19. Sean Maloney, EVP, chief sales and marketing officer, Intel

What makes him powerful: Since joining Intel in 1982, Maloney has risen through the ranks at the silicon maker and is widely known as being one of Intel's most aggressive and effective managers. Maloney started his Intel career in its European headquarters where he spent nine years, first as Intel UK's manager of applications engineering, then as country manager of Intel UK, and director of marketing for Intel Europe. He worked for Intel in Hong Kong and then in 1998 returned to the U.S. where he headed up Intel's worldwide sales.

Because of his reputation for being a problem-solver and a troubleshooter, it's no surprise that Maloney has become Intel's biggest champion of WiMAX, which he envisions being incorporated in laptops and other devices worldwide.

Maloney believes that much of Intel's future rests on the success of WiMAX and just as the company championed WiFi in the late 1990s and early 2000, the company is doing the same with WiMAX.

Earlier this year Intel joined a powerful group of investors that includes Comcast, Google, Time Warner Cable and others to invest $3.2 billion in the new Clearwire venture which is a combination of Sprint and Clearwire's WiMAX businesses. That deal is supposed to close by year-end. 

Maloney did stir up some controversy earlier this year when he was quoted as saying that WiMAX and LTE should be harmonized because the two technologies are 80 percent similar. Although many other technology experts have noted the similarity between the two technologies, Maloney's comments drew some fire from critics who saw it as a sign that Intel was already plotting an exit strategy in case WiMAX wasn't a success.

But that move seems unlikely and Maloney was on hand in Baltimore earlier this month to celebrate Sprint's launch of Xohm mobile WiMAX service.

Expect Maloney to continue to play a big role in WiMAX's future and to be instrumental in getting mobile WiMAX chipsets incorporated into laptops and more.

19. Sean Maloney, EVP, chief sales and marketing officer, Intel