Adweek’s 2017 Power List: Our Top 100 Leaders in Media, Marketing and Tech

Jeff Bezos grabs the No. 1 spot this year

Wesley Mann/August

To assemble this installment of The Power List, we considered the profiles and results of global corporate titans, taking into account criteria such as company value, revenue and growth, market performance, consumer reach, their standing among rivals, industry accolades and media buzz. This list is not intended to chart earnings or track executive performance year over year. Image counts a lot, as does the volume of news a company contributes to the Adweek stream.

Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg and Alphabet’s Larry Page, our No. 1s for 2016 and 2015, respectively, turned in great performances last year. Still, in our estimation, they fell just behind our pick for the top spot, Amazon’s Jeff Bezos. Like last year, this list represents a range of disciplines. Along with agency and media chieftains, leaders of tech giants and CEOs of brand marketers, you will find execs who typically fly under the radar and innovative divisional heads. Yes, we’re mixing apples and oranges—but that’s the whole point. Remember: image and influence can sometimes trump quarterly earnings in the corridors of power.

100. Matthias Müller
CEO, Volkswagen
Revenue: $232 billion

Müller, 63, succeeded Martin Winterkorn as CEO in September 2015. Since then, he’s received mixed reviews as the automaker tries to put Dieselgate (for which it must pay $2.8 billion in fines) in its rear-view mirror. Meanwhile, volume increased nearly 4 percent to 10.3 million vehicles last year, allowing VW to overtake Toyota in the global sales race.

99. Kenneth Frazier
CEO, president, chairman, Merck
Revenue: $39.8 billion

Under Frazier, 62, the pharmaceutical giant’s revenue inched ahead 1 percent last year, helped by the strong sales of cancer drug Keytruda, and a few others. Animal health products have also performed well, driving Merck’s decision last month to close on its controlling stake in Vallée for about $400 million.

98. Steve Swartz
CEO, president, Hearst
Revenue: $10.8 billion

The 55-year-old exec led the venerable publisher to record profits last year despite basically flat revenue. TV properties were aided by an influx in political ads, while Hearst Health was also a strong performer. Acquisitions bolstered the group’s entertainment, data and media ops, and Swartz anticipates more moves in coming months.

97. Logan Green
CEO, co-founder, Lyft
Revenue: $700 million (est.)

In the realm of ride-sharing services, Green, 33, is no Travis Kalanick—which many see as a good thing. While Uber’s controversial front man swerves wildly, Green maintains a steady pace. Meanwhile, Lyft keeps picking up speed, with reports suggesting that profitability could be just a year away. A progressive thinker, he recently floated a plan to relieve congested highways via nationwide “smart lanes” that charge vehicles with fewer than three passengers.

96. Sarah Hofstetter
CEO, 360i
Revenue: $180 million (est.)

One of the most prominent leaders on the digital agency scene, Hofstetter, 42, has built 360i into a thriving multifaceted operation offering integrated services ranging from advertising to media and business transformation. She’s also given back to the community by spearheading an innovative education program designed to help nonprofits become smarter marketers.

95. Lori Senecal
CEO, Crispin Porter + Bogusky
Revenue: $190 million (est.)

She keeps expanding CP+B’s standing among global creative shops. MDC’s flagship prevailed in pitches for American Airlines, Letgo, Jose Cuervo and Hershey’s. The work’s been consistently strong, particularly two spirits campaigns: the cheekily apocalyptic “Tomorrow Is Overrated” push for Cuervo, and 1800 Tequila’s relaunch with Chance the Rapper.

94. Bob Sauerberg
CEO, president, Condé Nast (a unit of Advance Publications)
Revenue: $2 billion (est.)

Teen Vogue’s sudden cultural relevance was a highlight, along with two Pulitzers for The New Yorker. The 56-year-old exec also made Hollywood strides with TV series Last Chance U and two big-budget film projects: Granite Mountain, which just wrapped, and Old Man and the Gun, which soon starts production.

93. Bill Koenigsberg
CEO, president, founder, Horizon Media
Revenue: $325 million (est.)

For 28 years, Koenigsberg, 61, has charted a course for his independent media agency through advertising’s stormy seas. And it’s been full speed ahead in recent months, with a winning streak that includes Tim Hortons, La Quinta, Chobani and LG Electronics, 400 new hires and an expanded New York office.

92. Bob Pittman
CEO, chairman, iHeartMedia
Revenue: $6.3 billion

Pittman, 63, has shuffled iHeart’s playlist in recent years, employing VR, Snapchat and livestreaming in an effort to grow the company beyond its roots in radio and outdoor media. That strategy helped narrow iHeart’s year-over-year loss to $296 million (from $755 million in 2015) and provides hope for the future.

This story first appeared in the April 24, 2017, issue of Adweek magazine. Click here to subscribe.

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.