04 November 2015, News Wires – ExxonMobil boss Rex Tillerson led the charge of oilmen on Forbes magazine’s latest list of the most powerful people in the world.
Russian industry chiefs also featured heavily, alongside President Vladimir Putin, who once again topped the list of the 73 most influential people on the planet.
In a list not surprisingly dominated by political leaders, it was Tillerson’s name at number 25 that stood out. Forbes said of the 63-year-old father of four: “ExxonMobil struck oil this summer drilling in Russia’s Arctic region, despite US sanctions against Kremlin-controlled partner Rosneft. Back home, Tillerson has urged an end to the decades-old ban on exporting US crude oil and also supports lifting regulatory constraints on the building of projects to export liquefied natural gas.”
Calling him the boss of the world’s most valuable publicly-traded company, Forbes said the Texas resident “presides over an operation that has generated $34 billion in net income in the past year, and paid more than $80 billion in taxes”.
Just ahead of Tillerson on the list is GE boss Jeff Immelt, Forbes calling him the head of “one of the most diverse businesses on the planet”. The US engineering has significant skin in the industry through GE Oil & Gas.
Ahead of both industry players was Saudi Arabia’s King Salman on 14, head of one of the largest oil producing nations on earth, while Iran’s Ali Hoseini-Khamenei – Grand Ayatollah of another significant industry player – was at 18.
Russian industry giants Rosneft and Gazprom were also well represented, Rosneft chairman Igor Sechin making it to number 47. “Sechin may be the left-hand man to the world’s most powerful man (Putin), but that didn’t stop him or his giant oil company, Rosneft, from landing on a US visa and financial sanctions list announced after the Russian military intervention in the Ukraine,” Forbes said.
Compatriot Alexei Miller, chief executive of gas monopoly Gazprom, was placed at 54, with Forbes saying: “It helps to know people in high places. In addition to working under President Vladimir Putin in the St Petersburg mayor’s office in the 1990s, he worked alongside Dmitry Medvedev, Russia’s prime minister, in the early (part of the last decade).”
Other industry notables wielding power are US industrialist brothers Charles and David Koch (joint 29), Reliance Industries’ Mukesh Ambani (36), United Arab Emirates President Khalifa bin Zayad Al-Nahyan (39), Saudi Oil Minister Ali Naimi (53), US investor Carl Icahn – who has been snapping up shares in Freeport-McMoRan (70), and Nigerian entrepreneur Aliko Dangote (71).
Under-fire Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff made 37, despite the country being mired in the huge Petrobras scandal, while Israel’s President Benjamin Netanyahu – who is trying to pave the way for the likes of Noble Energy to swiftly develop its giant Leviathan gas discovery – is at 21.
Filling out the top 10 are the likes of German Chancellor Angela Merkel at 2, US President Barack Obama at 3, Pope Francis at 4 and Chinese President Xi Jinping at 5. UK Prime Minister David Cameron had to settle for 8 behind businessman Bill gates (6) and chair of the US Federal Reserve Janet Yellen (8), but ahead of Indian President Narendra Modi (9) and Google chief executive Larry Page (10).
Amazon’s Jeff Bezos checked in at 17% while Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg no doubt liked 19th spot. Rupert Murdoch made headlines at 35, Elon Musk powered to 38, North Korean leader Kim Jong-un saluted 46th place and Lakshmi Mittal nailed the 55 spot.
Abu Bakr al-Baghdadi, described by Forbes as the “self-proclaimed Caliph, Islamic State in Iraq and Syria, was perhaps the most controversial inclusion at 57, with gaff-prone US presidential hopeful Donald Trump at 72.
Former US president Bill Clinton almost outdid wife Hillary, but at number 62 as against 58, it was a case of close, but no cigar.