John Rogers Jr.
Occupation: Founder, chairman, and CEO, Ariel Investments
Obama’s bud preaches what he practices: Wealth brings security and power, and building it takes research and patience. Rogers’s 85-employee firm (which has $9 billion in assets under management) notched 2013 returns of 46 percent for its Ariel Midcap Appreciation Investor Fund and 47 percent for its Ariel Midcap Appreciation Institutional Fund (versus 34 percent for the average midcap fund, according to Morningstar).
But the impact of this charismatic CEO—a University of Chicago trustee and passionate advocate for financial literacy—far exceeds his firm’s size. When he talks, Chicago’s elite listen. “We’re a capitalist democracy,” he says. “We want to make sure minorities have the opportunity to be included.”