Hedge-fund manager Paul Singer took a stand back in 2001, refusing to accept his losses on debt the Argentine government wanted to swap at a discount. Jump ahead to 2014. Singer, still fighting for full recovery on his bonds, has, with help from US courts, pushed Argentina into a second default.
These actions have landed Singer on the fourth annual Bloomberg Markets 50 Most Influential list, which will appear in the magazine’s October special issue.
The people we’ve selected reach across borders and transcend obstacles. General Electric chief executive Jeffrey Immelt has almost completed a $17 billion acquisition of Alstom’s power-generation business, having dealt personally with the French government to convince it that his bid was superior to a rival German-Japanese offer.
Ana Patricia Botin has turned around the UK operations of Banco Santander, adding customers and boosting profits, a level of success that could position her to run the parent company, as her father, grandfather and great-grandfather did before her.
To arrive at our 50, we start with a larger group of candidates assembled with the help of Bloomberg News journalists in bureaus across the globe. Rankings and profiles published in Bloomberg Markets throughout the year help guide the selection process, with the magazine’s editors narrowing the final list to 10 people in each of five categories: Money Managers, Thinkers, Corporate Power Brokers, Bankers and Policy Makers. We select individuals based on what they’re doing now, rather than past achievements, and almost three-fifths of this year’s list is made up of people who are appearing for the first time.
THE 50 MOST INFLUENTIAL
Leon Cooperman, 71 Founder Omega Advisors. Was in top 20 of the Bloomberg Markets annual ranking of large hedge funds. Grabs the attention of other investors whenever he buys or sells.
Mary Callahan Erdoes, 47 CEO JPMorgan Asset Management Oversees about $1.7 trillion as of June, meaning hers is the largest bank-owned money management business. Increased quarterly operating profit 10 percent.
Larry Fink, 61 Co-Founder BlackRock Runs the world’s biggest money management firm. Is trying to keep it from being labeled systemically important and subjected to extra regulatory scrutiny.
Carl Icahn, 78 Chairman Icahn Enterprises Pushed Apple to do more buybacks and Family Dollar Stores to sell itself, among other efforts. Sees an asset bubble caused by Fed policy.
Helena Morrissey, 48 CEO Newton Investment Management Is bringing the 30% Club, which she founded to advocate for more women on corporate boards, to the US Chairs the Investment Management Association in the UK.
Stephen Schwarzman, 67 Co-founder Blackstone Group Oversees the largest private-equity firm, where assets under management have reached $279 billion and activities include much more than just buyouts these days.
Paul Singer, 70 CEO Elliott Management Pushed Argentina into default -- possibly changing how future sovereign debt restructurings will be handled. Has delivered about 14 percent annually for investors in his oldest fund.
Yngve Slyngstad, 51 CEO Norges Bank Investment Management Oversees $890 billion of Norwegian oil money. May adjust the fund’s Russian holdings, which totaled $8 billion last year, if the government directs him to do so.
Byron Trott, 55 Founder BDT Capital Partners Helps wealthy families sell businesses -- or buy them through the funds he manages. Brings deals to clients including Warren Buffett, whom he worked with at Goldman Sachs.
Jeffrey Ubben, 53 CEO ValueAct Capital Management LP Avoids the public brawls other activists embrace. Has instigated changes at companies ranging from Microsoft to Sara Lee.
Timothy Garton Ash, 59 Professor University of Oxford Brings historical perspective to the “Putin Doctrine.” Warns of the danger inherent in Putin’s assertion that Russians outside of Russia deserve his protection.
Jack Bogle, 85 Founder Vanguard Group Is the voice of reason on old topics, such as the foolishness of high fees, and new, as when he defends high-frequency trading as mostly positive.
Lael Brainard, 52 Governor US Federal Reserve Praises the increased capital buffers of US banks and the Volcker Rule, opinions backed up by a Washington career that dates back to the Asian financial crisis.
Satyajit Das, 57 Author “Traders, Guns and Money” Is gloomy about how global monetary stimulus gets withdrawn without a crash and how China balances its economy. Keeps his sense of humor anyway.
Charmian Gooch, 49 Co-Founder Global Witness Is fighting graft in the developing world and pushing for new rules on shell companies, used to hide ownership.
Paul Graham, 49 Partner Y Combinator Has provided seed funding through his tech accelerator for some 700 startups now worth more than $30 billion total, including Reddit, Airbnb and Dropbox.
Charles Grant, 55 Executive Director Centre for European Reform Defends the European Union against those who have forgotten why it was created and promotes changes. Says David Cameron isn’t helping matters.
Kathy Matsui, 49 Chief Japan Equity Strategist Goldman Sachs Group Coined the term womenomics in 1999 to describe the economic advantages of more women in the workforce. Has now seen those ideas embraced as a feature of Japan’s Abenomics.
Jacqueline Novogratz, 53 CEO Acumen Through her nonprofit, supplies what she calls patient capital along with management expertise for small companies that provide housing, energy, health care and more in poor nations.
Thomas Piketty, 43 Professor Paris School of Economics Became a cause célèbre after his “Capital in the Twenty-First Century” was published in English in March, rallying left- leaning economists with new data and ideas on income inequality.
Corporate Power Brokers
Rinat Akhmetov, 47 Founder System Capital Management Is trying to keep his workers from joining pro-Russian forces and maintain his grip on the industrial empire that made him Ukraine’s richest man.
Mary Barra, 52 CEO General Motors With her reputation at stake, has testified to Congress four times, walking a fine line between defense of the company and promises that it will change.
Warren Buffett, 84 CEO Berkshire Hathaway Says Berkshire shares, above $200,000 for the first time, are too rich for him. Has $55 billion in cash on hand for acquisitions if he wants.
Tim Cook, 53 CEO Apple Has convinced investors that new products and better phones are in the pipeline. Apple shares are near their all-time high.
Guo Guangchang, 47 Founder Fosun Group Seeks to emulate Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway while focusing on the needs of the Chinese consumer.
Jeffrey Immelt, 58 CEO General Electric Has kept the $16 billion purchase of Alstom’s power generation assets on course, even gaining French government approval. Continues to shrink financial services.
Jack Ma, 49 Founder Alibaba Group Holding Is marketing the largest-ever US initial public offering, positioning Alibaba as a global player -- not just China’s biggest e-commerce company.
Elon Musk, 43 Founder Tesla Motors Is a darling of investors, with Tesla’s market capitalization rapidly rising toward that of General Motors, which has more than 50 times the sales.
Xavier Niel, 47 Founder Iliad Is the exception to the rule that France does not produce risk-taking entrepreneurs. Is bidding for T-Mobile US, which so far has rejected the overture.
Igor Sechin, 54 CEO Rosneft Runs the world’s biggest publicly traded oil company as measured by output and reserves. Is close enough to Putin to merit US sanctions.
Arundhati Bhattacharya, 58 Chairman State Bank of India Runs India’s biggest bank. Is pushing politicians to abandon their practice of forgiving loans, saying it corrupts the credit culture.
Lloyd Blankfein, 59 CEO Goldman Sachs Group Has joked about keeping his job until he dies at his desk. Is committed to Goldman’s trading business, hoping to benefit as rivals pull back.
Ana Patricia Botin, 53 CEO Santander UK Runs the unit setting the pace for earnings growth for parent Banco Santander of Spain. Would be the fourth Botin generation to run Santander if she rises to the top job.
James Gorman, 56 CEO Morgan Stanley Has brought investors around to his strategy, which relies on retail brokerage for consistent profits. Shares are up 30 percent in 12 months.
Jiang Jianqing, 61 Chairman Industrial & Commercial Bank of China In charge for 13 years, has transformed a firm that was nearly insolvent into the world’s most profitable bank. Is expanding outside of China.
Rose Lee, 61 CEO Hang Seng Bank Runs world’s strongest bank, according to the annual Bloomberg Markets ranking, benefiting from the Hong Kong Monetary Authority’s near-zero benchmark rate.
Kenneth Moelis, 56 CEO Moelis & Company Completed the initial share sale of his firm, the first investment bank to go public since 2007. Has ridden an M&A surge to a valuation of $1.9 billion.
John Stumpf, 60 CEO Wells Fargo Oversees the most valuable bank by market capitalization in the world. Has been seven years in the top job, during which time Wells Fargo has outperformed its rivals.
Paul Taubman, 53 Principal PJT Capital Even without the heft of Morgan Stanley, which he left in 2013, will get big advisory fees on the pending Comcast acquisition of Time Warner Cable.
Axel Weber, 57 Chairman UBS Understands the regulatory trends and is shaping the Swiss giant’s business strategy accordingly. Remains an important monetary hawk as a former German central banker.
Preet Bharara, 45 US Attorney Justice Department Ran his insider-trading investigation all the way up to Steven Cohen’s firm, if not Cohen himself. Is tangling with New York Governor Andrew Cuomo over an anti-corruption commission.
Mario Draghi, 67 President European Central Bank Unveiled a package of measures to fight slow growth and avoid deflation. Updated his whatever-it-takes pledge with a simple promise: that he’s not finished.
Jason Furman, 44 Chairman White House Council of Economic Advisers Has worked for Obama since before he was president and is now his top economic adviser. Says the economy would do better if Congress would boost infrastructure spending.
Idris Jala, 56 CEO of Pemandu Malaysian Prime Minister’s Office Is making it easier to invest and do business in Malaysia as he shapes economic policy meant to help the country catch up to its more-developed neighbors.
Benjamin Lawsky, 44 Superintendent New York Department of Financial Services Has shown how a state regulator can trump bigger agencies, as when he pushed a tougher settlement on France’s BNP Paribas.
George Osborne, 43 Chancellor of the Exchequer United Kingdom Is claiming bragging rights as the UK grows faster than the euro zone and the US following the period of austerity his government imposed.
Raghuram Rajan, 51 Governor Reserve Bank of India Has stabilized the rupee and put up a more-credible fight against inflation. Wants to change government aid to the poor to cut out corrupt middlemen and politicians.
Xiao Gang, 56 Chairman China Securities Regulatory Commission Has pushed banks and companies to set new share offerings at attractive prices to shield retail investors from losses, and China’s IPOs have outperformed as a result.
Janet Yellen, 68 Chair US Federal Reserve Got a 67 percent favorable rating in the most-recent Bloomberg Markets Global Investor Poll. Insists the Fed must keep focused on boosting employment.
Zhou Xiaochuan, 66 Governor People’s Bank of China Is the longest-serving central bank chief since the establishment of the People’s Republic, in the job since 2002. Is cracking down on shadow banking.