Who are the movers and shakers that make or break the wireless and wireline industries? In this annual list, Fierce ranks the men and women who make the decisions that shape the telecom industry. And for the first time, we've included several power players from the wireline side of the business as we found that the gap between wireline and wireless is rapidly narrowing and those who exert influence on one side of the business typically have just as much power on the other.
Gauging a person's power isn't an easy task. When we devised this list, we looked for individuals who we believe have a unique mix of influence, business savvy, leadership and technical expertise. We also picked individuals--like T-Mobile US' (NYSE:TMUS) John Legere or C Spire's Hu Meena--who are shaking up the industry with innovative offerings.
In the fast-changing world of telecom, power can be fleeting. Some of last year's top-ranked power brokers no longer make the cut. For example, Steve Ballmer, Microsoft's outgoing CEO, has seen his power quotient drop since he announced earlier this year that he would be retiring. Likewise, BlackBerry's (NASDAQ:BBRY) former CEO Thorsten Heins is no longer on the list after being ousted as the top chief of the company Nov. 4. And Alcatel-Lucent's (NYSE:ALU) former CEO Ben Verwaayen, who resigned early this year, is also off the list.
Perhaps just as interesting as those who were ousted from the list are those newcomers who are on the list for the first time. John Legere, T-Mobile's outspoken and innovative new CEO, is on the list for his company's disruption of traditional wireless pricing strategies. And so is Maggie Wilderotter, the CEO of Frontier Communications, a company that is making interesting inroads in the rural broadband market.
This list is a compilation of who we think are the innovators and leaders in the U.S. wireless and wireline markets. We realize that the telecom industry is a global business, and many of our candidates oversee international companies, but we selected people based upon their influence here in the United States.
You may not agree with all our picks but I can assure you that this list was not compiled lightly. The Fierce editors scrutinized every person we selected to make sure we could justify their position. Write me or comment below and let me know if you disagree with our picks or think we overlooked someone. --Sue
Click the headshots below to learn more about each of our winners.