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A high bar had to be cleared to make the list of CNBC’s 100 most influential business leaders over the past quarter-century. Among those who didn’t make it out of the already-elite group of 200 contenders included chief executives of large global companies: Goldman Sachs’ Lloyd Blankfein, Nestlé’s Peter Brabeck-Letmathe and BP’s Lord John Browne, all of whom led their companies through expansions or transitions at difficult times. The same could be said for Sony’s Norio Ohga, P&G’s A.G. Lafley and Renault-Nissan’s Carlos Ghosn. But your votes and our expert advisors were looking for something more than the successful execution of a good strategic plan.

Others fell short because our panel felt their greatest business impact occurred before 1989, the year CNBC launched. Boone Pickens fell into this category, as did the late Sam Walton, a particular write-in favorite. We also set aside write-in suggestions of those who were primarily academics and politicians rather than business executives, entrepreneurs or financiers. A final group was a set of up-and-coming business leaders whose biggest impact may still be to come. Among them: Yahoo’s Marissa Mayer and Twitter’s Jack Dorsey.


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