Adweek’s Power List 2016: The Top 100 Leaders in Marketing, Media and Tech

Mark Zuckerberg leaps into lead spot

To assemble Adweek’s second annual Power List, we considered the profiles and results of global corporate titans, taking into account such criteria as company value, revenue and revenue growth, market performance, consumer reach and affinity, their standing among rivals, the number of employees overseen, key acquisitions and partnerships, industry accolades and media buzz.

This list is not intended as a ranking based solely on earnings ups and downs or the fluctuations of a company’s work force, nor is it designed to chart executives’ progress—or lack thereof—year over year. An executive’s standing in last year’s rankings largely does not figure into our calculations this year. There are many intangibles. Image counts a lot, as does the volume of news a company contributes to the Adweek stream. For example, Google’s Larry Page, No. 1 last year, surely turned in another winning performance but fell just behind our pick for the top spot this year, Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg. Why? Because, in our estimation, Zuckerberg proved to have considerably more sway over the daily news cycle—making headlines in regard to advertising, video and more.

Like last year, this list represents a range of disciplines. You will find agency chieftains, leaders of media and tech giants and CEOs of top brand marketers. You will also find entrepreneurs, chief execs who fly under the radar and divisional heads who punch well above their class. And, comparing apples to oranges seems somehow correct in the domain of marketing, media and tech, where image and influence often play outsized roles in who wields power.

Zuckerberg has grown up before the media’s eyes into the most powerful exec in the industry. Pari Dukovic/Trunk Archive; Typography: Jason Wong

1. Mark Zuckerberg
CEO, chairman, co-founder, Facebook
Revenue:
$17.9 billion
Employees: 13,600

It’s Mark Zuckerberg’s future—the rest of us will just live in it. Last month, during his keynote address at Facebook’s F8 developers’ conference, Zuck, 32, set his sights on tomorrow, laying out a bold vision for shaping the connected world for decades to come.

Chatbots will increasingly inform customer service and other aspects of the Facebook Messenger experience, letting advertisers more smoothly communicate with audiences and, ultimately, sell them more goods and services. This could be a game changer of epic proportions, letting Facebook and its brand partners bypass the model of the app store in favor of a system that offers greater speed and convenience. At the same time, Facebook is looking to drones to beam wireless internet across the globe, expanding the digital community while providing access to millions more consumers for Facebook and its advertising partners.

But wait, there’s more. Augmented and virtual reality are also high on the agenda. Facebook is developing glasses with a conventional design (that is to say, not goggles) that overlay graphical data on the physical world. And it wants to open new vistas and revenue streams with Gear VR devices produced by its Oculus Rift unit, in tandem with Samsung.

In a macro sense, Zuckerberg wants to make Facebook even more ubiquitous than it already is, further embedding the service in the daily lives of as many human beings as possible—and naturally, making lots of revenue in the process. Given his record of success since he co-founded the social network in his dorm room at Harvard a dozen years ago, virtually no one is betting against him.

In the first quarter of this year, monthly and daily active users totaled 1.65 billion and 1.09 billion, representing a surge of 15 percent and 16 percent, respectively. At the same time, monthly and daily active mobile users grew 21 percent and 24 percent, respectively. Against that backdrop, Facebook’s market capitalization hovers around $340 billion—up by $120 billion versus last year, and more than triple its value four years ago when the company went public.