Steve Jobs named #1 in CNBC’s list of the most influential leaders in the past 25 years

Steve Jobs has been ranked #1 in CNBC’s First 25: Rebels, Icons & Leaders, described as “a definitive list of people who have had the greatest influence, sparked the biggest changes and created the most disruption in business over the past quarter century.”

Steve Jobs earned the top spot for both transforming the way we think about technology and redefining the style in which we live […]

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 … 

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The list was created as part of CNBC’s year-long 25th anniversary celebrations. The above clip is airing during CNBC’s Business Day programming today, and the full one-hour special will be broadcast at 7PM ET tonight, anchored by CNBC’s Tyler Mathisen.


CNBC says that the final list of 25 was chosen from an initial group of 200 contenders, using a combination of editorial leaders, outside experts and CNBC viewers.

Bill Gates took second billing, with Google heads Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt sharing 4th place. The full top 25 was:

  1. Steve Jobs
  2. Bill Gates
  3. Alan Greenspan & Ben Bernanke
  4. Sergey Brin, Larry Page & Eric Schmidt
  5. Jeff Bezos
  6. Warren Buffett
  7. Oprah Winfrey
  8. Mark Zuckerberg
  9. Jack Bogle
  10. Larry Ellison
  11. Rupert Murdoch
  12. Jack Welch
  13. NR Narayana Murthy
  14. Howard Schultz
  15. Bernard Arnault
  16. Li Ka-shing
  17. Carl Icahn
  18. Meg Whitman
  19. Amancio Ortega
  20. Michael Bloomberg
  21. Sandy Weill
  22. Cher Wang
  23. Aliko Dangote
  24. Martha Stewart
  25. Carlos Slim

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  1. Tomas Vaitkevicius - 9 years ago

    Ben Bernanke in 3rd place?? Don’t make me laugh! :))

  2. Oprah Winfrey!….haha, She always knew she was destined for greatness… haha!

  3. rahhbriley - 9 years ago

    I don’t think this is a very good list. Obvious it’s cool Jobs is number 1, but it doesn’t mean much when the list is crap. It’s kind of tech and the last 10 years heavy. Carl Ichan really? Meg Whitman is a very talented and intelligent person, but is she really in the top 25 most influential of the last 25 years? Plenty of them I could point out probably don’t belong. Some I should google bc I have no idea who they are though.

    • It’s hard to take your critique very seriously when you admit that you don’t even know who the people on the list are.

      BTW you don’t have to Google anything, the names are links.

      • rahhbriley - 9 years ago

        Ha..Good call on the links!

        I didn’t go through my critique name by name, in the name of brevity. I said SOME of the people I wasn’t aware of by name, not the majority. I did not admit I “don’t even know who the people on the list are.” The number I didn’t know was 6. A few of those I knew as a figure, but didn’t know their actual name by recall.

        Of the 19 I did know automatically, there were over a handful I didn’t think belonged there. My critique was mostly that the list is very heavy in tech and focuses on the last half of the 25 year span. I didn’t hear you refute my claims or why they don’t matter. I don’t agree, but could understand an argument that the tech sector has been the most influential, rendering my critique that the list is too tech-heavy, as moot.

        Adding to this critique, it’s also very US-centric. Though there are a handful of non-United Statesians.

  4. waseefakhtar - 9 years ago

    Reblogged this on navigation stack.

  5. Rafe Goldberg - 9 years ago

    You should really link to the original article.

    • Ben Lovejoy - 9 years ago

      Original article? This was from a press release. The list of the 25 people links to the CNBC site.

  6. dr3459 - 9 years ago

    It doesn’t really surprise me. Alone he brought Apple back from being garbage and almost closing, with some help financially from Gates of course, then iPod, iPad, iPhone, highly updated and improved Macs. If you hate Apple or love it you can’t deny he was basically a genius in technology. Even if he didn’t invent something new, he basically brought it up from the subpar device it was before. Making technology speed up at a faster pace really. Can you imagine still using MP3 players going through song after song or a smartphone with a full qwerty keyboard and tiny screen 3 inches or less inches usually.


Avatar for Ben Lovejoy Ben Lovejoy

Ben Lovejoy is a British technology writer and EU Editor for 9to5Mac. He’s known for his op-eds and diary pieces, exploring his experience of Apple products over time, for a more rounded review. He also writes fiction, with two technothriller novels, a couple of SF shorts and a rom-com!

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