Special Report

50 Least Powerful People in the World

1. Bill Ackman
Title: Executive

Bill Ackman had the best returns of any hedge fund manager in 2014, which put him on the list of the top 20 best-performing hedge fund managers of all time. Since then, however, Ackman has lost billions of dollars on his bet on Valeant Pharmaceuticals, whose stock plummeted after federal investigators probed the company’s drug pricing practices. Ackman also lost big after taking a short position on Herbalife, publicly declaring the company was a Ponzi scheme that would tank. As Herbalife stock continued to rise, Ackman has fallen off the list of the top 20
hedge fund managers.

2. Roger Ailes
Title: Executive

As the head of the Fox News Channel since its inception in 1996, Roger Ailes was arguably one of the most influential people in America. His decline began when former daytime anchor Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment suit against him. In the suit Carlson claims that Ailes made aggressive sexual advances at her and then had her fired when she rejected him. Ailes denied the allegations, but dozens of women came forward with stories of harassment since Carlson’s suit was filed. Ailes was forced out of office last month.

3. Hulusi Akar
Title: General

The Turkish military is the second largest of any NATO member nation, and it is central to the nation’s identity. In July, however, a failed coup led by 8,600 soldiers has left the military in disarray. Hulusi Akar, the highest ranking official in the Turkish military, was forced at gunpoint to sign a military coup declaration against his own government. The coup failed when Akar refused to participate and was eventually rescued by Turkish security forces. In response, President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has rounded up and jailed thousands of military personnel suspected to have taken part in the coup. With a fractured army, Turkey has removed the coast guard and police force from military control. The shift has ultimately weakened General Akar’s role.

4. Emperor Akihito
Title: Emperor

Once among the most powerful positions in the world, the emperor of Japan now has no political influence. Japanese law does not currently permit abdication, but Akihito recently suggested he wished to do so. If the law were to change, and Akihito were to abdicate, it would be the first resignation of a Japanese emperor since 1817. The emperor’s stated wish to step down shows not only how little he may be needed in the country’s political affairs, but also serves as a testament to the title’s limited influence.

5 Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo
Title: Secretary General

Mohammad Sanusi Barkindo assumed on August 1, 2016 the office of Secretary General of the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries. OPEC relies on the cooperation from its member nations to control the world’s oil prices. However, in response to increased competition from the United States, in late 2014 Saudi Arabia increased oil production and offered discounts to customers in Asia. While this worked against U.S. oil companies with more than 80 filing for bankruptcy, it also hurt other OPEC member nations and considerably weakened the organization. The position of secretary general today is a much less influential than it once was.