The World’s Most Influential CEOs Of 2013

DATE: April 22, 2013

Across the globe, a handful of individuals are lifted up as prominent titans, leaders, artists, pioneers and icons. Choosing among these groups, TIME just released its list of The 100 Most Influential People in the World for 2013. Now a decade-long tradition, those who make the cut are exceptional people with extraordinary ideas that have paved the way for where society stands today.

This year, TIME’s most influential persons include 14 CEOs (none of whom were on last year’s list or vice versa). These breakthrough leaders’ contributions—whether in civil rights or space exploration—have honorably ranked them among the most inspiring people in the world.
In no particular order:

Elon Musk, SpaceX and Tesla

Elon Musk “Whatever skeptics have said can’t be done, Elon has gone out and made real . . . true vision is binocular—and Elon Musk is clearly a man who can see many things at once.” Richard Branson, CEO of Virgin

Marissa Mayer, Yahoo!

Marissa Mayer “She is simply one of the smartest, most talented leaders the tech world has ever known. Google was lucky to have her help us grow into what we became, and Yahoo is lucky to have her taking them someplace new.” Eric Schmidt, executive chairman of Google

Jay-Z, Roc-A-Fella Records and Def Jam Recordings

Jay-Z “He’s an artist-entrepreneur who stands at the center of culture and commerce in 21st century America, and his influence stretches across races, religions and regions.” Michael Bloomberg, mayer of New York City

Oh-Hyun Kwon, Samsung

Oh-Hyun Kwon “As Samsung builds a campus in Silicon Valley, all eyes will be on Kwon to see if the CEO with a Ph.D. from Stanford can be as successful with software as he has been with hardware. John Sculley, former CEO of Apple

Kevin Systrom, Instagram

Kevin Systrom Kevin has already left an indelible mark on our culture before reaching the age of 30. I can’t wait to see what he dreams up next.” Ryan Seacrest, TV/radio host and producer

Ren Zhengfei, Huawei and Telecom

Ren Zhengfei ‘People in the industry often say Ren Zhengfei is as mysterious as he is great,’ [Zhengfei] once told Huawei employees. What a perfect self-portrait.” Michael Schuman, TIME’s economics correspondent in Beijing

Tadashi Yanai, Uniqlo

Tadashi Yanai “Yanai is clearly an inspirational leader, and Uniqlo is a tribute to him and his management style, which is so rarely seen in a large corporation.” Celia Birtwell, textile designer

Sam Yagan,

Sam Yagan “At a time when businesses talk a lot about big data but often struggle to put it to use, Yagan’s approach stands out. In his own words, ‘You give us data. We give you dates.’” Steven Levitt, co-author of Freakonomics and SuperFreakonomics

Wayne LaPierre, National Rifle Association

Wayne LaPierre “In the embarrassing culture war of politically correct denial that runs amok today, there is an American warrior, a common man who represents common sense and self-evident truth, and he is Wayne LaPierre.” Ted Nugent, musician and gun-rights advocate

Roya Mahboob, Afghan Citadel Software Company

Roya Mahboob “Though women’s rights in Afghanistan have improved since the fall of the repressive Taliban regime 12 years ago, many Afghans still believe that a woman should work only in the home, caring for her family. Technology entrepreneur Roya Mahboob is working in clever new ways to change this continuing cultural stereotype.” Sheryl Sandberg, COO of Facebook

Perry Chen, Kickstarter

Perry Chen “There’s something so smart and magical about that idea — connecting consumers with creators and letting them vote with their own money. I haven’t met Perry yet, but I look forward to it so I can thank him for his brain.” Kristen Bell, actress

Travis Tygart, U.S. Anti-Doping Agency

Travis Tygart “No one would argue with the philosophy of doping-free sport, but few are willing to undertake the demanding work of identifying cheaters and imposing sanctions on them.” Dick Pound, former chairman of the World Anti-Doping Agency

David Coleman, College Board

David Coleman “As the architect of the Common Core State Standards, David Coleman has shown us what this country can accomplish when our leaders work together.” Jeb Bush, former governor of Florida

Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller, Coursera

Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller “After a number of false starts, it finally looks as if online education has real traction . . . Daphne and Andrew’s energy and devotion to try to educate the world is terrific.” Ezekiel Emanuel, bioethicist