CNBC TV Biography on CNBC

  • Two friends with a passion for food turned a little Vermont ice cream shop into one of the most famous names in the business.Ben & Jerry's is a company on a mission to mix social activism and business…and at the same time, turn a profit.

  • Richard Branson — billionaire, tycoon, adventurer...and now Knight of the Realm.A wild risk-taker and a shameless self promoter.Sir Richard started without so much asa high-school education and built Virgin Group into one of the biggest and most successful business venture in Britain.

  • Without any knowledge of the winery business, Ernest and Julio Gallo built one of the largest family-owned wineries in the world.Ernest had a talent for business and Julio specialized in farming and making wine. Today, the Gallo family continues to operate the business, carrying on Ernest and Julio's passion for wine-making.

  • From an ancient Roman city to the most dangerous race tracks in the world, Enzo Ferrari would make his name synonymous with the fastest cars on earth. He developed a car that had a voice, a presence, a color that said "Ferrari".Ironically the cars were merely a means to finance his obsession — racing and winning.

  • Henry Ford was an American Revolutionary who gave us the automobile, assembly line and mass production.He was a natural born mechanic with an innate ability for business.In 1930, he formed the Ford Motor Corporation, which became a model for the automotive industry.The company is best known for the Model T and V-8 engine.

  • Bill Gates is best known as a business mogul, philanthropist and chairman of Microsoft.Gates was a shy computer-obsessed teenager who built an empire by thinking way out of the box and ended up one of the richest men in the world.

  • The Harlem Globetrotters were once the most dominant basketball team in the country. For more than seven decades, the Globetrotters broke color barriers in the NBA, had a cartoon based on them, became movies stars and U.S. Ambassadors of Goodwill.

  • Behind the chrome, growling engines and sleek lines of Harley-Davidson motorcycles lies the story of two families with motorcycles in their blood. The Harley-Davidson Motor Company was founded in 1903 by William S. Harley, Arthur Davidson, Walter Davidson and William A. Davidson. The strong spirit of the Harley-Davidson families lives on.

  • The Heinz family business started in the 1800s in Pennsylvannia selling horseradish door-to-door and later became a household name around the globe. They were men who created an empire of staggering wealth, and kept a spark of humanity.

  • Overall Bliss Score: 4.360Best-Rated Categories: The People You Work With (4.63); The Place You Work (4.52); The Way You Work (4.51)Matt Miller, chief technology officer and co-founder of CareerBliss, says of the international hotel chain that took the winning position for 2012: "Hilton is a customer-service-focused hotelier where employees feel their peers, company culture, and overall work environment are key drivers in happiness. When employees feel that there is growth and expansion, the sen

    Conrad Hilton came from humble beginnings in the New Mexico desert. He traveled to Texas in 1919, where he stumbled upon his future when he entered the lobby of The Mobley hotel. Known for his honesty and hospitality, Hilton built an empire, starting a hotel chain that would change the industry and span the globe.

  • When Home Depot's founders were fired from Handy Dan in the late 1970's, they put on their tool belts and went to work on a new concept.After the Home Depot's disappointing opening day when "nobody came," the do-it-yourself center goes on to become the fastest growing retailer in U.S. history.

  • McDonald's is the most recognized brand in the world. The man behind it all is not a smiley-faced clown named Ronald, but a sharply dressed salesman named Ray Kroc. He helped sell the world on the concept of fast food and at the same time, made himself a McMillionaire.

  • Marriott started his career with an A&W root beer stand which led to a successful career in the food service and restaurant business. He was one of the first to supply food to airlines for its passengers. If that wasn't enough at the age of 57 he opened his first hotel. With a combination of hard work and motivation, J. Willard Marriott created a worldwide hospitality empire.

  • The Perdue Family created a poultry dynasty, turning a backyard egg business into a multi-million dollar poultry corporation.Frank Perdue's television commercials, which conveyed honesty, dedication and quality, appealed to the masses. Frank's son Jim today continues the family legacy.

  • This smiling and upbeat TV pitchman became a household name for selling kitchen gadgets. But Popeil's success didn't come easily. Abandoned by his parents at age three, Popeil spent most of his formative years facing a lot of emotional pain. But it was precisely his misfortune that drove him to become successful.

  • Ferdinand Porsche, aka Herr Professor Doktor Porsche, was an Austrian engineering genius. Porsche was ahead of his time; in the early 1900s he created the first hybrid car. He dreamed of making a People's car -- small and affordable -- and with some guidance from Henry Ford, he succeeded.

  • Harland Sanders, better known as Colonel Sanders, created one of the most recognizable fast-food franchises in the world. By age 65, Sanders mastered the blend of 11 herbs and spices for his fried chicken recipe, and with his dedication and great marketing skills, he became an international fast-food industry icon.

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    A small town girl dreamed of the bright lights in New York City and found a chance of a lifetime. With Rachael Ray's passion for food and exposure on television in a few years she became a well known chef, television personality and author.

  • John D. Rockefeller came from humble beginnings, but that changed in the 1880s when he took a risk in the oil business and became the founder of Standard Oil Corporation. That risk lead to the multi-billion-dollar fortune that allowed generations of Rockefellers to make a huge difference in America.

  • When the founders of Starbucks met Howard Schultz, they had no idea that he would transform their business. The appliance salesman from New York took the small gourmet coffee shop started in 1971 by Jerry Baldwin, Gordon Bowker and Zev Siegl, and turned it into the international coffeehouse chain it is today.

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  • Biography on CNBC goes inside the personal stories of industry leaders to discover the triumphs and failures that propelled them to success.

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