We received hundreds of thousands of votes and thousands of comments. Within the newsroom, our journalists engaged in friendly sparring about their picks. Among the companies we cover, there have been reports of pride or outrage that a particular CEO was picked or left off the list.
(Related: Hey, don't forget about these guys!)
In the end, your votes, added to those of our panel of expert advisors, helped in deciding who made the cut and who didn't. As importantly, your write-in candidates brought scores of new names into consideration. Showing once again the wisdom of crowds, seven of your best suggestions have gone straight on our list of the top 100. They are:
Tim Berners-Lee. Pinch yourself twice, but the British computer scientist who created the World Wide Web posted the first Web page as recently as 1990. URLs, http://, HTML are all thanks to him, and without them there would be no apps, iPhones or Amazon. The vast mosaic of economic activity the Web has spawned is estimated to now be worth north of $10 trillion.
Aliko Dangote. Africa's richest self-made billionaire built his $20 billion fortune from soft commodities such as flour and sugar. Dangote turned the small trading company he founded in his native Nigeria into a conglomerate spanning much of West Africa and with industrial businesses ranging from cement to freight.
Wayne Huizenga. The American serial entrepreneur founded three Fortune 500 companies in three different sectors—Waste Management, Blockbuster and AutoNation. Most recently he has taken Swisher Hygiene public. Huizenga is also the former owner of three professional sports teams, the NFL's Miami Dolphins, the NHL's Florida Panthers and MLB's Miami Marlins.
George P. Mitchell. While not the sole fracking pioneer, the late Texas oilman was instrumental in developing the technical breakthroughs that made extracting gas from shale commercially viable. He built his Mitchell Energy & Development into a Fortune 500 company before selling it to Devon Energy for $35 billion in 2002, making him the first fracking billionaire.
Howard Stern. The shock jock was already one of the highest-paid on-air radio personalities—and the most fined U.S. radio host — before he hitched his star power to the nascent subscription satellite radio industry, signing a five-year $500 million contract with SiriusXM in 2004.
Lynn Tilton. The self-made billionaire left Wall Street to start what would become Patriarch Partners, a private equity firm that owns or controls 75 operating companies, including Dura Automotive Systems, MD Helicopters, Rand McNally and Stila Cosmetics.
Bob Wright. Under his 20-year tenure, the GE executive transformed NBC from a broadcast network into a global media powerhouse (including the launching of CNBC in 1989). His signature deal was GE's 2004 acquisition of Vivendi Universal Entertainment to create NBCUniversal, since acquired by Comcast.