FORBES NEWS: VLADMIR PUTIN IS WORLD’S MOST POWERFUL PERSON + AFRICA’S DANGOTE AND IBRAHIM MAKE THE CUT IN 2013
Who’s more powerful: the omnipotent head of a corroding but still feisty superpower or the handcuffed commander in chief of the most dominant country in the world? This year the votes for the World’s Most Powerful — an annual look at the heads of state, financiers, philanthropists and entrepreneurs who truly rule the world — went with Russian President Vladimir Putin. He climbs one spot ahead of U.S. President Barack Obama, who held title in 2012.
Putin has solidified his control over Russia (“dictator” is no longer an outlandish word to ponder) while Obama’s lame duck period has seemingly set in earlier than usual for a two-term president — latest example: the government shutdown mess. Anyone watching this year’s chess match over Syria and NSA leaks has a clear idea of the shifting individual power dynamics.
The Most Powerul People in the World list represents the collective wisdom of top FORBES editors, who consider hundreds of nominees before ranking the planet’s top 72 power-brokers – one for every 100 million people on Earth — based on their scope of influence and their financial resources relative to their peers. (See full methodology here).
This year’s list features 17 heads of state who run nations with a combined GDP of some $48 trillion — including the three most powerful people, Putin, Obama and Xi Jinping, the general secretary of the Communist Party of China. The 27 CEOs and chairs control over $3 trillion in annual revenues, and 12 are entrepreneurs, including new billionaires on the list, Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote (No. 64), founder of Dangote Group, and Oracle’s Larry Ellison (No. 58). Speaking of, this year’s class has 28 billionaires valued in excess of $564 billion.
Here, a quick peek at the Most Powerful People in the World 2013:
Newcomers: Among the 13 newcomers are Pope Francis (No. 4), Samsung Chairman Lee Kun-Hee (No. 41), Volkswagen’s Martin Winterkorn (No. 49), South Korean President Park Geun-hye (No. 52), IBM CEO Virginia Rometty (No. 56), and Janet Yellen (No. 72), nominated by President Obama as the next leader of the U.S. Federal Reserve. Rosneft CEO and Putin confidant Igor Sechin (No. 60) and Jill Abramson (No. 68), the executive editor of the New York Times, make a return appearance after dropping of the list in years past.
He’s Not No. 1: This is the first year that Putin carries the crown. Obama has been on the top of the list for every year with the exception of 2010, when Hu Jintao, the former political and military leader of China, was No. 1.
Women Moving Up In Numbers: This year there are nine women on the list, representing 12% of the world’s most powerful — in stark contrast to being 50% of the world’s population. Both 2011 and 2012 featured six women leaders, and the inaugural list from 2009 included only 3 — or just 4.4%. Recently elected Park of South Korea joins the other heads of state German Chancellor Angela Merkel No.5), Brazil’s Dilma Rousseff (No. 20)and de facto head of India Sonia Gandhi (No. 21). Two of the world’s most important NGO’s are run by women: Christine Lagarde (No. 35) leads the IMF and Margaret Chan (No. 59) steers the World Health Organization.
Billionaires: Worth a cumulative $564 billion. Sure they’re rich but many of these billionaires deserve special attention for their philanthropic work, including Warren Buffett (No. 13), Michael Bloomberg (No. 29), Li Ka-shing (No. 30), Charles and David Koch (No. 31), and Mohammed Ibrahim (No. 71).
Entrepreneurs Represent: There are 15 in total. As expected, many are headquartered on the West Coast: Google’s Page and Brin, Mark Zuckerberg (No. 24), Elon Musk (No. 47), Ellison and Reid Hoffman (No. 65). Global entrepreneurial spirit spans from Japan’s Masayoshi Son (No. 45) and China’s Robin Li (No. 61) to Africa’s Dangote and Ibrahim.
Year-over-year growth: The FORBES Most Powerful started in 2009, seeking to answer a straight yet complex question: What is the true nature of power and can we really compare and rank heads of state with religious figures and drug traffickers? The premise has always been to select one person for every 100 million on the planet. The first list had 67 slots. This year we are up to 72. At this fifth edition, it’s notable that most of the leaders who made the top 10 on the inaugural list are still on today: Obama, Putin, Bill Gates (No. 6), U.S. Fed Chair Ben Bernanke (No. 7), the King of Saudi Arabia (No. 8), Wal-Mart CEO Michael Duke (No. 10), richest man in the world Carlos Slim Helu (No. 12), Google’s Larry Page and Sergey Brin (No. 17), and Rupert Murdoch (No. 33).
See the list here