The List: CNBC First 25

Rebels, Icons and Leaders

Here is our ranked list of the 25 people we judge to have had the most profound impact on business and finance since 1989, the year CNBC went live. They have disrupted industries, sparked change and exercised an influence far beyond their own companies.

As CNBC embarks on its second quarter-century, it faces a world completely altered from when it started. Then, the Dow was below 2,400, Wal-Mart didn't make the list of America's 500 largest companies and there was no World Wide Web. Only four U.S. companies had annual revenue of more than $50 billion. Today there are more than 50, including upstarts such as Apple, Microsoft, Amazon and Google. No dictionary contained the words "e-commerce" or "app." A blog was still archaic slang for a servant boy.

The 25 men and women listed below—from different parts of the world and across different industries—have, for better or worse, been the rebels, icons and leaders in the vanguard of that change.

Curious as to how we chose the 25? Tyler Mathisen explains the (difficult!) process.

1 Steve Jobs Apple's iVisionary
2 Bill Gates Microsoft founder and philanthropist
3 Ben Bernanke & Alan Greenspan Former U.S. Fed chairs
4 Sergey Brin‚ Larry Page & Eric Schmidt Google's internet and media disruptors
5 Jeff Bezos Amazon's retail revolutionary
6 Warren Buffett Legendary American investor
7 Oprah Winfrey Billionaire talk-show entrepreneur
8 Mark Zuckerberg Facebook founder
9 Jack Bogle Index mutual fund pioneer
10 Larry Ellison Oracle co-founder
11 Rupert Murdoch Global media mogul
12 Jack Welch 20-year chairman and CEO of GE
13 NR Narayana Murthy Infosys founder; "father of Indian IT"
14 Howard Schultz Starbucks CEO
15 Bernard Arnault Luxury baron of LVMH
16 Li Ka-shing Hong Kong tycoon; Asia's richest man
17 Carl Icahn American activist investor
18 Meg Whitman Hewlett-Packard and former eBay CEO
19 Amancio Ortega Founder of Zara fashion stores
20 Michael Bloomberg Wall Street data pioneer and ex-NYC mayor
21 Sandy Weill Banker and Wall Street dealmaker
22 Cher Wang Founder of Taiwan smartphone maker HTC
23 Aliko Dangote Billionaire African entrepreneur
24 Martha Stewart Founder of home-making media empire
25 Carlos Slim Billionaire Mexican business magnate