CNBC's List: The 25 Most Transformative Businesspeople of the Past 25 Years

Paul Sakuma/dapd/AP

They have disrupted industries, sparked change and exercised an influence far beyond their own companies. Here is our ranked list of the 25 people we judge to have had the most profound impact on business and finance since 1989, the year CNBC went live.

As CNBC embarks on its second quarter-century, it faces a world completely altered from when it started. Then, the Dow was below 2,400; only four U.S. companies had annual revenue of more than $50 billion; Walmart didn't make the list of America's 500 largest companies; and a blog was archaic slang for a servant boy. Today, the Dow is about 16,500; more than 50 firms beat that revenue number; Walmart tops the Fortune 500; and blogs are one many new bits for e-commerce.

The 25 men and women listed below -- from different parts of the world and across different industries -- have, for better or worse, been the rebels, icons and leaders in the vanguard of that change.

1. Steve Jobs, Apple's iVisionary.
2. Bill Gates, Microsoft founder and philanthropist.
3. Ben Bernanke & Alan Greenspan, former U.S. Fed chairs.
4. Sergey Brin, Larry Page and Eric Schmidt, Google's Internet and media disruptors.
5. Jeff Bezos, Amazon's retail revolutionary.
6. Warren Buffett, legendary American investor.
7. Oprah Winfrey, billionaire talk-show entrepreneur.
8. Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook founder.
9. Jack Bogle, index mutual fund pioneer.
10. Larry Ellison, Oracle co-founder.
11. Rupert Murdoch, global media mogul.
12. Jack Welch, 20-year chairman and CEO of GE.
13. NR Narayana Murthy, Infosys founder and "father" of Indian information technology.
14. Howard Schultz, Starbucks CEO.
15. Bernard Arnault, luxury baron of LVMH.
16. Li Ka-shing, Hong Kong tycoon and Asia's richest man.
17. Carl Icahn, American activist investor.
18. Meg Whitman, Hewlett-Packard and former eBay CEO.
19. Amancio Ortega, founder of Zara fashion stores.
20. Michael Bloomberg, Wall Street data pioneer and form New York City mayor.
21. Sandy Weill, banker and Wall Street dealmaker.
22. Cher Wang, founder of Taiwan smartphone maker HTC.
23. Aliko Dangote, billionaire African entrepreneur.
24. Martha Stewart, founder of home-making media empire.
25. Carlos Slim, billionaire Mexican business magnate.

More from CNBC

Read Full Story