Top 7 Most Influent People under 40

The first time Fortune Magazine published this list was called “40 under 40”, and made reference to the top 40 richest people under 40 years old. Lately, they redid the ranking again, but these times they move the list from the richest to the most influent young people in the business world. So for our blog we picked the Top 7 of this year’s class of youthful movers and shakers. They’re innovating, they’re expanding, and they’re not really thinking about the recession.

1. Marc Andreessen

Co-founder, Netscape, Opsware, Ning, Andreessen Horowitz

Age: 39

Rank change: Up

Industry: Technology

Long before there was a Zuckerberg, Andreessen helped create the building blocks of the web; his Mosaic led to the first commercial browser. Andreessen faded from the scene for a time after Microsoft squashed Netscape, but he’s back now: A-list venture capitalist and director at Facebook, Skype, and Hewlett-Packard, where he served as the public face of the angry board in dismissing CEO Mark Hurd.

TV addiction: Mad Men. Andreessen had a bar installed in his new office and owns a record player that appeared on the show.

2. Mark Zuckerberg

Founder and CEO, Facebook

Age: 26

Rank change: Same

Industry: Technology

Even as Aaron Sorkin’s film, The Social Network, portrays a certain fictional Harvard dropout with a mean streak, the real Mark Zuckerberg has made good on his goals this year: Facebook will pull in more than $1 billion in revenue; he unveiled a suite of new social tools; and despite a privacy backlash, the number of active users has jumped to an almost unfathomable 500 million; Facebook has surpassed Google to become the most trafficked site on the web.

New friend: Last month he made a surprise $100 million donation to help Newark’s schools.

3. Evan Williams and Biz Stone

Co-founders, Twitter

Age: 38 and 36

Rank change: Up

Industry: Technology

With Twitter firmly entrenched in the cultural zeitgeist, its congenial odd-couple founders — Williams is the cerebral one, Stone the jokester — have been redesigning the site, pushing hard for revenue in the form of “sponsored tweet” ads, and beefing up management: Witness last month’s promotion of COO Dick Costolo to CEO. (Williams will step aside to focus on product strategy.) Could Twitter finally be growing up?

Friendly competition: Williams has 1.3 million followers; Stone has 1.6 million. (Says Williams: “He’s more famous, but I’m better at tweeting.”)

4. Raul Vazquez

President, Wal-Mart West

Age: 39

Rank change: Up

Industry: Retail

El Paso native Vazquez moved to San Francisco during the dotcom boom but ended up at an old giant, joining in 2002 and becoming its CEO in 2007. In January he was promoted to run all of Wal-Mart West, one of three U.S. divisions. Though the company doesn’t break out regional sales, total U.S. revenue last year was $258 billion, so it’s safe to say the Stanford engineer has a lot on his shoulders.

Arts appreciation: Vazquez likes the symphony and poetry.

5. Sergey Brin and Larry Page

Co-founders, Google

Age: Both 37

Rank change: Down

Industry: Technology

It’s been a year of compromise for Google’s golden boys: From the delicate deal they struck with China to remain in the market behemoth to a controversial proposal made with Verizon that would let companies pay for faster content delivery, critics are starting to question the “do no evil” thing. At the same time, its core search business is slowing, the competition is gaining, and the company has yet to crack the social-media nut. Brin and Page are still worth about $30 billion collectively, and revenue grew 8.5% last year, but 2010 may go down as the year Google’s cracks started to show.

6. Aditya Mittal

CFO, ArcelorMittal

Age: 34

Rank change: Down

Industry: Industrial

The baby-faced CFO of the world’s largest steelmaker — founded by dad Lakshmi — helped cut the company’s debt 30% after orchestrating the company’s mega-takeover of Arcelor. Now Mittal is focused on driving growth in hot markets like Brazil, India, and China. This year he helped retool his company’s strategy in India, where the steel market is expected to triple by 2020.

Side deals: Mittal is on the board of PPR; earlier this year his wife bought bankrupt luxury-fashion brand Escada. Says Mittal: “I told her to pursue it like no tomorrow

7. Pony Ma Huateng

Founder and CEO, Tencent

Age: 39

Rank change: Up

Industry: Technology

One of China’s richest — and perhaps most reclusive — business moguls, Ma is the founder of Tencent, the country’s biggest Internet company by market capitalization. Ma created the instant-messaging platform QQ in 1999; today it has more than 500 million active users. He has demonstrated a canny knack for figuring out what China’s youth wants — and what they’ll pay for — leveraging Tencent’s massive QQ user base to also sell gaming and push e-commerce.

Growth rate: Revenue in the first six months of this year hit $1.3 billion, up 65% from 2009.

Source: Fortune


  1. Hi! Would you mind if I share your blog with my twitter group? There’s a lot of people that I think would really enjoy your content. Please let me know. Thanks

    • Victor

      ‘ll be glad that you share my blog in your twitter group.

  2. Victor

    Thanks for your comments Katti.

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