The Business Trailblazers and Titans of Black America

The 40 most powerful African Americans in business-and how they shaped our world

R. Donahue Peebles

35. Travers Bell
The Father of Black Investment Banking
The late Bell co-founded investment bank Daniels & Bell, which in 1971 became the first black-owned investment bank on the New York Stock Exchange. In addition, Bell structured the first leveraged buyout completed by an African American when his DanBell subsidiary acquired Cocoline Chocolate, which was included among the largest black-owned companies.

34. Cathy Hughes
The Broadcasting Architect
Hughes made Radio One Inc. into a multimedia empire, acquiring more than 70 radio stations. In 1999, she took the company public, making it one of the few black-owned companies on the NASDAQ. In 2004, through an alliance with Comcast, she started TV One L.L.C., creating the nation’s largest black-owned cable television network.

33. Maynard Jackson
The Great Equalizer
The first black mayor of Atlanta, the late Jackson launched the first minority business enterprise program. It mandated minority participation in government contracts and set a national standard. He also opened one of the largest black-owned investment banks, Jackson Securities, and founded the National Association of Securities Professionals.

32. R. Donahue Peebles
The Real Estate Groundbreaker
Peebles has been a game changer in the real estate industry. Building one of the largest black-owned real estate firms, he acquired the Royal Palm Resort in Miami Beach, Florida—the first black-owned and -developed resort in the nation—to add to The Peebles Corp.’s multibillion-dollar portfolio of properties.

31. Don Coleman
The Multicultural Marketing Maestro
Coleman is a revolutionary who has rejected the traditional approach of many black ad agencies. Over the past decade, he’s developed the largest multicultural agency by using a small collection of businesses targeting the “total market,” including African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and young professionals. Coleman is the only CEO to receive be Ad Agency of the Year recognition three times.

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