The men and women who make up who Forbes has deemed to be the most powerful people in the world for 2015 represent quite the cornucopia of humanity. As has been the case in the past, this year's list includes successful and wealthy executives. Famous world leaders are featured in the top three spots of the 2015 list. There is also one religious head who makes new fans around the world for certain opinions that he has expressed and also for trips that he has made. Nobody makes everybody happy all of the time, of course, and some who claim to be members of his religion have criticized that individual over the years.
The famous song says that we live in a “man's world.” That take is represented in the Forbes piece. Five of the people who ranked in the top six spaces of the Forbes list are men. The man commonly referred to as the “leader of the free world” understandably makes the cut, but he is behind two other world leaders. One of those power people has, per the information that has been used by Forbes, been the most powerful woman in the world for the past decade. The other is a man who seemingly believes that he can get away with just about anything. Somewhat worrisome about that is that he has not been proven to be wrong.
20 Jamie Dimon
Jamie Dimon was mentioned in the news when it was learned that the CEO of JP Morgan Chase needed to receive treatment after it was discovered that he had throat cancer. That story hopefully has a happy ending, as Dimon was, per Forbes, able to return to work in October. The Motley Fool website had some high praise for Dimon in November 2015, calling Dimon the “best big bank CEO” since he took over at JP Morgan Chase in 2006. According to a story posted on Fortune.com in November 2015, Dimon had some advice for fellow CEOs heading into the holiday season: “Don't be so damned depressed.”
19 Mark Zuckerberg
Have you heard or read those claims that certain age groups would be stepping away from Facebook in time? It appears, per Forbes, that Facebook co-founder does not yet have anything to worry about. The company made history in August when 1 billion users logged onto Facebook on a single day for the first time. That is not too shabby, and Forbes recognized Zuckerberg's success in bumping him up three spots from last year's list of the most powerful people in the world. Zuckerberg had an interesting resolution for the New Year at the start at 2015, one you may want to borrow: Read a new book every two weeks.
18 Ali Hosseini-Khamenei
The Supreme Leader of Iran was in the news in 2015 for coming to terms on a nuclear agreement that was controversial around the world. Those who may have seen that agreement as proof that the United States and Iran were on the brink of a historic partnership may need to step back and reflect on things a bit more. Ali Hosseini-Khamenei, according to a USNews.com story, had the following to say about the western superpower as recently as November 2015: “America is the main part of the problem in the region, not part of the solution.” We guess he won't be Christmas shopping in the United States this year.
17 Jeff Bezos
How are things going for the Amazon.com CEO and founder Jeff Bezos as of November 2015? Perhaps this CNBC headline can serve as an answer to that question: “Why Amazon's Jeff Bezos is getting richer.” It has not been all sunshine and rainbows for Forbes in 2015. The NY Times published an article that had less-than-pleasant words about the working conditions at Amazon. That piece has since received criticism on multiple occasions. One thing seems clear: Online shoppers and those who want to use the Amazon Prime service were not persuaded to abandon the company. One has to imagine Amazon will be in for another successful holiday season.
16 Francois Hollande
It should not come as a big surprise that being one of the most powerful people in the world does not necessarily make somebody popular. Francois Hollande, per Forbes, saw his approval ratings drop all the way down to 17 percent. The head of the French state has taken steps to turn things around. Hollande was, however, in the news in November 2015 for a rather strange story. A dinner that was supposed to include Hollande and the Iranian president had to be scrapped when, as explained by the Daily Mail, Hassan Rouhani had his requests for halal meat and an alcohol-free table denied. These people lead nations, readers. What a world.
15 Carlos Slim Helu
The man who is, per Forbes, recognized as the Honorary Chairman of America Movil has been among the richest people on the planet for years. Carlos Slim Helu is a Mexican business magnate and a billionaire thanks to endeavors such as America Movil, which has a strong hold on the telecom market in Mexico, and other projects that make up one of the more impressive resumes found among the most powerful people in the world for 2015. According to The Fort Stockton Pioneer, the Mexican government has “curtailed” the high rates that he charged for cellular service. I'd say Mr. Slim is doing just fine.
14 Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud
Salman bin Abdulaziz Al Saud was crowned the new king of Saudi Arabia in the first month of 2015 following the death of his half-brother. Al Saud elected to change the way that future kings would be named, according to Forbes, putting grandson Prince Mohammed bin Nayef as the next in line to be crowned. That may not happen, however, if certain reports are accurate. The Independent published a story in November 2015 that claimed eight of the 12 surviving brothers of the founding monarch “are supporting a move to oust” Al Saud. “Long live the king” may be just a saying in this instance.
13 Warren Buffett
Not a year goes by, so long as he is alive and in good health, where Warren Buffett is not among the richest and most powerful people in the world. The successful businessman who went from millionaire to billionaire has also been a supporter of what would be considered liberal political causes in the United States. Among them are gun control, Planned Parenthood and, last but certainly not least, Democratic candidates. While Buffett has had positive things to say about Bernie Sanders per the Daily Mail, he has backed Hillary Clinton heading into the 2016 election season.
12 Li Keqiang
An economist per his education and training, Li Keqiang is the Premier of the State Council of China. It should then not be too much of a shock that the economy has been a major talking point for Keqiang since 2013. Keqiang claimed, per Forbes, that 10 million “urban jobs” had been created over the first eight months of 2014. China was in the news on November 11, 2015 when the country posted what BusinessInsider.com referred to as the “world's largest shopping day ever.” Roughly $9 billion had been spent online during the opening 12 hours of what is known as “Singles Day.”
11 Mario Draghi
The man who has served as the President of the European Central Bank since November 2011 fell three spots from last year's edition of Forbes' most powerful people in the world for 2015. Among the many tasks that land on the desk of the person responsible for Europe's economic stability and unity is one that Mario Draghi may have not seen coming four years ago. The man who, according to Forbes, earned the nickname “Super Mario” for his work as a former governor of the Banca d'Italia, stated in November 2015 that Europe's economy will strengthen via investment in refugees (h/t The Economic Times).
10 Larry Page
The top ten portion of the most powerful people in the world, according to Forbes, begins with a co-founder of Google. Larry Page is now the CEO of Alphabet, which serves as the parent company of Google. Anybody has successful as Page is going to have his fair share of critics. In October 2015, Gawker referred to Page as being “kind of evil.” Along with calling Page out for not using his impressive wealth “for any real good,” Gawker also pointed out that Page/Google have been accused of ripping off others. The famous sports saying holds true in business, we suppose: If you aren't cheating, you aren't trying.
9 Narendra Modi
Narendra Modi is currently serving as the Prime Minister of India. That is quite the task since Modi governs what Forbes reports to be a population of 1.2 billion. Modi was mentioned in headlines in November 2015 following a visit to the United Kingdom. It was during that visit, according to the BBC, when Modi explained that his country's relationship with the UK was of “immense importance.” Are you interested in following the life and times of Modi? You can do so via his official Twitter account. Over 16 million people have already chosen to follow the prime minister as of the posting of this piece.
8 David Cameron
It is somewhat ironic that the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom follows Mr. Modi on the list of the most powerful people in the world considering that the two were linked together in November 2015. Both David Cameron and Modi seem to have high hopes for a relationship that will involve both the two leaders and also the UK and India. Not everybody, however, is jumping for joy over what the future may hold. Over 200 writers, per a BBC story, are hoping that Cameron will address Modi over what was referred to as “growing intolerance and violence towards critical voices” in the country of India.
7 Janet Yellen
Regardless of what the future holds for Janet Yellen, she has already made history. She became the first ever woman to hold the position of Chair of the Federal Reserve in January 2014. How much longer Yellen will remain in that post is not known at this time. Yellen does have a fan in one person, in particular: Ben Carson. According to Politico, the presidential candidate spoke highly of Yellen following a November debate:
“Janet Yellen is a wonderful person, I’ve known her for many years," Carson told Fox Business host Neil Cavuto in the spin room after the debate, saying that he is "not necessarily ... saying one way or the other."
6 Bill Gates
Here is a tidbit brought to you by Forbes that may make you feel old: It has been 40 years since Bill Gates and Paul Allen came together to launch a company known as Microsoft. There was once a time when it seemed ridiculous that homes around the world would have one computer, let alone multiple devices. We now live in a world where we use a personal computer for work purposes while at the same time listening to radio on smart phones or similar mobile devices. The Bill and Miranda Gates Foundation came under fire during the fall of 2015 regarding investments in fossil fuels.
5 Xi Jinping
Xi Jinping is the current General Secretary of the Communist Party of China. Forbes has referred to Jinping as “what some have called the most powerful Chinese ruler since Mao Zedong.” Forbes is not the only entity to appreciate the power had by Jinping. Sholto Byrnes of The National wondered in November 2015 if a power shift was on the horizon:
Most of the time, Mr Xi gets what he wants. And when he can’t – for now – he doesn’t give an inch.
It is hard not to judge that we are seeing an inexorable drift of power and influence away from the US and towards China. These circumstances also weaken the authority of the Oval Office. President Obama seems temperamentally reluctant to intervene abroad. In the light of recent American misadventures, that is mostly to his credit. But it also diminishes his sway internationally.
4 Pope Francis
Pope Francis is a lot of things to a lot of people. The head of the Roman Catholic Church is certainly not shy about voicing his opinions on a variety of topics. He may, at one event, hit out at people staring at mobile devices while at a dinner table. Francis has also been outspoken about climate change. He has even, per Cruxnow.com, informed Catholics that they may have to be open to change. Francis has upset individuals on both sides of the political spectrum. Regardless of what you think about his beliefs or his politics, one has to respect that Francis speaks his mind and his heart.
3 Barack Obama
The days of Barack Obama being among the most powerful people in the world are coming to an end. Obama has begun the final year of his presidency, one that has been as polarizing as should have been expected when he was first elected back in 2008. His knack for making history continued in November 2015 when he became the first sitting president to be featured on the cover of a “predominantly gay” magazine. The last seven years have been a roller-coaster ride for Obama and for the United States. It will soon be time for Obama to support who he hopes will be the next Democrat to hold the top office in the US.
2 Angela Merkel
German Chancellor Angela Merkel is not just the most powerful woman in the world, according to Forbes, for ten years and running. Merkel has also risen to second overall among the most powerful people in the world from a year ago. She is on the verge of completing the first year of yet another four-year term, her third and a term that she secured in December 2014. Merkel and Germany were in the news in November 2015 because of what the Washington Times referred to as multiple “reports of spying on US allies.” You may remember when Merkel accused the US of espionage a couple of years ago. Awkward.
1 Vladimir Putin
Forbes' most powerful person of the year for 2015 is none other than Vladimir Putin because of course he is. Putin, according to Forbes, saw his approval ratings soar to 89 percent in June 2015. He can apparently do no wrong, although it doesn't hurt that Putin is also essentially able to do whatever he pleases so long as he does not cross some invisible line. The Russian President has even vowed, per CNN International, that the country will conduct an independent investigation regarding serious doping allegations. Russia could be banned from participating in the 2016 Summer Olympics because of the scandal.