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Top 10 Business Moguls Outside Tech

VO: Rebecca Brayton
Written by Ian Astraquillo These are the geniuses that earned themselves a place in the landed gentry and in business history. Join WatchMojo.com as we count down our picks for the top 10 most influential business moguls. For this list, we have included both founders and builders who either launched new businesses or grew existing ones to the peak of their industry, and won the admiration and adulation of others. However, we’ve decided to leave tech tycoons off this list, since we’ve got another list of the Top 10 Most Influential Business Moguls in Technology as well. Special thanks to our users Thetradge and ian_a_wm2014 for submitting the idea through our Suggest Tool at WatchMojo.comSuggest
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Written by Ian Astraquillo

Top 10 Business Moguls Outside Tech


These are the geniuses that earned themselves a place in the landed gentry and in business history. Welcome to WatchMojo.com, and today we’re counting down our picks for the top 10 most influential business moguls.

For this list, we have included both founders and builders who either launched new businesses or grew existing ones to the peak of their industry, and won the admiration and adulation of others. However, we’ve decided to leave tech tycoons off this list, since we’ve got another list of the Top 10 Most Influential Business Moguls in Technology as well.

#10: Ted Turner
Founder of CNN & TBS

After taking over his father’s billboard advertising business in 1963, Turner expanded the enterprise by branching out to other media outlets, most notably with the acquisition of the station that eventually became the superstation, TBS. Outside the realm of media, Captain Outrageous purchased two major sports teams the Atlanta Braves and the Atlanta Hawks, in part to deliver content to his TV network. A decade after establishing Turner Broadcasting System, Inc., his media domain reached new heights with the launch of CNN, the first 24-hour television news network.

#9: Oprah Winfrey
Chairwoman, CEO of Harpo Productions; The Oprah Winfrey Network

Up next is the highly renowned talk-show host, actress, and philanthropist who has been cited as the quintessential role-model by just about everyone. After starting in media at a Tennessee radio station, Oprah relocated to the windy city in 1983 to host the talk-show that would later be renamed “The Oprah Winfrey Show,” and five-years later she became the first woman ever to own and produce her own talk show with Harpo Productions. 47 Emmys later, Oprah moved on, establishing her “OWN” successful media group, which plays to over 83-million households in the U.S. alone.

#8: Sir Richard Branson
Founder & Chairman of Virgin Group Ltd.

He’s the founder of one of the largest and most recognized European conglomerates. Started as a small record and magazine business in the mausoleum of his local church, the Virgin brand eventually burgeoned into the commercial empire it is today. Being a self-made billionaire with affairs in just about every industry known to man, whether it’s music, mobile-phones, airlines, or even space travel, it’s safe to say that the vibrant and adventurous Sir Branson’s certainly no longer a virgin when it comes to business success. An invitation to his Necker Island remains on every aspiring mogul’s bucket list.

#7: Walt Disney
Co-founder of The Walt Disney Company

After co-founding his namesake company with his brother Roy in 1923, Disney made his first mark with Mickey Mouse, but continued his triumphs with the release of the first ever full-length animated feature, 1937’s “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs.” A grander achievement yet was opening Disneyland in 1955. From there, Walt’s company took the world by its ears, establishing and acquiring other well-known names and ushering them into the Disney family. It’s difficult to believe, yet heartening to know, that this media empire was all started by a man and a mouse.

#6: Michael Bloomberg
Founder & Majority Owner of Bloomberg L.P.

After being laid off as a general partner at Salomon Brothers in 1981, Bloomberg opted to invest his $10 million dollar severance package towards building a company of his own. Today, that company is one of the largest finance-management and business-software development companies in the world, with nearly 200 offices and reported revenues as high as $8 billion dollars. In addition to his triumph as an entrepreneur, Bloomberg has enjoyed further success as a politician, having been elected the 108th Mayor of New York City, an office he held for three back-to-back terms.

#5: Rupert Murdoch
Founder, Former Chairman & CEO of News Corporation

Here’s the man who brought names like The Wall Street Journal and Twentieth Century Fox to their present-day glory. Murdoch found quick success with its acquisitions of numerous newspapers throughout Australia before expanding overseas to seasoned giants like the New York Post and News of the World. Founded in 1979, Murdoch’s News Corporation was dissolved in 2013 amid scandal, and the media powerhouse split into two new separate entities: A reformed News Corp. and 21st Century Fox, the latter of which Murdoch continues to serve as Chairman and CEO.

#4: Sir Ka-shing Li
Chairman of Hutchison Whampoa & Cheung Kong Holdings

Recently ranked as the richest man in Asia, Sir Li’s billions are generated from his titles as Chairman of both the planet’s biggest operator of shipping container terminals as well as the world’s largest retailer of health-and-beauty products. Among his other accomplishments, Sir Li has also been honored in other countries around the globe, garnering a Knight status from the Order of the British Empire and a Legion of Honor merit from France. Asia’s most powerful man, he should probably change his name to Ka-ching.

#3: Carlos Slim Helú
Chairman & CEO of Telmex, América Móvil & Grupo Carso

As owner of Latin America’s largest international conglomerate, it’s easy to understand how this man has been continually switching on-and-off as the world’s richest man, a title he re-claimed from Bill Gates in 2014. Serving as Chairman and CEO of South America’s primary telecommunications provider, Slim’s division is merely a branch beneath a much larger tree of connected companies that together form Grupo Carso, which is headed by his son Carlos Slim Domit. While Slim the elder is regarded as “the Warren Buffett of Mexico,” a shrewd business transaction with the NY Times put him in headlines in North America and grew his global influence and reach.

#2: Warren Buffett
Chairman & CEO of Berkshire Hathaway

Speaking of Buffett, he takes our #2 spot. Although not the founder of the multinational giant Berkshire Hathaway, Buffett is without question the company’s most famous principal, as it acquired many large names under his leadership, including: Geico, Dairy Queen, Clayton Homes, and countless others. In addition to his entrepreneurial achievements, Buffett has also garnered attention for his philanthropic efforts and modesty, living in the same house as he did before achieving billionaire status. But don’t let the nice guy exterior fool you: the Oracle of Omaha is one shrewd investor.

Before we unveil our top captain-of-industry, here are a few honorable mentions:
- Phil Knight
Co-founder & Chairman of Nike, Inc.
- Howard Schultz
Chairman & CEO of Starbucks
- Herb Kelleher
Co-founder, Chairman Emeritus, & Former CEO of Southwest Airlines
- Sandy Weill
Former Chairman & CEO of Citigroup
- Martha Stewart
Founder & Chairwoman of Martha Stewart Living Omnimedia
- Bernard Arnault
Chairman & CEO of LVMH

#1: Sam Walton
Founder of Wal-Mart

Taking top honors is the man who pioneered the original discount store. When he opened his first Five and Dime in Bentonville, Arkansas, Walton laid out the strategy of sacrificing profit margins for the potential of higher sales numbers. This schematic paid off when his store spanned to 24 branches within five-years of Wal-Mart’s 1962 foundation. Today, Walton’s tradition of guaranteeing the lowest price is still strongly implemented by the company. The result? Net profits of over $16 billion from its eleven-thousand-plus locations around the globe, and the biggest public corporation on the planet.

Do you agree with our list? Which business mogul drives you to try and be your own boss? For more prominent Top 10s published every day, be sure to subscribe to WatchMojo.com!
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