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The world’s most powerful person is… not Obama?

Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 | 8:00 AM ET
Forbes ranks Putin as world's most powerful
Wednesday, 30 Oct 2013 | 6:33 PM ET
Steve Forbes, chairman and editor-in-chief at Forbes Media, says Russian leader Vladimir Putin has outshined Barack Obama in terms of leadership this year.

President Barack Obama has been bumped off the top spot of Forbes' annual ranking of the world's most powerful people—by his Russian counterpart.

Vladimir Putin, Russia's president, was named the most powerful person in the world in 2013 by the publication, climbing two places from the previous year. He was followed by Obama at No. 2 and the general secretary of China's Communist Party, Xi Jinping, who jumped from No. 9 in 2012 to No. 3.

Politicians dominated 2013's top 10, with German Chancellor Angela Merkel coming in at No. 5, the highest ranking for a woman. Britain's Prime Minister David Cameron, however, fell out of the top 10, being named the 11th most powerful person in the world.

(View slideshow: World's top female policymakers)

Central bankers also fared well, with Ben Bernanke, chairman of the Federal Reserve, and Mario Draghi, president of the European Central Bank, ranking No. 7 and No. 9, respectively.

Bernanke's designated successor, Fed Vice Chair Janet Yellen was a newcomer to the list, coming in at No. 72. She was one of only nine women ranked to the list of 72 people, although this marked the highest representation of women to date.

Drew Angerer | Bloomberg | Getty Images

Former U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton did not make the list, although her husband, former President Bill Clinton, took the 43rd spot.

Only one business person made the Top 10, up from none last year, with Wal-Mart CEO Michael Duke ranked No. 10.

(Read more: The richest person in every state)

To compile the list, Forbes looked at whether the candidate has power over a lot of people, for example, over a billion Roman Catholics look to the pope as spiritual leader, helping Pope Francis' ranking of #4, and the financial resources they control, such as gross domestic product for heads of state.

The publication also assessed whether the candidate was powerful in "multiple spheres," and if they actively used their power.

Forty percent of the people ranked were billionaires, including the richest man in Africa, Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote, who took the 64th position.

(Read more: 2012's Forbes Power List)

Bill Gates slipped two places to be named No. 6, and eighth was Saudi Arabia's King Abdullah bin Abdul Aziz.

Pope Francis was the highest ranking newcomer at No. 4. The CEOs of Volkswagen (Martin Winterkorn at No. 49), IBM (Virginia Rometty at No. 56) and Oracle (Larry Ellison at No. 58) were also among the 13 new names on the list, as was Samsung's Chairman Lee Kun-Hee, at No. 41.

Tech CEOs also fared well this year, with Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos jumping from the 27th spot in 2012 to the 15th this year following his purchase of The Washington Post. Apple CEOTim Cook also climbed the rankings, from No. 35 last year to No. 19 in 2013.

By CNBC's Katrina Bishop. Follow her on Twitter @KatrinaBishop and Google

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