Business North Carolina’s Power List:
The most influential business leaders in the state

Business North Carolina’s Power List is an inaugural, one-of-a-kind report on the state’s most influential leaders covering key industries such as agriculture, finance, health care, real estate and technology.

The list provides details about prominent people and their affiliated institutions. It’s also full of wisdom, insight and some humor from listees who shared their views on their organizations, interests and passions.

Business North Carolina’s editorial team created the list after seeking nominations, talking with dozens of sources and doing extensive research. The magazine has produced previous lists limited to 100 key people, but we concluded that expanding that number would give a better overview of North Carolinians who tend to have the most influence.

A stipulation: There are thousands of terrific leaders across North Carolina, and the list is inherently subjective. We started by selecting industry categories, then sought a selection of representatives from powerful institutions. We limited the picks to one person per organization except for a few dominant employers.

We look forward to feedback from readers who can remind us of obvious omissions.

The list has a bias toward executives in the major metropolitan areas, where most of the state’s economic growth is occurring. Those leaders also attract most of the media attention. Great leaders in rural areas often get overlooked, unfortunately, though we made an effort to be as inclusive as possible.

We didn’t include elected officials or government executives, focusing instead on private- and quasi-private sector officials. A few public employees are included, such as UNC System chancellors, who lead huge organizations and wield major economic clout.

The list shows a continued dominance of male leaders. Our research found that women are gaining more top positions in education, finance, law and other sectors. But family-owned businesses, which remain dominant enterprises in many industries, are still largely led by men.

Thank you to the many people who contributed to this snapshot of the state’s business leadership in early 2021. We are truly appreciative and wish all continued success in the years ahead.

Read the full list online here, or purchase a physical copy of the Power List here.

Release date: May 3, 2021