The World's Most Influential CEOs

Joel Anderson  |

Time magazine released its annual list of the 100 most influential people in the world on Wednesday and the list was, once again, a collection of some of the most intriguing and unique people in culture, politics, and business. Of this list, nine were current CEOs of businesses. While any fan of business might feel that this is too few, surely most can agree that Jeremy Lin, the injured point guard for the four-games-over-0.500 New York Knicks, is clearly more influential than Rex Tillerson, the Chairman and CEO of Exxon Mobil (XOM), a $400 billion company.

Regardless of one's opinion on the Time list, here are the nine CEOs who were elevated above all others.

Warren Buffett, Chairman and CEO of Berkshire Hathaway (BRK.A)


The Oracle of Omaha is one of the best known and most widely respected business leaders in American history. One example of his influence? His opinions on the tax code resulted in the proposed new minimum tax for millionaires being dubbed "the Buffett rule."  Another? The piece in Time about Buffett and his influence was written by none other than Barrack Obama.

Harold Hamm, Chairman and CEO of Continental Resources (CLR)

Harold Hamm was born in Lexington, OK and spent time in his youth pumping gas in Enid, OK. My how far he's come. Harold Hamm has been the CEO of Continental Resources since 1967, and his net worth of $11 billion rankes him 30th in the United States and 76th in the world according to the March 2012 issue of Forbes. Hamm's also  been named the Energy Advisor to Mitt Romney's campaign for President.

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Tim Cook, Director and CEO of Apple (AAPL)

While clearly not the sort of dominating figure that his predecessor was, Tim Cook has stepped into Apple at a significant time. Under his watch, the company has pushed past Exxon as the company with the biggest market cap in the world. Cook envisions a new "post-PC world" where the company's tablets and smart phones have replaced the personal computer.

Virginia Rometty, President and CEO of IBM (IBM)

"Ginny" Rometty is one of the most respected people in the business world, which makes her also one of the most respected women in the business world. Heading up one of the ten biggest corporations on the planet, Rometty's leadership is guiding the 100-year-old tech giant into new territory.

Maria das Graças Silva Foster, CEO of Petróleo Brasileiro (PBR)

Rising from a working-class favela outside Rio de Janiero, Foster managed to become the first female CEO of a major oil and gas company. Petrobras, at $155 billion plus in market cap, is the largest company in the Southern Hemisphere and in Latin America.

Pete Cashmore, CEO of and founder of Mashable

At 26, Cashmore's the youngest of the business leaders on Time magazine's list, but then, when your last name's Cashmore a career in business might be viewed as inevitable. The greater irony here, of course, is a prominent magazine touting the influence of a blogger.

Eike Batista, Owner and President of EBX Group

Batista founded EBX Group in 1983 and has steered it to great success. Batista is the richest man in Brazil and the seventh richest in the world, according to Forbes. Batista's love for Rio de Janiero, where EBX is headquartered, became clear in 2009 when he played a crucial role in securing the 2016 Summer Olympics for the city.

Daniel Ek, Founder and CEO of Spotify

With Facebook (FB) purchasing Instagram for a cool $1 billion, the eyes of the world quickly started scanning for the next big company to get snapped up. They didn't have to go far before landing on Spotify, a music streaming service launched in 2008 by Swedish entrepreneur Daniel Ek. Spotify appears to be the next major leap in bringing music to the masses, and Ek, whether by sale or IPO, stands to make a fortune from the company.

Honorable Mentions

The Time magazine list also included one business leader who, while not technically a CEO, still warrants a mention. Sheryl Sandberg, the COO of Facebook, has long been touted as one of the fastest rising women in business. However, her inclusion on the list without that of Mark Zuckerberg is curious to say the least.

DISCLOSURE: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the authors, and do not necessarily represent the views of Readers should not consider statements made by the author as formal recommendations and should consult their financial advisor before making any investment decisions. To read our full disclosure, please go to:


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