100 Most Powerful Chicagoans

Read more about our list—how we define “power” and why we omitted Barack Obama—here. Some choices—and omissions—may be controversial. Good. Tell us who you think we snubbed, who we placed too high or too low, and who we ranked just right in the comments below. We want to know, really. Knowledge, after all, is you-know-what.

Rahm Emanuel
1. Rahm Emanuel
Mayor, City of Chicago


Patrick Fitzgerald
2. Patrick Fitzgerald
U.S. attorney, Northern District of Illinois


Jim Skinner
3. Jim Skinner
CEO, McDonald’s


Mike Madigan
4. Mike Madigan
Speaker, Illinois House


Rocky Wirtz
5. Rocky Wirtz
Chairman, Chicago Blackhawks

David Axelrod
6. David Axelrod
Chief strategist, Obama 2012


Derrick Rose
7. Derrick Rose
Point guard, Chicago Bulls


Penny Pritzker
8. Penny Pritzker
Founder and CEO, Pritzker Realty Group


Grant Achatz
9. Grant Achatz
Chef and restaurateur


Eric Lefkofsky
10. Eric Lefkofsky
Cofounder and chairman, Groupon

Andrew Mason
11. Andrew Mason
Cofounder and CEO, Groupon


Irene Rosenfeld
12. Irene Rosenfeld
Chairman and CEO, Kraft


Toni Preckwinkle
13. Toni Preckwinkle
President, Cook County Board of Commissioners


Jerry Reinsdorf
14. Jerry Reinsdorf
Chairman, Chicago Bulls and White Sox


Miles White
15. Miles White
Chairman and CEO, Abbott Laboratories

Garry McCarthy
16. Garry McCarthy
Superintendent, Chicago Police Department


Joe Mansueto
17. Joe Mansueto
Founder and CEO, Morningstar


Cardinal Francis George
18. Cardinal Francis George
Archbishop of Chicago


Ed Burke
19. Ed Burke
Alderman, 14th Ward


J.B. Pritzker
20. J.B. Pritzker
Cofounder and managing partner, The Pritzker Group

Bradley Keywell
21. Bradley Keywell
Investor and tech entrepreneur


Jeff Smisek
22. Jeff Smisek
CEO, United Continental Holdings


Roger Ebert
23. Roger Ebert
Film critic, Chicago Sun-Times


Robert Zimmer
24. Robert Zimmer
President, University of Chicago


Ann Lurie
25. Ann Lurie

Sam Zell
26. Sam Zell
Chairman, Equity Group Investments


Jean-Claude Brizard
27. Jean-Claude Brizard
Superintendent, Chicago Public Schools


Lisa Madigan
28. Lisa Madigan
Attorney general, State of Illinois


Otis Moss III
29. Otis Moss III
Pastor, Trinity United Church of Christ


Tom Ricketts
30. Tom Ricketts
Chairman, Chicago Cubs

Greg Wasson
31. Greg Wasson
President and CEO, Walgreen


Larry Goodman
32. Larry Goodman
CEO, Rush University Medical Center


Dick Durbin
33. Dick Durbin
United States senator


Rick Bayless
34. Rick Bayless
Chef and restaurateur


John Rogers
35. John Rogers
Founder, chairman, and CEO, Ariel Investments

Anita Alvarez
36. Anita Alvarez
State’s attorney, Cook County


Tom Pritzker
37. Tom Pritzker
Executive chairman, Hyatt


John Canning
38. John Canning
Chairman, Madison Dearborn Partners


Ted Phillips
39. Ted Phillips
President and CEO, Chicago Bears


Martha Lavey
40. Martha Lavey
Artistic director, Steppenwolf Theatre

Ken Griffin
41. Ken Griffin
Founder and CEO, Citadel


Paul Kahan
42. Paul Kahan
Chef and restaurateur


Jorge Ramirez
43. Jorge Ramirez
President, Chicago Federation of Labor


Matt Hynes
44. Matt Hynes
Director, Office of Legislative Counsel and Government Affairs, City of Chicago


John McDonough
45. John McDonough
President and CEO, Chicago Blackhawks

Sunil Kumar
46. Sunil Kumar
Dean, Booth School of Business, University of Chicago


Karen Lewis
47. Karen Lewis
President, Chicago Teachers Union


Theo Epstein
48. Theo Epstein
President of baseball operations, Chicago Cubs


Craig Donohue
49. Craig Donohue
CEO, CME Group


Patricia Hemingway Hall
50. Patricia Hemingway Hall
President and CEO, Health Care Service Corporation

Patrick Ryan
51. Patrick Ryan
CEO, Ryan Specialty Group


Michael Sacks
52. Michael Sacks
CEO, Grosvenor Capital Management


Jeanne Gang
53. Jeanne Gang
Founder and principal, Studio Gang Architects


Bill Hybels
54. Bill Hybels
Pastor, Willow Creek Community Church


Mark Angelson
55. Mark Angelson
Deputy mayor, City of Chicago

Richard Melman
56. Richard Melman
Founder and chairman, Lettuce Entertain You Enterprises


Neil Bluhm
57. Neil Bluhm
Managing principal, Walton Street Capital


Thomas Cole
58. Thomas Cole
Chair, executive committee, Sidley Austin


Richard M. Daley
59. Richard M. Daley
Former mayor, City of Chicago


Robert Falls
60. Robert Falls
Artistic director, Goodman Theatre

Mellody Hobson
61. Mellody Hobson
President, Ariel Investments


Francie Comer
62. Francie Comer


James Crown
63. James Crown
President, Henry Crown and Company


Deborah DeHaas
64. Deborah DeHaas
Vice chairman, Deloitte


Dan Webb
65. Dan Webb
Chairman, Winston & Strawn

Joan Harris
66. Joan Harris


Richard Posner
67. Richard Posner
Judge, United States Court of Appeals


Martin Cabrera Jr.
68. Martin
Cabrera Jr.

Founder and CEO, Cabrera Capital Markets


Richard Sandor
69. Richard Sandor
Founder and CEO, Environmental Financial Products


James Reynolds Jr.
70. James
Reynolds Jr.

Cofounder and CEO, Loop Capital

Eboo Patel
71. Eboo Patel
Founder, Interfaith Youth Core


Deborah Rutter
72. Deborah Rutter
President, Chicago Symphony Orchestra


Desirée Rogers
73. Desirée Rogers
CEO, Johnson Publishing Company


Dick Duchossois
74. Dick Duchossois
Chairman, Duchossois Group


Brendan Sodikoff
75. Brendan Sodikoff
Chef and entrepreneur

Barbara Gaines
76. Barbara Gaines
Artistic director, Chicago Shakespeare Theater


Danny Sólis
77. Danny Sólis
Alderman, 25th Ward


Douglas Druick
78. Douglas Druick
President, Art Institute of Chicago


Linda Johnson Rice
79. Linda Johnson Rice
Chairman, Johnson Publishing Company


Dan McCaffery
80. Dan McCaffery
Chairman and CEO, McCaffery Interests

Patrick O’Connor
81. Patrick O’Connor
Alderman, 40th Ward


Julia Stasch
82. Julia Stasch
Vice president, U.S. Programs, MacArthur Foundation


Jim Thompson
83. Jim Thompson
Senior chairman, Winston & Strawn


John Bryan
84. John Bryan
Chairman, NATO/G8 host committee


Joanne C. Smith
85. Joanne C. Smith
President and CEO, Rehabilitation Institute of Chicago

Andrew Alexander
86. Andrew Alexander
Co-owner and CEO, The Second City


Michelle Boone
87. Michelle Boone
Commissioner, Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events, City of Chicago


Michael Pfleger
88. Michael Pfleger
Pastor, St. Sabina Catholic Church


Scott Harris
89. Scott Harris


Bruce Rauner
90. Bruce Rauner
Chairman, GTCR Golden Rauner

Vince Vaughn
91. Vince Vaughn
Actor and producer


Devin Hester
92. Devin Hester
Wide receiver, Chicago Bears


Andrew J. McKenna
93. Andrew J. McKenna
Chairman, Schwarz Supply Source


Lou Raizin
94. Lou Raizin
President, Broadway in Chicago


R. Bruce Dold
95. R. Bruce Dold
Editorial page editor, Chicago Tribune

Tony Hu
96. Tony Hu


Ikram Goldman
97. Ikram Goldman
Owner, Ikram


Melody Spann-Cooper
98. Melody Spann-Cooper
President, Midway Broadcasting Corporation


Bill Daley
99. Bill Daley
Cochair, Obama 2012


Marc Weissbluth
100. Marc Weissbluth
Founder, Sleep Medicine Center at Children’s Memorial Hospital


RELATED: Most Powerful Ex-Chicagoans | Power Couples | Power Siblings | Up-and-Comers | Poll: Which Powerful Chicagoan Would You Call Back First? | Quiz: Do You Know Chicago’s Power Players?

Story by Jeff Bailey, David Bernstein, Cassie Walker Burke, Marcia Froelke Coburn, Claudine Isé, Geoffrey Johnson, Esther Kang, Ted McClelland, Kevin McKeough, Penny Pollack, Dennis Rodkin, Jeff Ruby, Chris Silva, Lena Singer, Bryan Smith, Jennifer Tanaka, Jennifer Wehunt


2 years ago
Posted by mkmChicago

Are you guys serious ? Not a single alderman, ward committeeman, state rep or state senator on the list ? Don't you have a clue as to how Chicago really works ? Kissing up to Rahm, who is in fact far from the most powerful man in Chicago, along with butt-kissing kudo to Derrick Rose, a great ball player, but who couldn't get a ticket fixed to save his life ....

What a stupid, popularity contest of a list. Vince Vaughn ? Seriously ? Vince Freaking Vaughn ?

At least it's hilarious.

2 years ago
Posted by Peter Blood

The mayor as #1 seems totally appropriate as do most of your choices from the political, business, sports, and entertainment spheres. Two individuals you missed were Pat Quinn and Joe Berrios, the current governor of the our state and the current Cook County assessor.
Not including the governor is a big ommission, partially because as gov he has so much influence on the lives of the residents of Chicago but also because of his good working relationships with President Obama, Mike Madigan and Rahm Emanuel.
As for assessor Berrios, just amount of money he controls in the form of property tax dollars in Cook County, should place him in the top 25 most powerful people. He has a direct influence, directly or indirectly on all of the residents (renters and owners) of everyone in the city. Also consider his power as chairman of the Cook County Democratic Party.

2 years ago
Posted by Elizabeth Riley (Chicago magazine)

Hi MKMChicago!

Just to clarify, there are aldermen, U.S. senators, and representatives for the Illinois House on our list. If you'd like to read up on them, they're listed as follows:

- Mike Madigan - #4 (Illinois House)
- Ed Burke - #19 (14th Ward Alderman)
- Dick Durbin - #33 (United States senator)
- Danny Solis - #77 (25th Ward Alderman)
- Patrick O'Connor - #81 (40th Ward Alderman)

And you can read up on our list process here: http://bit.ly/zTlAPo

Hope this helps and thanks for commenting!



2 years ago
Posted by petegurski

No Tony Weisman? The man who brought a multi-BILLION dollar piece of business (Sprint) to the Chicago Advertising community. Rumored to Generate 400+ jobs in the market. Word on the street is that Rahm personally thanked Tony for winning the business and bringing it to a struggling market. Just saying...

2 years ago
Posted by jimmy

I thought Dick Durbin is an "Illinoisan Senator" from Springfield. The article title indicates these are "Chicagoans.

2 years ago
Posted by Gordon

I've been away from Chicago since closing Gordon NYE 1999, but still keep in touch by Chicago Magazine, WGN, NYT and with the help of several in your 100 List.

Two Chicagoans who I think are part of any 'movers & shakers' list are:

1. Lislie Hindman, Founder and CEO of her auction businesses and who has a top table at most all charity events.

2. Albert Friedman, President and CEO of Friedman Properties, Inc. and the 'owner/founder' of River North from the The River to Grand Ave. Philanthropist, mentor to many star chef's, and ALWAYS paid his tabs at Gordon where the waitstaff loved his generosity.

3. Oprah is still a Chicagoan and opinion maker to the world..........

Gordon Sinclair

2 years ago
Posted by Elizabeth Riley (Chicago magazine)

Hi Jimmy,

Thanks for your question about Dick Durbin. Senator Durbin splits his residence between Chicago (has an apartment) and Springfield (has a home). When he's in D.C., he shares a group house with other lawmakers.

Let us know if you have any more questions!



2 years ago
Posted by j640922

Nice to see so many women on this list. I'm really surprised Irene Rosenfeld is so high up, given that Kraft has performed so poorly under her tenure. Lisa Madigan is surprisingly low and why is Ted Phillips on this list at all?

2 years ago
Posted by MChicago

Not a single musician on the list? Ouch.

2 years ago
Posted by epm13

What no Justice Ann Burke?

2 years ago
Posted by oboechic

I'm not sure if the lack of a single musician from ANY genre is a slap in the face or indicative of how music sinks to the back of our minds when we think about social influence.

Also, that two MAJOR musical institutions in Chicago weren't included on the list - the Lyric Opera and the Chicago Symphony Orchestra is a sad sign that classical music can easily become irrelevant to mainstream society. A sign of financial troubles to come for beloved institutions?

What about the Old Town School who just opened their new state-of-the-art building? It's a sad day when athletes and an actor make the list and NO MUSICIANS do.

2 years ago
Posted by MChicago

OBOECHIC - CSO is represented at #72. But yes the almost complete lack folks from the music industry is painful. Especially considering there are four chefs, three restauranteurs, and six theater people.

2 years ago
Posted by Elizabeth Riley (Chicago magazine)

Hi Oboechic,

Thanks for commenting on the story. We appreciate the feedback. Our list does include the president of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, Deborah Rutter, at number 72.

You can read more about her here: http://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/March-2012/100-Most-Powerful-Chicagoans-Deborah-Rutter/



2 years ago
Posted by Nora O'Donnell

Also, we feature Sir Andrew Davis and Gianna Rolandi of the Lyric Opera in our power couples section:


2 years ago
Posted by Orion

Michelle Boone ?
Really ?

No black aldermen ?

Highest rated black male is the sterotypical basketball player ?

And if you think Derrick Rose (7) has more power than either Daley (59, 99), the makers of this list must be very naieve about the state of race relations in this city.

Derrick Rose (7) is an EMPLOYEE, with more power than the man who signs his paychecks (#14) ?

This list must have been generated to spur water cooler discussion and not really taken seriously.

2 years ago
Posted by Orion

While I applaud her for making the list, but if you think Melody Sphann Cooper is more powerful than the Chairman of the largest bank in America, former cabinet member and chief of staff to the president, I have some swampland to sell you Palm Springs.

Bill Daley, is worth millions and runs a company worth billions and sits/sat at the seat of power to the higest office in the world;

Melody Sphann, heads a radio station where the phones don't work sometimes.

2 years ago
Posted by biggin 66

Cathy Harris should be included... Ms. Harris donated 30million $ to the Ronald McDonald House that is being built on Grand ave.
She also donated 50 million to help build Millenium Park on Michigan ave...Cathy is a true and Loyal patron of our Great City.
God Bless Cathy Harris.

2 years ago
Posted by Jon9509

Where's Lester Crown? He's not only a major philanthropist but is one of Chicago's premier civic leaders. And it's not enough to include him in the "couples" category.

2 years ago
Posted by Wyziwig

Roger Ebert and Desiree Rogers are the only media people on the list? Really?

2 years ago
Posted by Lou

It is telling that Gov. Quinn was left off the list which has Mayor Emanuel and Rep. Mike Madigan in the top five. Quinn is nothing but a placeholder who does whatever he is told to do my Madigan.

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