, which affectedness American Idol, is on a tear. His Fox News approach has a above U.S. admirers than CNN. Murdoch, 72, has annoyed up markets from satellites to newspapers wherever in the apple he has entered them. The absolute CEO doesn’t convenance or akin feign impartiality; he has fabricated his sons his successors, and he acquiescently uses his backdrop to advertise his own bourgeois agenda. Aback his contempo accretion of DirecTV, Murdoch has the adeptness to axle News Corp. agreeable into hundreds of millions of homes. Opponents of the FCC’s move to relax media affairs restrictions fabricated Murdoch the focal point of their campaign. As CNN artist and archrival Ted Turner has declared, “He’s the best alarming man in the world.” —Nicholas Stein
No. 6 Lee RaymondExxon Mobil (XOM)
Lee Raymond isn’t alms any apologies. He’s not talking up blooming fuels, rhapsodizing about addition activity in the year 2063, or waxing ecology about how his aggregation will advice break the botheration of all-around warming. What this man does is advertise oil — and accomplish money, lots of it, for shareholders. In the aboriginal analysis of 2003, Exxon Mobil acceptable $7 billion, added than alert what Microsoft and GE acceptable in the aforementioned period. Raymond’s adeptness goes aloft the numbers. For ten years the 65-year-old has run a aggregation that functions about as a nation-state, assault out deals with countries all over the apple (and animation criticism for ambidextrous with acid regimes in places like Angola and Indonesia). But with Exxon Mobil accepting consistently baffled the S&P 500 over the accomplished 15 years, and assertive to about-face in a banderole 2003, Raymond may never to accept to say he’s sorry. —Nelson D. Schwartz
No. 7 Jeff ImmeltGeneral Electric (GE)
When Jack Welch retired in 2001, Immelt won one of the toughest assumption battles anytime to become the ninth CEO of the badly admired 125-year-old accumulated giant, assault out such rivals as Bob Nardelli (now CEO of Home Depot (HD) and Jim McNerney (CEO of 3M (MMM)). Immelt has big shoes to fill, and he has been dealt a boxy hand. But he has alluringly coped with problems from a inclement abridgement to Wall Street demands for greater transparency. He ditched misfits like GE’s Japanese activity insurer and disconnected the once-opaque GE Capital into four units, appeasing investors. Meanwhile, he has maintained the courage of key businesses like NBC, which alcove 6.2 actor admirers every morning — added than any added arrangement — and snagged the U.S. rights to air the 2010 and 2012 Olympic Games. All this, and he’s abandoned 47. That agency he has 18 years to t up to Jack afore hitting GE’s acceptable retirement age. —Julie Schlosser
No. 8 Michael DellDell Computer (DELL)
Larry Ellison abandoned endorses his products. Carly Fiorina and Sam Palmisano ambition he’d abdicate animate so hard. In the 19 years aback Dell, 38, founded Dell Computer in his University of Texas abode room, he has exploited the Net and just-in-time accomplishment to fundamentally adapt a article business. He has accepted that annihilation his competitors can do, he can do cheaper. Dell — whose net account is estimated at added than $17 billion, authoritative him by far the ri self-made American beneath 40 — sells added PCs and workstations than anyone else. No admiration his methods are advised above industries and about the world. —Noshua Watson
No. 9 Hank GreenbergAIG (AIG)
Greenberg has been at the captain of AIG for 36 years. He congenital it into the world’s bigger allowance company: AIG’s net assets aftermost year was added than that of the top 18 U.S. property-casualty firms combined. Admitting he’s 78 now, Greenberg has hardly slowed down. In 2001 he abandoned abashed up China’s access into the WTO until he won his aggregation an absolution on foreign-ownership rules. (“He’s one of the abandoned bodies who can beating on the aperture of the Premier of China and accept the guy acknowledgment it,” says an analyst.) That aforementioned year he outmaneuvered Prudential U.K. to snag activity insurer American Accepted for $23 billion. Now he’s arrest the abomination system, lobbying Congress to bind the admeasurement of plaintiffs awards. Don’t bet adjoin him. —J.C.
No. 10 Bill GrossPIMCO
The Band Baron moves markets. As artist and arch advance administrator of money-management aing Pimco, Gross, 59, controls $360 billion in fixed-income assets — added than anyone abroad on the planet. His Total Return alternate armamentarium is bigger than Fidelity Magellan. Admitting that girth, Gross agilely plays all-around debt markets. Abundant of the cyberbanking apple follows his every move — admitting usually a footfall or two behind. Abandoned a rumor that he is affairs or affairs a area can actualize a frenzy. His accessible criticisms of the way companies like Accepted Electric use debt accept beatific banal prices plummeting. And his predictions that bonds will accord stocks a run for their money over the aing decade accept absorbed hordes of investors to the sector. It’s absolutely barefaced that they’d accept to this soft-spoken, yoga-practicing Californian: Gross has fabricated money for audience in 27 of the accomplished 30 years. —David Rynecki
No. 11 Hank McKinnellPfizer (PFE)
McKinnell, 60, is the accumulated world’s surgeon general. As CEO of the globe’s bigger biologic aggregation (Pfizer now has the third-largest bazaar assets afterwards Microsoft and GE), this able lobbyist holds amplitude over the world’s medical-research agenda. McKinnell is clumsily acceptable at authoritative revenue-enhancing deals too. He brought about Pfizer’s $84 billion alliance with Warner-Lambert in 2000 and $60 billion accretion of Pharmacia in 2002. Aback it comes to power, he says, he brand to advance it bottomward the ranks. “Quite generally I’m asked, ‘What are we activity to do about this or that?’ My acknowledgment is ‘Understand the eyes and ethics of the organization. Afresh you amount it out.’” —John Simons
No. 12 Franklin RainesFannie Mae
His résumé is abundant to affect ancient awe: Harvard undergrad, Rhodes scholar, Harvard Law, Lazard Frères partner, lath affiliate at Pfizer, PepsiCo (PEP), and AOL Time Warner, stints in both the Carter and Clinton administrations — including one as administrator of the Appointment of Administration and Budget at that bewitched (and fleeting) moment aback the nation’s accounts confused from arrears to surplus. But that’s not why Raines is on this list. Nor is he actuality because he’s a decidedly glamorous, dynamic, attention-grabbing CEO. Says the man himself: “What is it — a top 25? I should be 26.”
No, the 54-year-old makes the cut because he runs Fannie Mae, the government-agency-turned-corporate-juggernaut that is the affection of the American economy. Fannie Mae, with its $924 billion in assets, is the nation’s second-largest cyberbanking institution, abaft abandoned Citigroup. Added to the point, it dominates the mortgage bazaar that has kept the U.S. abridgement afloat for the accomplished two years. By affairs mortgages at a almanac pace, Raines and Fannie helped accompany ante bottomward to their everyman akin in 40 years. That kept the apartment bazaar activity able and angry an aberrant beachcomber of refinancing that pumped hundreds of billions of much-needed dollars into the economy. What’s more, Raines has auspiciously staved off new adjustment in the deathwatch of contempo accounting difficulties at Freddie Mac, Fannie’s adolescent brother. That may be, in the end, the best account of Franklin Raines’s power. Official Washington is abashed that, if it messes with his company, it will abort the apartment bazaar and with it the U.S. economy. How abounding added CEOs can say that? —Justin Fox
No. 13 Sam PalmisanoIBM (IBM)
He attenuated a amiable 92-year-old executive-management committee, asked the lath to cut his benefit and redistribute the money to others, and accomplished far bottomward the authoritative blueprint for alpha ideas. That adeptness complete like a accumulated bogie tale, but in actuality it’s a few pages out of the aboriginal affiliate in Sam Palmisano’s administration as CEO of the $81 billion behemoth. The 30-year aggregation vet — who took the reins aboriginal aftermost year — isn’t comatose on antecedent Lou Gerstner’s laurels. Instead, he thrives on afraid things up. Palmisano, 52, has snatched up PricewaterhouseCoopers’ consulting arm for $3.5 billion, allowance about-face Big Blue’s focus from affairs accouterments and software to affairs IT and consulting services. He has additionally promised to accommodate the IT apple with “on-demand” technology. If abandoned sales and banal achievement were better. —J.S.
No. 14 Craig BarrettIntel (INTC)
Computers congenital with his company’s semiconductors are alteration avant-garde activity added than any added product. What’s acceptable for Intel, one adeptness say, is acceptable for the world. And in chips, area $27-billion-a-year Intel is by far the ascendant force, CEO Barrett is the acknowledged industry ample in a way his illustrious antecedent Andy Grove never was. While Intel already abandoned congenital chips for PCs, Barrett, 63, is affective it adjoin powering all the world’s computers. Aback his aggregation accepted Linux, that operating arrangement became a bigger blackmail to Microsoft. Rare is the arch of accompaniment who hasn’t lobbied him. Each year Barrett visits 30 countries; in abounding he’s a top employer. His allegorical one-hour-of-sleep courage leads staffers to alarm those trips “death marches.” But few assignment harder — and with added appulse — to accumulate the world’s abridgement alive. —David Kirkpatrick
No. 15 A.G. LafleyProcter and Gamble (PG)
Since demography over P&G in 2000, this 56-year-old aloft Navy man and aggregation lifer has agilely skippered the $43 billion colossus aback to profitability. But you won’t apprehend him consistently aloof about it. Lafley’s backward mien, openness, and actuality accept admired him to Wall Street and advisers alike. “Despite his accomplishing annihilation to actualize it,” says CEO ascendancy Jeffrey Sonnenfeld, “a abrupt belief has developed up about him that’s about Jack Welch-like.” That adeptness explain why he sits on the boards of two of the bristles bigger companies in the country (General Motors and GE). His absolute adeptness is in his reach. Bristles billion bodies above 130 countries use the about 300 brands he controls, including Tide, Pampers, and Crest, two billion times a day. This year Lafley is ramming home the $7 billion accretion of German hair-care behemothic Wella, the bigger in aggregation history. —Matthew Boyle
No. 16 Ken LewisBank of America (BAC)
This easygoing 56-year-old possesses a simple but clumsily important affectionate of power: the adeptness to accomplish money. Lewis is a new-breed CEO. He doesn’t grandstand. He aloof agilely focuses on wringing profits out of the megabank (the third-largest bartering coffer in the country by assets, abaft Citigroup and J.P. Morgan (JPM)) that his larger-than-life antecedent Hugh McColl created in a affair of acquisitions. BofA’s banal has accepted 51% aback Lewis’s accession in April 2001. He grew balance 23% aftermost analysis by active big assets in mortgage and acclaim calendar banking. And he’s ablaze at sussing out what barter appetite (and will pay for). So what if Lewis doesn’t alluvium charisma? His investors like him aloof the way he is. —J.S.
No. 17 Sumner RedstoneViacom (VIA)
Let’s apprehend it for Sumner Redstone. He may abrasion cheap-looking sports coats, accept agitation administration acclaim for his company’s triumphs, and debris to name a successor. But the 80-year-old CEO doesn’t accept to adjourn to anybody. He owns $8 billion of Viacom banal (market cap: $77 billion), including abundant super-voting shares to ascendancy its lath of directors, not to acknowledgment assets like MTV, CBS, Paramount Pictures, and Simon & Schuster. And Redstone — who afresh affiliated a woman bisected his age — is assuming no signs of slowing bottomward as a dealmaker. He’s airtight up assets from debt-laden competitors like AOL (Comedy Central). Now he’s eyeing Vivendi’s Sci Fi Channel. But the best absorbing affair Sumner has done this year is accommodate a accord to accumulate Viacom’s admired COO Mel Karmazin — a guy with whom he has a abundantly aing accord — from jumping address (see No. 18). Investors swooned. Mel akin went to Sumner’s wedding. Now here’s the question: Can they accumulate abstention divorce? —Devin Leonard
No. 18 Ivan SeidenbergVerizon (VZ)
If anyone on this account could go disregarded in a roomful of big-name executives, it would be Ivan Seidenberg. What he lacks in brilliant power, though, he makes up in bazaar might. Seidenberg, 56, runs the nation’s tenth-largest company, accouterment mission-critical buzz curve to abounding genitalia of the U.S. government, the burghal of New York, and the New York Banal Exchange — not to acknowledgment dial-tone and cellular account to array of VIPs all over the country. His access extends far aloft telecom. Aback a altercation amid Viacom’s Sumner Redstone (No. 17) and Mel Karmazin became accessible aftermost summer, sources say it was Seidenberg, a longtime Viacom lath member, who abiding the admiral to dness their issues in private. That affectionate of adeptness absolutely should accomplish a awash allowance booty notice. —Stephanie N. Mehta
No. 19 Carly FiorinaHewlett Packard (HPQ)
The wire-service photo from the Apple Bread-and-er Forum’s contempo All-around Reconciliation Summit beside the Dead Sea in Jordan was a tutorial in power: Carly Fiorina aptitude in aing abaft Colin Powell, whispering in the Secretary of State’s ear. It’s a arena she repeats over and over: Carly schmoozing with President Bush on bread-and-er issues; Carly giving Tom Ridge an account on how to accommodate ample organizations; Carly authoritative antic baby allocution with Nelson Mandela. This is a all-around stateswoman masquerading as a Affluence 500 business executive, so able-bodied accepted that aloof her aboriginal name suffices. (She was born, by the way, as Carleton, a macho name anesthetized bottomward through ancestors of her father’s family.)
Fiorina, 48, does abundant added than globetrot. This aloft English teacher, the aboriginal nonengineer to run Hewlett-Packard, arguably started the alliance of the computer industry with the 2002 accretion of Compaq for $19 billion. Critics ridiculed her for the move — one bad PC business alloyed with addition bad PC business does not a acceptable PC aggregation make, they said — but she persevered in the face of a arduous actor battle. And whaddya know, with HP’s advantage convalescent and its banal amount assuredly inching over its pre-deal level, Fiorina is alpha to aftertaste vindication. With tech-industry alliance all the acerbity (think Oracle/PeopleSoft, Yahoo/Overture), she’s akin become article of a visionary. Says John Chambers (No. 21), CEO of Cisco Systems, area Fiorina has a lath seat: “She’s potentially one of the top CEOs of all America.” —Adam Lashinsky
No. 20 Stan O’NealMerrill Lynch
By axis once-softhearted “Mother Merrill” into a lean, beggarly high-margin apparatus — and by abyssal authoritative probes of its analysis assemblage — O’Neal adequate afterglow to one of the abundant names on Wall Street. His traders bang-up the bazaar as middlemen. His advance bankers are already afresh landing big-dollar deals. His 14,000-stockbroker army is capturing affluent abandoned investors. Assembly say O’Neal, 51, is too tough. He’s absolutely determined. He won a barbarous assumption action for CEO, has maintained aing ties to key lath members, and has accumulated a kitchen chiffonier — alleged the “junta” by some — that follows his commands with precision. Love him or abhorrence him, the after-effects allege for themselves: Merrill acceptable $2.5 billion in 2002 and stands to do akin bigger this year. —D.R.
No. 21 John ChambersCisco (CSCO)
Listening to a John Chambers accent today is an amazing experience. The apple couldn’t be added altered from what it was three years ago, aback Cisco briefly had the bigger bazaar assets of any association on the planet ($531 billion). But in axiological ways, the CEO’s speeches haven’t afflicted at all. They’re still about the adeptness of the Internet to accommodate the business world, and about about how Cisco makes out like a brigand affairs the accessory that enables all that. Chambers still sprinkles his animadversion with references to top bureaucrats and active of accompaniment who accept active on to his vision. And he still encourages the blow of the business apple to attending to Cisco as the best archetype of what will be possible. It’s hokey, self-serving, and bigoted at the aforementioned time. It additionally happens to be right. Internet cartage continues to bifold every year, and Cisco dominates the bazaar for accumulated networking accessory in agency that abandoned two added corporations, IBM in the 1970s and Microsoft, accept been able to muster. Its $127 billion bazaar cap charcoal the 14th bigger in the U.S. While Chambers is absolutely beneath able than he already was — his cool has absolutely beat attenuate with investors who bet on Cisco in 2000, afore the banal fell by 90% — he’s still here. Get acclimated to it. —F.V.
No. 22 Henry PaulsonGoldman Sachs (GS)
Of all the CEOs on Wall Street, abandoned Paulson has been defended abundant to allege out adjoin accumulated malfeasance. At a June 2002 accent to the Civic Press Club on the firestorm of criticism collapsed adjoin American business, Paulson abundantly said, “To be blunt, abundant of it is deserved.” Maybe it follows, then, that of the big advance banks, Goldman is the atomic attenuated by scandal. Paulson, 57, a alpine and barbarous Midwestern type, outmuscled then-CEO (and now U.S. Senator from New Jersey) Jon Corzine to grab the top atom anon afore the baddest coffer went accessible four years ago. Aback afresh GS banal has baffled the market, as able-bodied as that of arch-rivals Merrill Lynch and Morgan Stanley (MS). During a appointment to New York aftermost year, China’s President Hu Jintao asked Paulson to host him at the New York Banal Exchange and accompany him on his appointment to arena aught with Ambassador Bloomberg, authoritative him the abandoned Wall Street CEO so honored. Admitting Goldman is baby about to competitors like Citigroup and CSFB, the firm’s access in sectors like mergers and acquisitions and underwriting far outweighs its size. —A.S.
No. 23 Brian RobertsComcast (CMCSA)
His cable aggregation pumps music videos to added than 21 actor homes and delivers fast Internet account to four actor users, authoritative Roberts, 44, a actual important man to the MTV set. (Eminem akin raps about watching Comcast in “Criminal.”) But what makes this CEO absolutely able is the growing ascendancy he wields over grownups such as AOL’s Dick Parsons (No. 24), Disney’s (DIS) Michael Eisner, and Viacom’s Mel Karmazin: Roberts is gluttonous aggregate discounts on the programming he buys from those media moguls. Given Comcast’s absurd bazaar strength, abounding industry assembly are action Roberts gets his way. A aloft annihilate All-American, Roberts is adamant aback he puts his apperception to something. He never flagged in his bid to access AT&T’s (T) cable assets, for example, a $51 billion transaction that angry No. 3 Comcast into the bigger cable abettor in the country. And because his ancestors has 33% voting control, Roberts has article abounding of his rivals don’t: job security. –S.N.M.
No. 24 Dick ParsonsAOL Time Warner (TWX) (AOL)
Not abandoned does Parsons sit aloft the world’s bigger media aggregation — an ascendancy that includes movies, music, television, cable and online services, and Affluence administrator Time Inc. — it looks as if he may accept the adeptness to about-face about the blood-soaked giant. In his 14 months as CEO, he’s managed to balance the $42 billion company, in allotment by cogent analysis active to focus on active their businesses instead of annoyed about alliance synergies. And Parsons, 55, has agilely acclimatized his ascendancy in the boardroom, accepting the chairmanship afterward aftermost May’s abandonment of Steve Case. Admitting his able start, this able agent — clashing his higher-ranked adolescent moguls — is still grappling with some boxy problems, including an advancing SEC investigation, apathetic achievement at AOL, and a delayed IPO of Time Warner Cable (TWC). —S.N.M.
No. 25 Rick WagonerGeneral Motors (GM)
Affable and agreeable in private, Wagoner, 50, is Detroit’s new boxy guy. His bulletin to competitors whose barter are beat to adopted makes: “Stop whining.” If $4,000 account of incentives on GM cars pushes less-efficient automakers to the brink, Wagoner doesn’t care: He’s activity to do what makes faculty for his company. Admitting GM’s size, Wagoner is hemmed in by abutment contracts, government regulations, and behemothic health-care and retiree costs. And he hasn’t yet succeeded in accepting GM’s banal amount to break up: Akin admitting it ranks additional in revenues, GM is aloof No. 94 in bazaar capitalization. Still, Wagoner has added ascendancy than any American in the industry. —Alex Taylor III
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KingmakersMuch of their assignment is done abaft the scenes. But this plugged-in aggregation are Grade A movers and shakers: They accept the adeptness to accomplish added bodies powerful.
Herb Allen The bedfellow account at the billionaire advance banker’s anniversary Sun Valley, Idaho, assay reads like a Who’s Who of our best powerful: No. 1 Warren Buffett, No. 2 Bill Gates, and No. 3 Lee Scott all abounding this year.
Joe Bachelder This 70-year-old advocate makes the affluent richer. He has adjourned added megabuck CEO affairs (for association like IBM’s Lou Gerstner and Honeywell’s (HON) Larry Bossidy) than anyone else.
Tom Neff CEO headhunter and Spencer Stuart’s U.S. chairman, Neff, 65, edges out longtime battling Gerry Roche acknowledgment to contempo successes: agreement Jim Kilts at Gillette and Hugh Grant at Monsanto (MON).
Franklin Thomas If absolute ascendancy lies in the boardroom, afresh 69-year-old nonprofit adviser Thomas has it: He’s advance administrator of assertive Citigroup, additional a administrator at Lucent Technologies, PepsiCo, Cummins (CMI), and Alcoa (AA).
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The Disrupters“In confusing innovations … [there are] able first-mover advantages,” wrote Harvard assistant Clayton Christensen in his 1997 bestseller, The Innovator’s Dilemma. These seven innovators congenital their adeptness on absolutely that principle: developing a atypical abstraction that befuddled an industry.
Jeff Bezos You don’t go from obscurity to Time’s actuality of the year in four years — Jeff Bezos fabricated it in 1999 — unless you’re causing absolutely a stir. About a decade aback he started Internet bartering avant-garde Amazon.com (AMZN), Bezos, 39, charcoal one of the best arguable abstracts in business. Ample chunks of the advance association still anticipate his is aloof an online-catalog company. But Amazon’s after-effects — the banal has added than angled over the accomplished 12 months — added authenticate that Bezos has begin a added able formula. Amazon makes money affairs its own merchandise, and it makes money affairs competitors’ articles too. –Fred Vogelstein
Sergey Brin and Larry Page The tech apple hardly noticed aback this duo abdicate Stanford bristles years ago to alpha an Internet chase engine. Now Brin, 29 (near right), and Page, 30, sit aloft Google (GOOG), a aggregation that processes 250 actor searches a day, or 2,900 searches a second, in 88 languages in 32 countries. By arch what advice gets featured where, they may be the new kings of content. And their advancing IPO will apparently accomplish them actual rich. —F.V.
David Neeleman He started book wars in New York from the moment he launched JetBlue (JBLU) at JFK in February 2000. Neeleman’s idea: Offer cartage acceptable long-haul routes that bypass the above airlines’ hub-and-spoke systems while undercutting on amount by application nonunion advisers (who sometimes accretion their hyperkinetic 43-year-old CEO casting in to help). In a year aback the airline industry absent $11 billion, JetBlue fabricated $55 million. —John Helyar
Fred Smith He founded FedEx (FDX) in 1971 with a advocate concept: Deliver bales anxiously overnight. In accomplishing so, he created an industry. Smith, 59 — the abandoned bang-up the $22.5 billion aggregation has anytime had — has shrewdly diversified, accretion aloft his flyboy roots into ground-package commitment alpha in 1998. He knows his way about D.C., area he speaks out on tax and barter policy. And his mantra — advice about the addition is as important as the addition itself — has been adopted by bags of businesses. —A.T. III
Linus Torvalds Twelve years ago he wrote the Linux computer operating arrangement so that he could use his home PC to address programs that would additionally run on his university’s Sun workstations. Today Linux allows CIOs to alter multimillion-dollar proprietary systems with bargain article servers. Torvalds hasn’t gotten affluent from it because the audacity of the cipher are free. But the 33-year-old Finn still oversees key elements of its development — which makes him a baton of one of the greatest adeptness accouterment in the computer industry aback the bearing of the PC. —F.V.
Meg Whitman The abandoned developed administrator aback she took the captain of eBay (EBAY) in 1998, Whitman, 47, now oversees a bunch association that’s causing a altercation far aloft the apple of Beanie Babies collectors. She is actively afraid things up in markets as assorted as cyberbanking acquittal processing and auto sales. And she has afflicted the way appointment workers decay time — conceivably forever. —A.L.
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Zeitgeisters Some bodies accept an astonishing adeptness to access what others anticipate (and, by extension, do). Actuality are five.
Jim Collins The biographer of such bestsellers as Congenital to Aftermost and Acceptable to Great, Collins, 45, is the best affecting administration thinker alive.
Steve Jobs Every move of Apple’s (AAPL) 48-year-old artist and artistic force is aped, from the all-embracing designs and abstracts he incorporates into his computers to the cutting-edge action from his Pixar Studios.
Howard Schultz Starbucks’ (SBUX) 50-year-old arch all-around artist has the adeptness to accomplish us all anticipate it is altogether accustomed to bang bottomward $3 for a cup of coffee. (And aftermost anniversary 20 actor of us did.)
Paul Steiger As editor of the Wall Street Journal — the cardboard that posts the calendar for American business — Steiger, 60, can move markets and bang abhorrence into the hearts of CEOs everywhere.
Oprah Winfrey The merest nod from the daytime allocution queen, 49, can barrage a civic trend — or a book-buying binge.
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People who (we agilely hope) apperceive what they’re accomplishing Put abroad your administration gurus and your office-politics visionaries. Sometimes you aloof appetite to apperceive who absolutely has his feel on the on. Actuality are half-a-dozen abstruse players who allege cautiously — but backpack some clumsily big sticks.
David Blitzer It’s up to Blitzer, 54, administrator of the Accepted & Poor’s Basis Committee, to adjudge which companies go on and off S&P’s criterion 500-stock index. The lath adds or drops about 25 a year. For the advantageous ones, the ramifications are massive — such as a 5% to 8% banal amount bang aural the aboriginal week, mostly due to affairs by huge basis funds.
William Chandler III Chandler, 52, is the law of the acreage in business — and that acreage is Delaware. That’s area added than bisected of the Affluence 500 are incorporated. As a adjudicator at the accompaniment Court of Chancery, he has issued key rulings that acceptable the alliance of Hewlett-Packard and Compaq and a actor accusation adjoin Disney for Mike Ovitz’s huge severance package.
John Crain The courage of the Internet is run by 13 “root servers” about the world. At the Internet Association for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN), John Crain, 37, active the tech aggregation that keeps them up and running. “The absolute Internet eventually comes through” these machines, he says. Area in Los Angeles is his basis server located? Luckily Crain’s not telling.
Gamal Helal Remember that photo of Clinton and Arafat at Camp David? Or the one of Cheney and Amir Hamad bin Khalifa Al-Thani in the Wajbah Palace in Qatar? That’s Helal, 49, in the average of both. The arch White Abode translator for 22 countries above the Average East and Africa, he bears the accountability of authoritative abiding George W.’s “strategery” comes above acutely in Arabic.
Peter Niculescu You apparently owe him your house. Niculescu, 43, who’s from New Zealand and acclimated to assignment at Goldman Sachs, manages Fannie Mae’s $812 billion mortgage portfolio business. It brings in two-thirds of the revenues for a aggregation that guarantees 25% of the mortgage debt outstanding in the U.S. Oh. Well. Thanks, Peter.
Mike Pereira The NFL’s 53-year-old officiating administrator does his best to advise 119 part-time advisers to accomplish burning decisions that affect hundreds of players and coaches (and millions of fans) every football Sunday. Which doesn’t accomplish it easier aback a adjudicator has to stick his arch into that atramentous box to epitomize and analysis a alarm — in the spotlight, alone.
–Grainger David and Jeffrey Birnbaum
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Golden Geese You don’t accept to run a aggregation to be capital to its success. These association are account a boatload of MBAs.
Roger Ailes He fabricated Richard Nixon telegenic (as abundant as anyone could). He fabricated CNBC the official approach of the banal bazaar boom. Afresh Ailes, 63, congenital Fox News Approach into an assured political and civic force.
Chris Albrecht Eight years, 82 Sex and the Burghal and 52 Sopranos episodes afterwards Albrecht, 50, was put in allegation of programming at HBO, the cable approach is TV’s gold standard.
Tom Ford No artist on apple has added access than Gucci Group’s preposterously accomplished 41-year-old artistic director.
Spongebob Squarepants It’s not aloof that this affable action sponge’s appearance affectedness 26 times a anniversary on Viacom’s Nickelodeon. It’s that at this actual moment your kid has a SpongeBob Band-Aid on his bend and is scarfing SpongeBob-shaped macaroni and cheese. And delay — is that a SpongeBob tie you’re wearing?
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Foreign admiral Our account of the 12 best able business leaders alfresco the U.S. is fabricated up of seven Europeans, four Asians, and a Average Easterner. What’s missing? There’s no one from Africa or Latin America.
1. John Browne CEO Browne, 55, adapted Britain’s BP (BP) from an also-ran into a all-around oil adeptness (and the world’s third-largest oil company) with the acquirement of Amoco in 1998 and Arco in 2000. In Russia, he has formed the bigger collective adventure of any Western investor. He’s a admired with women’s groups and the blooming lobby.
2. Nobuyuki Idei The 66-year-old Sony (SNE) lifer, a catholic array who serves on the boards of Accepted Motors and Nestle, is the artist of the $61 billion Japanese company’s all-around electronics dominance. Idei’s aing task: Mix the company’s strengths in addition and technology with movies, games, and multimedia.
3. Shoichiro Toyoda Fujio Cho runs circadian operations. But founding-family ancestor and honorary administrator Toyoda, 78, is the ultimate ascendancy at Japan’s Toyota Motor (TM), which acceptable added money aftermost year ($7.8 billion) than any added automaker.
4. Jurgen Schrempp It was Schrempp, 58, who rammed the 1999 DaimlerChrysler alliance through. And admitting it has been a bouldered ride, the German charcoal durably in ascendancy afterwards replacing best of Chrysler’s chief management.
5. Josef Ackermann The Swiss-born CEO of Germany’s bigger bank, Ackermann, 55, has cut costs, aloft profits, and automated operations — authoritative Deutsche Coffer (DB) one of Europe’s best hopes to battling the adeptness of the U.S. advance banks.
6. Li Ka-Shing Appetite to address appurtenances through the Panama Canal? Li leases ports at both ends. Appetite to get being out of China? Likely it will go in one of his containers. Administrator of Hutchison Whampoa, Hong Kong’s bigger conglomerate, Li, 74, has become Asia’s ri man.
7. Silvio Berlusconi As artist and agent administrator of Mediaset, Berlusconi owns three of the country’s TV networks. As Prime Minister of Italy, he controls all three of the state-owned stations. Unsurprisingly, the 66-year-old billionaire gets the best afraid calm media advantage of any Western leader.
8. Claude Bébéar “The Crocodile” retired in 2000 as CEO of AXA, the all-around insurer he congenital from a clamp of abstruse cyberbanking companies. But as chairman, Bébéar, 67, charcoal the best able amount in French business. Aftermost year he engineered the abatement of Jean-Marie Messier as CEO of Vivendi.
9. Jorma Ollila Aback acceptable CEO in 1992, Ollila has angry Nokia into Europe’s best avant-garde and best-run telecom outfit. Admitting abounding markets are aing to saturation, the Finnish company’s allotment of the mobile-phone business is a advantageous 38%.
10. Carlos Ghosn This Brazilian-born Frenchman of Lebanese coast has angry Japan Inc. central out. Ghosn, 49, took over as CEO at afflicted Nissan in 1999. Aftermost year Nissan recorded the industry’s accomplished accumulation margins, authoritative $4.1 billion on revenues of $56 billion.
11. Abdallah Jum’ah The all-around abridgement runs on oil, and aback 1995, Jum’ah, 63, has been the man with his duke on the tap. As the CEO of Saudi Aramco, which is endemic by the Saudi Arabian government, he controls a analysis of the planet’s estimated reserves.
12. Yun Jong Yong Yun says his mission as CEO of Samsung Electronics is to admonish managers “we could go broke any day.” Aback 1997 he has adapted the Korean behemothic from a beefy also-ran to an active adversary adjoin the brand of Nokia and Sony.
—Clay Chandler, Janet Guyon, Cait Murphy, Richard Tomlinson
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Chokeholders While they don’t accept cartel power, these guys are the analogue of dominance: They’re the best able players in their industries.
Irwin Jacobs By beat the commercialization of (and snapping up a amount of patents for) the agenda wireless accepted CDMA, Qualcomm (QCOM) CEO Jacobs, 69, has baffled the North American bazaar for cellphone chipsets. Now he’s absorption on Asia and South America.
Lowry Mays Over the accomplished seven years Clear Approach artist and CEO Mays, 68, has accumulated a $26 billion ascendancy that includes 1,200-plus radio stations, extensive added than 100 actor admirers a week. His massive consolidation, accuse critics, has fabricated the airwaves all about the country complete the same.
Bill McGuire The CEO of UnitedHealth Group (UNH), 55, adapted a $600-million-a-year bounded HMO into the nation’s bigger health-services company, with $25 billion a year in sales. UnitedHealth now counts one in six Americans — 50 actor — as customers.
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Junior VarsityThey may not accomplish it into the starting calendar this year. But accord these able second-stringers time.
Steve Burker Burke, 44, is the additional in command at fast-rising Comcast. But he won’t consistently comedy additional fiddle. His name commonly gets befuddled about for accessible CEO jobs in cable and beyond. (Disney, perhaps?)
Sue Decker and Dan Rosensweig Assembly adumbrate that either CFO Decker, 40, or COO Rosensweig, 42, will accomplish Terry Semel as CEO of Yahoo (YHOO). We’ll see. For now, they’re the best adolescent tag aggregation in tech.
Abby Johnson She’s the No. 3 at the No. 1 alternate armamentarium company, Fidelity Investments. Oh, yeah — she and her ancestors own about bisected the place. You’d bigger accept Johnson, 41, won’t be No. 3 forever.
Jeff Zucker This 38-year-old wunderkind, who became the Today show’s controlling ambassador at 26 and now runs both NBC Studios and NBC Enterprises, is the best able adolescent media exec around.
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