The Business Trailblazers and Titans of Black America

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

25. J. Bruce Llewellyn
The Game Changer
The late Llewellyn was a catalyst for partnerships between black entrepreneurs and major corporations. He partnered with Julius Erving and Bill Cosby to launch Philadelphia Coca-Cola Bottling Co., the first black-owned soft drink bottling franchise. With another group of black investors, he later started Queen City Broadcasting, one of the largest black-owned television networks in the nation.

Don Barden

24. Bill Mays
The King of Chemicals
A business pioneer, he launched Mays Chemical Co. Inc. in 1980, one of the nation’s largest chemical distributors. Mays’ empire includes media, restaurants, and real estate. The intrepid entrepreneur has also been a leading black angel investor, providing capital to a slew of minority businesses including Chemico Mays L.L.C., a newcomer to the be 100s.

23. Ann Fudge
The Barrier Breaker
Fudge rose to become president of the Maxwell House division of Kraft General Foods in 1994, making her the highest-ranking black woman in corporate America and one of the most powerful in the food industry. In 2003, she made history again when she was named Chairman and CEO of Young & Rubicam Brands and Y&R Advertising, the first African American to head a major ad agency.

22. Byron Lewis
The Image Maker
To attract advertisers to his UniWorld Group Inc., Lewis created innovative programs such as black radio soap operas and the nationally syndicated television program America’s Black Forum. UniWorld was one of the first agencies to focus on micro-segments, targeting the Latino and Caribbean communities.

21. Don Barden
The Visionary
Barden entered uncharted territory for black entrepreneurs by developing the largest black cable television operator and managing the only black-owned gaming conglomerate with properties in Las Vegas. A mentor to generations of black professionals, Barden earned be Company of the Year honors in two industries: In 1992 for Barden Communications Inc. and in 2003 for Barden Cos. Inc.

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