There are dozens of “best” lists put out by the media every year. These stories have catchy titles like the most admired companies, the largest companies, the wealthiest billionaires, the most well-liked billionaires, the most powerful women, the most powerful people under 40 and the most powerful women under 40. The “24/7 Wall St. 100 Least Powerful People In The World List” is one of a kind. It is the most important list you will ever read.
This article could be called “The Emperor Has No Clothes.” The people on this list used to be powerful. They have powerless titles, or they never had power at all. Each person on the list is an impostor, even if he or she does not mean to be. The powerless can be well-intentioned. It may not be their fault that they have been rendered impotent. Conversely, many of the people who make the list deserve far worse fates than being on the list. A 24/7 Wall St. analysis identified five major groups that are powerless: (1) corporate executives, (2) sports figures, (3) politicians, (4) royalty, and (5) celebrities.
This list is necessary, much more so than many of the “best” lists. Too many people represent themselves and their institutions as the “best” when they are flawed, useless or irrelevant. It is often harder to find the least powerful than it is the most powerful. The best speak up for themselves. Those who pretend to have power often try to hide the fact they lack it.
Here is 24/7 Wall St.’s 100 Least Important People In The World, listed in no particular order.
1. Tony Hayward
> Former CEO of BP
> Most notorious CEO since Enron’s Ken Lay. Hayward was seen yachting a week after the Deepwater Horizon disaster. Did not admit the seriousness of the environmental calamity for several weeks. Was the board’s sacrificial lamb.
2. Keith Olbermann
> Journalist, TV News Personality
> Was #1-rated host on MSNBC. Indiscreet political donations got him the boot from the network. Is now on Al Gore’s Current TV, also known as Siberia.
> Highest-paid TV career and star of Two and a Half Men is no longer “WINNING.” Years of drug abuse, spousal abuse, and disorderly conduct have finally derailed his once stellar career.
5. Dan Hesse
> CEO of Sprint
> Runs the number three cell phone company in a three company-market. Poor customerservice has driven away many subscribers. AT&T’s buyout of T-Mobile is the last nail in Sprint’s coffin.
6. Charlie “Chuck” Rangel
> Member of the U.S. House of Representatives, Former Chairman of the Committee of Ways and Means
> Powerful and widely respected member of Congress of more than 40 years forced to step down as chairman of Ways and Means Subcommittee on Oversight after alleged ethics violations. Later censured by the House Ethics Subcommittee after being found guilty of 11 of 12 charges.
7. Olli-Pekka Kallasvuo
> Former CEO of Nokia
> Took the world’s largest handset company from a 40% globalmarket share to the whipping boy of Apple iPhone, Google Android, and even the RIM BlackBerry. Recently booted and replaced by a Microsoft executive.
8. Raj Rajaratnam
> Former CEO of Galleon Fund
> Former high-powered hedgefund chief now on trial for insider trading and could go to prison. Takes the sterling reputation of McKinsey & Company and Goldman Sachs down with him.
9. Brett Favre
> Former NFL Quarterback
> He holds every quarterback record in the NFL. Retired in shame after sending one too many “sexts” and playing one too many seasons. May have lost some muscle mass.
10. Arnold Schwarzenegger
> Former Mr. Universe, Former Governor of California, Aspiring Actor
> Once the most powerful actor and politician in California, this former Austrian bodybuilder is attempting to return to the silver screen after driving the state’s finances into the ground.
11. Nancy Pelosi
> Senator, Former Senate Majority Leader
> Former Speaker of the House whose effort to keep the Democrats in control falters after the overwhelming Republican victory in the midterm elections.
12. Levi Johnston
> Former Fiance of Bristol Palin
> Alaskan redneck fathers Bristol Palin’s baby and then abandons them. Makes up for his transgressions by appearing in Playgirl.
13. Mike Jones
> MySpace CEO
> Current CEO of the former #1 social network. Site once had 70 million users. Now lucky if it gets 100 Facebook likes.
> Member of Warren Buffett’s utterly symbolic Berkshire Hathaway board. Is also the chairman of the notoriously poorly managed telecom company, Level 3 Communications.
17. Ali Abdullah Saleh
> Yemeni President
> On the way out after 32 years. See Mubarek.
18. Brian Lenihan
> Former Finance Minister of Ireland
> If nothing else, Lenihan wins out in a crowded market. Voted the worst finance minister in the eurozone by the Financial Times. This may have something to do with the fact that he took THE emerging European economy and drove it off a cliff.
19. Robert Zemeckis
> Director of Mars Needs Moms
> Director of “Back to the Future” and “Forrest Gump” sullied reputation by producing mega-flop “Mars Needs Moms.” Disney has already lost $100 million on the film and closed Zemeckis’ animation division.
20. Keith W. Rheault
> Nevada Superintendent of Education
> Head of education in a state with a graduation rate of 47.3%, the lowest in the country.
21. Prince Charles
> The Prince of Wales
> 63-year-old prince may not be king for awhile. Queen may live for another two decades. Could lose chance at the crown to waning popularity and son’s pending nuptials.
22. Nicolas Cage
> Former matinee idol now stars exclusively in movies involving witchcraft.
> Former presidential candidate repeatedly embarrassed by media, many blame her for John McCain’s loss. Reality TV show a complete flop. Democrats are praying she runs in 2012.
25. Jon Gosselin
> Former Reality TV Star
> Co-star of hit cable TV reality show and father of eight became late-night punchline after hard-partying antics alienated him from viewers and left him dumped by wife. Now works as a construction worker.
26. Jon Rubinstein
> Former CEO of Palm
> Drives Palm into the ground. Booby prize is job at new parent, HP.
27. Rick Sanchez
> Talk Show Host
> Popular CNN talk show host’s casual approach gained him a loyal following. He may have felt too relaxed when he implied on air that his network was run by Jewish people.
28. Dayne Walling
> Mayor of Flint
> City finances ruined, now ward of the State of Michigan. Nothing much left to manage.
29. Kirk Ferentz
> Head Football Coach at the University of Iowa
> 13 Hawkeyes were hospitalized with a rare and possibly fatal muscle disorder, Rhabdomyolysis, after extensive off-season workouts. Ferentz has given no explanation for the illnesses though many believe Ferentz IS the explanation.
30. Eddie Lampert
> Chairman of Sears
> Private equity superstar combines Sears and K-Mart. Watches his multi-million dollar investment slowly disappear. “Attention, K-Mart shoppers.”
> Fired this year as head coach of the Cleveland Browns, after being let go by the New York Jets in 2008. Called by Sports Illustrated writer, Joe Posnanski, “the worst NFL head coach hire in 25 years.”
33. Guy Hands
> Investor, Businessman
> English businessman buys EMI Group. Later forced to hand it over to Citigroup after defaulting on all of his loans. His excuse? Citigroup made him pay too much.
34. Hosni Mubarak
> Former President of Egypt
> Thirty-year Egyptian strong man leaves presidency with tail between his legs. May seek asylum in Libya.
35. Chris Brown
> R&B Artist
> Was a top selling R&B performer. Spent the last two years rehabilitating his career after beating up his star girlfriend, Rhianna. May have scuttled any chances of a comeback after Good Morning America tantrum. Publicist and singer split following the incident.
36. Jon Meacham
> Author, Former Editor-in-Chief of Newsweek
> Pulitzer-Prize winning biographer and former editor in chief of Newsweek attempts to revive magazine. His reinvention results in its sale for $1 to 90-year-old stereo magnate.
37. Philip J. Faraci
> President of Eastman Kodak
> Once Kodak was one of the most powerful technology companies in the world. Now, only receives press coverage over patent disputes with Apple and RIM. Possible ruling in Kodak’s favor rockets the stock. Does not bode well for company’s prospects when this counts as really good news.
38. Colleen Goggins
> Johnson & Johnson head of consumer products
> Recalls, including Tylenol and Benadryl, cost hundreds of millions of dollars in lost sales. No coincidence she decided to take early retirement.
39. Rajat Gupta
> Former McKinsey & Company CEO
> Was a director of Goldman Sachs, P&G, American Airlines, and Harmin International. Charged with insider trading by the SEC. Recently resigned all board memberships.
40. Cillia Flores
> Speaker of the National Assembly in Venezuela
> Runs the legislative branch of the government of dictator Hugo Chavez, Venezuelan president for life.
41. Meg Whitman
> Former CEO of eBay
> Spent $163 million of personal funds in failed race for California Governorship. Lost to addled hippie Jerry Brown.
42. Vivian Schiller
> Former NPR President
> Forced out after one of her lieutenants was caught on camera calling the Tea Party “racist.” Was also the NPR chief during the controversial firing of senior news analyst Juan Williams for comments he made on Fox News.
43. Dan Gilbert
> Principal Owner of the Cleveland Cavaliers
> Cavaliers were only second to Lakers in road attendance in 2009. Year after losing “King James,” they rank last in the NBA for road game ticket sales.
44. Jeff Zucker
> Former CEO of NBC
>Incompetent former chief of huge entertainment group finally fired… ten years too late.
45. Michael Steele
> Former Chairman of the Republican National Committee
> Defrocked head of Republican National Committee oversees complete loss of government to Democrats, then watches as the GOP is shanghaied by Tea Partiers. Is forced to drop his bid for reelection.
46. Herbert Kohler
> In 2010, this owner of a private plumbing company managed to flush roughly $1 billion – 33% of his wealth – down the toilet. This is the biggest loss among billionaires who weren’t arrested this year. (see Raj Rajaratnam)
47. Bhumibol Adulyadej
> King of Thailand
> Currently 83 years of age, Adulyadej is the world’s longest-serving monarch. The King can arrest people for mocking his authority, but as far as we can tell, has no other power whatsoever. Come and get us.
48. Jesse James
> Former host of Monster Garage was married to America’s sweetheart Sandra Bullock. Butchered his chances at Hollywood royalty when he got caught stepping out on his wife… right after she received her Academy Award.
49. Janet Napolitano
> Secretary of Homeland Security
> Claims border security is better than ever as number of illegal immigrants to U.S. tops 11 million. Also responsible for the incredibly unpopular “nude” body scanners.
50. Ben Roethlisberger
> NFL Quarterback
> Several run-ins with law enforcement, including a DUI and an accusation of sexual assault, resulted in a 4 game suspension. After his return, a terrible performance lost him the Super Bowl.
51. Sergio Marchionne
> CEO of Chrysler
> Chrysler lost money. He’s no Lee Iacocca.
52. John J. Doherty > NYC Sanitation Commissioner
> Presided over epic screw-up clearing NY streets after worst blizzard in years. Pilloried by the press.
53. Mel Gibson > Actor
> Former Star of Mad Max, Lethal Weapon, and Braveheart degenerates into bigotry and alcoholism. Current co-star: a beaver puppet.
54. Wade Phillips
> Former Head Coach of Dallas Cowboys
> Highest-paid team was considered a Super Bowl front-runner at the start of the year. Phillips was fired after a 1-7 start to the season. Recently hired by Houston Texans to be Defensive Coordinator, taking over a defense that ranked in the bottom 4 in the NFL.
55. Fred Wilpon
> Co-Owner of the Mets
> The Mets lost nearly $50 million in 2010, the worst decline among all baseball teams in recent years. Apparently, Wilpon used Madoff’s fund as part of the ball club’s investmentstrategy and is now being sued for $1 billion by the trustee for the victims of the Ponzi scheme. This year, the team is on pace to lose another $50 million.
56. John Galliano
> Fashion Designer
> The creative director for the House of Dior has a flair for the absurd. His drunken, anti-Semitic rant was simply tasteless. He is now unemployed.
57. Jason Kilar
> CEO of Hulu
> CEO of Hulu sees promising online video site fall apart under withering competition from NetFlix, Comcast, YouTube, and AppleTV. So much for IPO plans.
58. Brian Moynihan
> President and CEO of Bank of America
>Bank has done so poorly under his leadership that the government recently rejected his plea to reinstate dividends after granting it to all of B of A’s peers.
59. Dmitry Medvedev
> President of Russia
> Medvedev remains Prime Minister Putin’s puppet. Approval ratings for both are all at all-time lows, and the two were recently seen fighting in public.
60. Jacob Lew, White House Budget Director
> White House Budget Director
> Supervised the creation of the new Obama budget. Completely dismantled by Congress the next day.
61. Ron Paul
> Libertarian Politician
> Libertarian candidate for president now less powerful than “aqua-Buddha” worshiping son Rand Paul. Perennial candidate emulating fellow hopeless case Dennis Kucinich.
62. Charlie Crist
> Lost Florida Governor’s election to Tea Partier. Was GOP darling in run-up to election. What happened?
63. Trey Laird
> Famed designer Laird spearheaded the worst redesign since New Coke. Took iconic Gap logo and replaced it with a new one that lasted… an entire week.
64. Jose Socrates
> Former Prime Minister of Portugal
> Planned austerity program to repair his nation’s beleaguered financial situation. Program rejected by the Parliament. Nation is on brink of default, and Socrates is forced to “drink the hemlock.”
65. Kenneth Lewis
> Former CEO of Bank of America
> Built Bank of America into the top financial institution. The credit crisis turned him into a pariah. Shareholders lost 80% of stock value and taxpayers had to provide $45 billion in cash to keep the financial firm afloat.
66. Larry Summers
> Former President of Harvard University
> Defrocked Harvard University President and ostracized Director of White House Economic Council returns to Harvard professorship and gains more weight.
67. Zheng Guoguang
> Director of the China Meteorological Administration
> Zheng and his crew have been hired to put an end to one of the worst droughts on record in The People’s Republic by “seeding” the clouds to make it rain. Thus far, they’ve only managed to bury Beijing in snow – a city not known for its farming.
68. Katie Couric
> Journalist, TV News Personality
> Queen of AM TV on Today Show, now sits at bottom of network rankings on CBS Evening News. Also agreed to a pay cut. Now, reportedly headed for the exit.
> Because they share the title, both should be blamed for letting Apple and Google eat RIM’s lunch. RIM was positioned to dominate the smartphone market, but was caught flatfooted by the iPhone’s release. Playbook, its answer to the iPad, still hasn’t been released.
71. Silvio Berloscunni
> Prime Minister of Italy
> The second longest-serving prime minister in the history of the country. Charged with mafia collusion, tax fraud, false accounting, corruption and bribery of police officers. Currently the subject of a sex scandal investigation involving underage girls.
72. Robert Reding
>Executive Vice President of Operations, American Airlines
> Has earned his company the worst customersatisfaction score in an industry known for terrible customer satisfaction.
73. Ron Marshall > CEO of Borders
> See Blockbuster.
74. Dov Charney
> Founder and CEO of American Apparel
> Has been too busy fighting sexual harassment lawsuits to properly run his company. American Apparel stock dropped from $3.62 to a pathetic $0.66 this year.
75. Terry Jones
> Wins 2010′s 15 Minutes of Fame Award. The theologian planned the “Burn A Quran Day” on September 11th in response to an Islamic Center being built near the WorldTrade Center site. No Qurans were burned, although his spokesman said he did burn a Quran privately.
76. Mary Bell
> President of the Wisconsin Education Association Council
> Union thrashed on national stage as Governor’s efforts result in rescinding collective bargaining rights. No justice, no peace.
77. Joseph Zen Ze-kiun
> Ranking Catholic Bishop in China
> Runs the operation of the world’s largest religious organization in the world’s most populous nation, where, by the way, some religious practice is banned.
78. Kim Pyong-ryul
> Chief Justice of North Korean Central Court
>Jobdescription is an oxymoron: runs the justice wing of a nation that has no justice. Kim Jong Il is president for life and will shortly be succeeded by his son.
79. Sharif Ahmed
> President of Somalia
> Leader of a nation run by pirates.
80. Sari Horwitz
> Washington Post Writer/Pulitzer Prize Winner
> Pulitzer-Prize winning Washington Post reporter was caught after committing multiple acts of plagiarism. The Post suspended Horwitz for three months.
81. Kathleen Parker
> Went from being Pulitzer-Prize winning columnist from the Washington Post to set prop for the former Governor with a questionable past.
82. Terry Gou
> CEO of Foxconn
> FoxConn is the leading parts supplier for the most popular consumer product — the iPhone. Coverage of suicides at plants has driven customers away.
83. Eric Schmidt
> Executive Chairman of Google
> Former CEO of Google demoted to Chairman by billionaire co-founders who want to take a more active role.
84. Andrew Lees
> Head of Windows Mobile 7
> Runs the least successful mobile operating system. Recent partnership with faltering Nokia greatest deal to date.
85. Mikhail Khodorkovsky
> Russian Oligarch
> Formerly #16 on the Forbes World’s Billionaires list, now serving nine year sentence in prison for fraud and tax evasion.
86. Yiannis Ragousis
> Greek Minister for the Interior
> Supposed to preserve cultural unity in Greece. Country’s austerity measures resulted in violent riots among the citizenry.
87. Laura “Dr. Laura” Schlessinger
> Radio Talk Show Host
> Dr. Laura, as her radio fans call her, used a racial slur multiple times in a single call and had her nationally syndicated show canceled.
88. Moshe Katzav
> Former President of Israel
> Found guilty of sexual assault of two former employees, sentenced to seven years in prison.
89. Graham Lintott
> Vice-Marshal of the New Zealand Air Force
> The Royal New Zealand Air Force is comically small, featuring only a few helicopters and transport planes. Any single American fighter pilot has more fire power under his command.
90. Patrick Donahoe
> Postmaster General
> Postal Service suffered a $329 million loss in the first quarter. Currently considering the elimination of Saturday mail delivery and layoffs into the thousands.
91. Mike Zbuchalski
> Group Vice President of Research & Development at Frito-Lay
> Palin wannabe crashed and burned in the national spotlight after her third attempt to get the Delaware Senate seat in five years failed. Will forever be known as the Tea Party witch.
93. Stanley McChrystal
> Former Four-star General
> Former four star general and commander of US forces in Afghanistan brought down by Rolling Stone article in which his subordinates savage Joe Biden and Nation Security Advisor James Jones. At least he bothered to apologize.
94. José Francisco Blake Mora
> Minister of the Interior of Mexico
> Picked by Mexican President to lead war on drug cartels. Since then, drug lords have seized the entire northwest part of the country.
95. Larry King >Former Host of Larry King Live
> Long time television talk show host turns 78 and is pushed out of CNN talk show chair for UK “upper class twit” Piers Morgan.
97. Brian J. Dunn > CEO of Best Buy
> Took the premier consumer electronics retailer and turned it into the whipping boy of Wall Street. Allowed Amazon to take all of its business.
98. Masataka Shimizu
> CEO of Tokyo Electric Power
> Irradiated plant owned by company was scheduled for retirement 10 years ago. Shimizu disregarded warnings and kept it live. Hasn’t made a public appearance in almost three weeks.
99. Rahm Emmanuel
> Former White House Chief of Staff; Mayor-elect of Chicago
> Formerly one of the most powerful people in the world as White House Chief of Staff. Is now mayor of Chicago, a town which has lost so many residents that its population is now lower than it was in 1920.
100. Yelena Borisovna Skrynnik
> Minister of Agriculture of Russia
> Country recently halted all wheat exports after crop destroyed by drought. Raging forest fire burned down timberland, crops, and homes.
Douglas A McIntyre, Ashley C. Allen, Charles B. Stockdale, and Michael B. Sauter