The 100 Most Influential Leaders in Marketing, Media and Tech

Google's Larry Page tops Adweek's first Power List

Presenting Adweek's inaugural Power List, our ranking of the 100 most influential, innovative and effective leaders controlling media, marketing and technology. To assemble this list, we considered the profiles and results of corporate titans, taking into account such criteria as the value of company assets, revenue and revenue growth, consumer reach and affinity, market performance, standing among rivals, employees overseen, key acquisitions and partnerships, and industry accolades and media buzz. Agency chieftains, tech titans, media execs and the CEOs of top brand marketers populate the universe we cover day to day—and the top of the top are represented here.

1. Larry Page 

CEO, co-founder, Google

Revenue: $66 billion

Employees: 53,600 

Larry Page Photo: James Leynse/Corbis

Larry Page opened a new window into the Information Age 17 years ago when he and Sergey Brin formed Google, revolutionizing the way practically every human being accesses information. Of course, Google has grown far beyond search. It is one of the most powerful corporations on the planet— and Page, 42, is the principal architect of that success.

"Larry will be known as a person who is relentless in driving his company to take advantage of the unprecedented opportunities that come from the explosion of tech," says Steven Levy, author of In the Plex: How Google Thinks, Works and Shapes Our Lives. "He takes a long view when many others fret about the short term."

Page has actually served two terms as CEO, serving as president of products during Eric Schmidt's decade-long run as chief executive. Since Page returned to the top job in 2011, Google's market cap has nearly doubled to $370 billion, as profits soared to $14.4 billion (up from $8.5 billion at the time Schmidt slid into the chairman role). "Larry helped build a company that made a huge difference in how we behave," says Levy, "and if some of his big bets pay off, search won't be the only big difference Google makes.

Google's ubiquity is astonishing. From Android to Chromebooks, from AdWords to Maps and so much more, there's virtually no corner of technology, media and advertising in which Google is not a player. "We want to build technology that everybody loves using, and that affects everyone," Page has said. "We want to create beautiful, intuitive services and technologies that are so incredibly useful that people use them twice a day. Like they use a toothbrush. There aren't that many things people use twice a day."

An intense, driven personality, Page wants to provide big products and services that have global impact. He continues to broaden Google's horizons, developing self-driving cars, drones (Project Wing) and super-fast connectivity (Google Fiber).

Yes, there have been glitches. The Google+ social network never clicked, Google Glass' future seems foggy, and the company has come under increased pressure in Europe over privacy concerns. Even so, the transcendent power of the company is indisputable. It has, in short, become an essential thread in the fabric of modern life.

"Lots of companies don't succeed over time," Page once said. "What do they fundamentally do wrong? They usually miss the future. I try to focus on that: What is the future really going to be? And how do we create it? And how do we power our organization to really focus on that and really drive it at a high rate?"

2. Tim Cook

CEO, Apple

Revenue: $182.8 billion

Employees: 98,000

Cook, 54, followed the legendary Steve Jobs—and he's well on his way to becoming as big a legend. In nearly four years at the helm, Apple doubled its market capitalization, becoming the first U.S. company to hit $700 billion. Its financials routinely set records, including Q1 earnings of $18 billion, the most for any company in a single quarter ever. Q2 sales of 61.2 million iPhones "blew away even the most bullish forecasts," reported CNN Money—and 1 million consumers in the U.S. alone pre-ordered the Apple Watch on its first day of availability. Clearly, Cook has built on Jobs' facility to fuel broad cultural trends. What's more, the openly gay CEO took to The Washington Post's op-ed page in March to warn against pending "religious freedom" legislation in various states that could result in discrimination against the LGBT community.

3. Mark Zuckerberg

CEO, chairman, co-founder, Facebook

Revenue: $12.5 billion

Employees: 10,082

Zuckerberg, 31, changed the way the planet stays connected, informed and entertained—and despite cries it is losing influence among millennials, Facebook shows no sign of losing muscle. Its market cap hovers around $220 billion—more than double its value at the time of its IPO three years ago. In Q1, the dominant social net claimed 1.44 billion monthly active users and 1.25 billion monthly mobile users, growth of 13 and 24 percent, respectively. Zuckerberg's focus on mobile advertising could further turbo-charge growth, while Instant Articles may well herald a sea change in digital content. And yet, Zuckerberg and his domain represent more than mere figures on a balance sheet and "friends" amassed. Eleven years after Facebook's launch, the company remains the embodiment of instantaneous communication and sharing on a global scale, making the world a much less lonely place for a billion of us.

4. Robert Iger

CEO, chairman, The Walt Disney Co. (includes ABC, ESPN, Disney theme parks)

Revenue: $48.8 billion

Employees: 180,000

Robert Iger Photo: Wesley Mann/August

The force is with Iger, 64, who is credited with revitalizing and expanding Disney's empire in his decade at the helm through a mix of people skills (he can mend fences), strategic genius (aggressive, diversified merchandising to enhance films' profitability) and savvy acquisitions including Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm. Under Iger, Disney's market cap has more than doubled to $185 billion—making it no surprise that the company extended his contract through 2018.

5. A.G. Lafley

CEO, president, chairman, Procter & Gamble

Revenue: $83 billion

Employees: 118,000

Lafley, 67, is an innovative thinker and savvy marketer who gives brands at the world's largest advertiser leeway to forge sharper images while staying true to the middle-American ethos the company's come to represent. Currently, he has cost cutting on his mind, and plans to divest numerous brands in order to focus on big sellers like Tide, Crest, Gillette and Always (whose "Like a Girl" campaign last year swept social media and the industry, winning the PR Grand Clio Award) while simultaneously trimming marketing costs (U.S. media chores just went into review). "Less will be much more," Lafley has said. "We are going to create a faster growing, more profitable company that's far simpler to operate."

6. Rupert Murdoch

CEO, chairman, 21st Century Fox (includes Fox film studio and television network, Star TV, Sky); executive chairman, News Corp. (includes Dow Jones, the New York Post, The Wall Street Journal)

Revenue: $31.9 billion (Fox); $8.6 billion (News Corp.)

Employees: 20,000 (Fox), 25,000 (News Corp.)

After six decades in the business, this old-school media titan is not just a legend but also still very much a maverick. Even with his company's already considerable influence on the business (Michael Wolff's biography of Murdoch was titled The Man Who Owns the News), Murdoch, 84, remains intent on growing his empire, even though last year's $80 billion bid for Time Warner fizzled. "I just felt with all the uncertainties in the world, I didn't want to be carrying that degree of debt," Murdoch has said of that deal. Might he make another run at that target, or others? Stay tuned.

7. Martin Sorrell

CEO, WPP Group

Revenue: $17.4 billion

Employees: 179,000

Martin Sorrell Photo: Pal Hansen/Contour by Getty

Despite an 8 percent Q1 revenue spike, Sorrell warned of a "demanding year" ahead for adland's largest holding company, with no Olympics or World Cup to fuel growth across its properties, which include Grey, JWT, Ogilvy & Mather and Y&R. The outspoken Sorrell, 70, tweaked rivals Omnicom and Publicis when their proposed merger collapsed—and he's established himself as a particularly droll and perceptive pundit on matters of marketing and media. When Sorrell speaks, we all listen.

8. Brian Roberts

CEO, chairman, Comcast (includes NBCUniversal, Universal Studios, MSNBC, Telemundo)

Revenue: $68.8 billion

Employees: 139,000

Roberts, 55, invested a hefty $336 million on a failed attempt to add Time Warner Cable to the Comcast fold, a quest he finally abandoned in April owing to government opposition. On the plus side, he's strengthened operations at both the NBC television network (the broadcast leader among adults 18-49) and its cable operations, while the company's just-wrapped upfront presentations were a huge hit—with 168 of the planet's biggest stars (Dolly Parton! The Kardashians!) making the trek to New York to woo advertisers. In fact, NBCU contributed $25.4 billion in revenue last year to the Comcast bottom line, a 7.5 percent year-over-year gain.

9. Indra Nooyi

CEO, chairman, PepsiCo

Revenue: $66.7 billion

Employees: 271,000

Indra Nooyi

She shoots—she scores! PepsiCo recently unseated the Coca-Cola Co. as the official food and beverage partner of the NBA. That gives Nooyi, 59, control of beverage rights across all four major U.S. pro leagues, reflecting her desire to "redefine the meaning of sports marketing partnerships." Pepsi also sponsors the Super Bowl halftime show—and the NBA play should resonate with millennial consumers as the company leverages the relationship across Doritos, Ruffles and Mountain Dew. Meanwhile, Gatorade was selected to receive the Clio Sports Grand Icon Award this year.

10. Jeff Bezos

CEO, chairman, president, founder, Amazon.com

Revenue: $88.9 billion

Employees: 154,100

Jeff Bezos Photo: Pari Dukovic/Trunk Archive

Running the mightiest American e-commerce company, Bezos, 51, sits at the intersection of content, commerce and technology, with Amazon playing an outsized role in shaping tastes and defining popular culture. Bezos' ambitions are sky-high—literally—as he proposes Amazon deliveries from drones, an idea that's being scrutinized by federal regulators. His more terrestrial interests had him buying The Washington Post in 2013 for $250 million, with old media hands speculating (praying?) that other icons of print media may find their ultimate savior in billionaire white knights.

11. Leslie Moonves

CEO, president, CBS (includes CBS network, Showtime, The Movie Channel, Flix, CBS Films)

Revenue: $13.8 billion

Employees: 25,000

Moonves, 65, a supremely confident, smart, pugnacious player, has become a legendary figure in the broadcast business by restoring the shine of "the Tiffany network" while expanding its reach substantially. In extending his contract through June 2019, the board praised his push for ratings success (long-running hits include The Big Bang Theory and NCIS), his retransmission, on-demand and streaming deals, his takedown of Aereo, and the successful launch of CBS All Access and CBSN.

12. Irene Rosenfeld

CEO, chairman, Mondelez

Revenue: $34.2 billion

Employees: 104,000

Irene Rosenfeld Photo: Mike McGregor/Countour by Getty

Acutely aware that the snack-food category is in transition, Rosenfeld, 62, has worked hard to polish the image of scores of Mondelez brands since the company spun out of Kraft three years ago. Healthy pitches for Belvita and Triscuit acknowledge consumers' changing tastes, while quirky Oreos ads stress fun and inclusive Honey Maid campaigns deliciously celebrate the modern family.

13. Paul Polman

CEO, Unilever

Revenue: $52 billion

Employees: 172,000

At the world's No. 2 advertiser (behind P&G), Polman, 58, leads an ambitious effort to halve the environmental impact of Unilever's product portfolio—which ranges from Axe, Dove and Caress to Hellmann's, Ben & Jerry's and Vaseline—by 2020. That has rankled some investors in light of Unilever's sales slowdown in emerging markets. Ironically, last year's false-advertising lawsuit, ultimately dropped, against Just Mayo generated a Change.org petition with 112,000 signatures demanding that Unilever "stop bullying sustainable food companies."

14. Jeff Bewkes