Other cities like London and Shanghai are catching up, but New York still stands as the world’s financial capital. Anyone who wants to be taken seriously as a heavy hitter in the business world needs an office in Manhattan. Here are 35 business leaders whose whispers can move markets and make things happen.—Sascha Brodsky
By Cotton Delo and Heather Corcoran
1. E. Stanley O’Neal, 55
Chairman of the board, CEO and president of Merrill Lynch
This Harvard business school grad has presided over one of the world’s premiere financial service providers, with offices in 37 countries and territories and total client assets of approximately $1.6 trillion. He has had positions of increasing responsibility since arriving at the company from General Motors in 1986.
2. Charles Prince, 57
Chairman and CEO of Citigroup
Though former Clinton administration Secretary of the Treasury Robert Rubin is the most glamorous Citigroup executive, it’s Prince that’s been the real helmsman since taking the reins from Sanford Weill in 2003. He’s at the center of the fray at a troubled time; in an effort to reduce costs, Citigroup announced its intention last month to eliminate 17,000 jobs – 9,500 of which will be relocated to “lower-cost” destinations.
3. Richard LeFrak, 61
Chairman, president and CEO of the LeFrak Organization
Inheriting a real estate empire from his father, Samuel, the LeFrak scion has continued building the 106-year-old private company’s reputation and kept the business as a family affair with sons Harrison and Jamie serving as managing directors. The LeFraks are the force behind development in Battery Park City and have ventured across the Hudson River to build up Jersey City’s Newport section.
4. Donald Trump, 60
CEO of the Trump Organization
Though known to younger generations of Americans primarily for his comb-over, few besides Rosie O’Donnell have ventured to criticize The Donald’s business moxie. With the wild success of the NBC reality show “The Apprentice” and various self-help books on the art of money making, Trump has become a media brand in and of himself. His property portfolio is extensive and includes luxury residential towers, hotels, casinos and golf courses.
Trump put his net worth at $6 billion in typical hyperbolic fashion but others have estimated it at $2.9 billion last year.
5. Larry Silverstein, 75
President and CEO of Silverstein Properties
Having purchased a 99-year lease on the 10.6 million-square-foot World Trade Center site for $3.25 billion, Silverstein is a prominent force behind the rebuilding of Lower Manhattan. The most notable project underway is the goliath Freedom Tower – to contain 2.6 million square feet of office space, an observation deck, restaurants and parking – as well as three other towers on Greenwich Street. Construction at 7 World Trade Center, where his company headquarters is located, was completed in May 2006. He’s also altering the face of midtown Manhattan with the construction of River Place – a 1.8 million-square-foot residential community on the 42nd Street block between 11th and 12th Avenues.
6. Ralph Lauren, 67
Chairman and CEO of Polo Ralph Lauren Corporation
Having launched his international fashion empire in 1968, the Bronx-born Ralph Lifshitz has never looked back – conceptualizing elegant looks for generations of preppies with his Polo brand over the decades. Though flagship stores have opened in locations including South Beach, Milan and Tokyo, it all started in Manhattan. (He has stores in the Rhinelander Mansion on Madison Avenue and in Soho.)
7. Marc Ecko, 34
Chairman and chief creative officer of Marc Ecko Enterprises
Though Ecko has never seen fit to move away from his native New Jersey, the operations for his urban-wear empire are headquartered in Chelsea. The entrepreneurial Ecko founded Ecko Unlimited with its signature rhino logo as a Rutgers college student in 1993, and holdings now include G-Unit Clothing Company (with 50 Cent as a partner) and the skater-oriented Zoo York. The company reported sales of over $1.2 billion last year.
8. Marc Jacobs, 44
Founder of Marc Jacobs International; artistic director for Louis Vuitton
Despite his recent stint in rehab, Jacobs remains at the top of his game in the fashion world. With the Marc Jacobs Collection, Marc by Marc Jacobs, Stinky Rat and Little Marc brands to his name – designing footwear, handbags, sunglasses, watches and fragrance, in addition to couture – the New York-born Jacobs has left his imprint in a capacity distinct from his position at Louis Vuitton. He has stores in nine foreign countries and two in New York, and also sells his lines at high-end department stores.
9. Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter, 37
President and CEO of Def Jam Recordings
Though ostensibly retiring from recording his own music around the time he took on Def Jam in 2004, the Brooklyn-born rapper/impresario released a new album, “Kingdom Come” in 2006. One of hip-hop’s premiere entrepreneurs, he sold Rocawear – the clothing line he co-founded – to Iconix Brand Group for $204 million in cash this March. He remains in charge of product development for the brand, which reportedly does $700 million annually in retail sales. He’s also a co-owner of the New Jersey Nets.
10. Andre Balazs, 50
Owner of Andre Balazs Properties
Though most noted for gracing the gossip pages with ex-girlfriend Uma Thurman, the hotelier has built an empire with holdings in New York, Los Angeles and Miami, and his name is synonymous with the high life. His luxury residential properties include One Kenmare Square and 40 Mercer Residences in Soho and the modish William Beaver House – catering to well-heeled young professionals seeking a shelter close to their offices – near Wall Street.
11. Stephen Schwarzman, 60
Chairman and CEO of the Blackstone Group
Though Schwarzman’s official salary is $350,000 as per filings to the Securities Exchange Commission in March, his estimated net worth as master of the multi-billion dollar private equity firm – founded in 1985 – is $3.5 billion, according to Forbes. Rounding out his credentials as an elite New Yorker, he’s on the boards of the New York Public Library, the Frick Collection, the New York City Ballet and the Film Society of Lincoln Center.
12. Henry Kravis, 63
Founding partner of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. (KKR)
As a counterpart to the Blackstone Group, KKR is another of New York’s private equity giants, was founded in 1976 and earned its stripes as a master of leveraged buyouts. It finalized big deals last month to acquire Harman International Industries and First Data for two nice chunks of change: $8 billion and $29 billion respectively. Forbes lists Kravis’s worth at $2.6 billion.
13. John Thain, 51
CEO of NYSE Euronext
Presiding over the New York Stock Exchange, one of the city’s defining financial institutions, since 2004, Thain became CEO of NYSE Euronext – a hugely significant merger of the NYSE with a pan-European securities trading exchange – which launched on April 4. The new entity combines six cash equities exchanges in five countries and six derivatives exchanges, making it the world’s largest and most liquid exchange group.
14. Stephen Ross, 66
Chairman and CEO of Related
Perhaps best known for developing the Time Warner Center –revolutionizing Columbus Circle’s skyline when it was completed in 2004 – Ross’s company, Related, was founded in 1972. Demonstrating his largesse, he donated $100 million to his alma mater, the University of Michigan, to fund its business school in 2004, which was subsequently renamed for Ross. It was the largest gift in the school’s 187-year history.
15. David Shaw, 56
Chairman and CEO of D.E. Shaw & Co.
Shaw was but a tweedy academic – a computer science professor at Columbia, to be precise – until leaving in 1986 to head the Automated Analytical Trading Technology group at Morgan Stanley. He founded his hedge fund in 1988 and has detached himself from its day-to-day operations, preferring to devote time to scientific research in the field of computational biochemistry. He still keeps tabs on major strategic decisions, which are of considerable value: according to a 2006 report by Institutional Investor’s Alpha magazine, the firm had assets to the tune of $19.9 billion.
16. Stephen Feinberg, 47
CEO of Cerberus Capital Management
Established in 1992 when Feinberg was just a pup, Cerberus is a hedge fund with $16.5 billion under management, as of last October. It’s made its bones by buying up controlling or significant minority interests in beleaguered companies – generating $60 billion in annual revenues, or so says its Web site.
17. Lloyd Blankfein, 52
Chairman and CEO of Goldman Sachs
Though $27,267,500 is an eye-popping figure for a bonus, even by Wall Street standards, Lloyd Blankfein managed to nearly double that sum with his equity-based compensation and stock options – putting his total 2006 earnings at about $54 million, according to SEC filings. The Brooklyn native has been at the head of Goldman Sachs since last year when Henry Paulson went to join President Bush’s cabinet as Secretary of the Treasury.
18. James Dimon, 51
Chairman and CEO of JP Morgan, Chase & Co.
A New York native and Harvard business school grad, Dimon became chairman of the influential firm on Dec. 31, 2006, and has been its chief executive officer and president since Dec. 31, 2005. He collected a $13 million bonus and another $13 million in equity awards in 2006.
19. Andrea Jung, 48
Chairman and CEO of Avon Products
As CEO of the beauty company – marketing products in more than 100 countries through five million independent Avon sales representatives – since 1999 and chairman since 2001, Jung has ranked as high as fifth on Fortune magazine’s list of “50 Most Powerful Women in Business.” She joined the company in 1994.
20. Ken Chenault, 55
Chairman and CEO of American Express
Occupying his seat at the helm of one of the nation’s most recognizable companies since 2001, Chenault rounds out his credentials with membership on the World Trade Center Memorial Foundation and trusteeships at the NYU Hospitals Center and the New York University School of Medicine Foundation. He’s also a director at IBM.
21. George Soros, 76
Chairman of Soros Fund Management
Though disengaged from day-to-day operations and attentive to philanthropic activities – he’s an outspoken critic of the Bush administration and has donated many millions to Democratic candidates – Soros gets an honorary place in a field stacked with mighty capitalists. He accumulated a vast fortune as one of the pioneers of hedge funds, and he hasn’t slowed down all that much.
22. Carl Icahn, 71
Founder of Icahn Partners
Epitomized by his takeover of Trans World Airlines in 1985, Icahn was the 1980s archetype of the corporate raider. Still going strong, he made headlines last year for attempting a takeover of Time Warner – bidding with a group of investors to split up the company, of which he’d bought a major share. (Time Warner CEO Richard Parsons – another elite member of our list – prevailed, however.) His net worth was estimated by Forbes at $8.7 billion in 2006. According to Institutional Investor’s Alpha, his hedge fund earned him $600 million last year.
23. Rachael Ray, 38
Television personality, cookbook author, magazine editor-in-chief
A self-made brand and a juggernaut, Ray has become ubiquitous on the airwaves and in print. Her hook is teaching simple recipes she claims can be learned in no time flat. From her humble origins as a Food Network diva, Ray went on to host “The Rachael Ray Show” – produced by King World Productions and Oprah Winfrey’s Harpo Productions – in 2006. Reader’s Digest launched her magazine, Every Day with Rachael Ray, in 2005. Forbes estimates Ray earned $6 million from her various ventures, but don’t be surprised if the empire expands.
24. Mario Batali, 46
Restauranteur and television host
Synonymous with the New York dining scene, celebrity chef Batali – together with business partner Joe Bastianich – operates seven restaurants in the Big Apple, including the vaunted Babbo Ristorante e Enoteca and Del Posto. He’s also written five cookbooks focused on Italian cuisine. His empire includes spots in Los Angeles, and Batali and Bastianich currently have their eye on Sin City – with one restaurant recently opened in Las Vegas and another shortly to follow.
ART STARS AND MEDIA MAVENS
25. Barry Diller, 65
Chairman and CEO of IAC; chairman of Expedia, Inc.
Though Diller made a name for himself as top dog as Paramount for 10 years and as one of the architects behind the Fox Network, his continuing significance in the media industry is symbolized by the building his latest company occupies in Chelsea – a gleaming post-modern gem on the West Side Highway, designed by Frank Gehry. IAC has 60 Internet-based brands in its purview, including Ticketmaster, Ask.com, Evite and Match.com; it reported revenues of $6.3 billion in 2006, and a net income of $193 million.
26. Arthur Sulzberger, Jr., 55
Chairman of the board and publisher, The New York Times
Though newspaper circulation is dipping to all-time lows throughout the industry, Arthur Sulzberger’s Gray Lady retains a daily readership over 1 million strong, making it the third most widely-read U.S. paper. Since he assumed the role of publisher in 1992, Sulzberger has made some big changes at the paper, printing the first color front page photograph in 1997, establishing the paper’s Web site as the nation’s most trafficked newspaper site and moving operations to a new Renzo Piano-designed headquarters.
27. Melvin Karmazin, 63
CEO Sirius Satellite Radio
Native New Yorker Mel Karmazin started his career selling radio ads, but has become one of the most powerful players in the industry. By signing on big names like Martha Stewart and Howard Stern – for a $100 million per year deal – and making exclusive deals to place Sirius receivers in cars, Karmazin made sure that Sirius outpaced its rival XM Radio for satellite supremacy. When the two companies complete a merger at the end of the year, Karmazin will be the CEO of the only satellite broadcasting company in the nation, with nearly 14 million subscribers.
28. Samuel Irving Newhouse, Jr., 79
CEO Advance Publications, Chairman Condé Nast Publications
As the head of one of the most powerful media companies in the world, Si Newhouse is a power player in magazines, newspapers, Internet and cable television, but where Newhouse’s Advance Publications really shines is in magazines. Under Newhouse, Advance acquired Fairchild Publications, a major competitor to its own Condé Nast Publications, and his magazines continue to dominate the lifestyle genre with major titles in markets like fashion, home and food ranging from the widely-read Parade magazine to the much-anticipated business mag Portfolio, which launched in April 2007.
29. Philippe de Montebello, 71
Director and CEO, Metropolitan Museum of Art
The longest-serving director in the history of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, Philippe de Montebello has reinvigorated the museum, nearly doubling it in size and unveiling the monolithic Greek and Roman galleries in April 2007. The hands-on director is the voice of many of the museum’s audio guides, and though he has been criticized for his conservative views of modern and contemporary art, recent years have seen expansion of the modern art and photography departments, as well as shows of the work of living artists.
30. Martha Stewart, 65
Founder, Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
Since founding Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia nearly 10 years ago, the multimedia magnate Martha Stewart has used her experience as a stockbroker to create a successful empire, from magazines and television and radio shows to her latest venture – scrapbooking. She may have been forced to step down as CEO and chair of MSO because of charges of insider trading, but Stewart remains a 96 percent shareholder in the company and retains the title founder.
31. Larry Gagosian
Widely recognized as the most successful art dealer in the world, Larry Gagosian has made the most of the booming art market. Since the 1980s, the superdealer has worked directly with some of the biggest collectors in the world, including Eli Broad and Charles Saatchi, while representing a roster of important and influential contemporary artists. Today, Gagosian owns six galleries – three in Manhattan – known for high-quality exhibitions of art stars like Richard Prince, Damien Hearst and Cecily Brown.
32. Roger Ailes, 66
Chairman and CEO of Fox News Channel; chairman of Fox Television Stations and Twentieth Television
Alternately beloved and reviled depending on which end of the political spectrum you adhere to, Ailes was picked by Rupert Murdoch to shape the prospects of the right-leaning Fox News Channel since its inception in 1996. The rest is history, as Fox has enflamed the passions of its lovers and haters for over a decade.
33. Cathleen Black, 62
President of Hearst Magazines
As head of a publishing empire, she has well-loved titles such as Cosmopolitan, Esquire, Good Housekeeping, Harper’s BAZAAR, Marie Claire, Popular Mechanics, Redbook and Town & Country under her dominion – comprising a total of 19 magazines, with 200 international editions distributed in 100 countries. She first made history by becoming publisher of New York magazine in 1979 – the first woman to hold that title at a weekly consumer magazine.
34. Richard Parsons, 59
Chairman and CEO officer of Time Warner
The Brooklyn-born Parsons has directed the vast entertainment empire with filmed entertainment, interactive services, television networks, cable systems and publishing in its purview as CEO since 2002 and chairman since 2003. He’s credited with bringing the company back to respectability in the wake of its unprofitable merger with AOL.
35. George Steinbrenner, 76
Owner of the New York Yankees
Love “the Boss” or hate him (and many New Yorkers are inclined to feel the latter in light of persistent rumors of his desire to can the skipper Joe Torre), Steinbrenner has been a symbol of the city’s swagger since he took over the franchise in 1973. A swank new stadium for the Bronx Bombers – complete with luxury boxes – is scheduled to be ready for the 2009 season.