Founder, Bloomberg LP; former mayor, New York City
Born: Feb. 14, 1942, Boston
Education: Bachelor's in electrical engineering, Johns Hopkins University; MBA, Harvard Business School
It is necessary, but not enough, for entrepreneurs to have a transformative idea. Life has to deal them a chance to act on it. Our anniversary list of the 25 most transformative leaders, icons and rebels of the past quarter-century has no better example of that than Michael Bloomberg.
In 1981, Bloomberg was a rising Wall Street star as head of equity trading and then systems development at Salomon Brothers. When the securities firm merged with commodities trader Phibro, he was one of half a dozen general partners laid off. His severance, $10 million in cash and convertible bonds, doubled his net worth. The day after he left Salomon, Bloomberg used $4 million of that to launch a financial information company called Innovative Market Systems.