Considering the fact that it was not too many years ago in which African-Americans were discriminated against and simply not given the same opportunities as others, it’s now incredible to see so many being some of the most successful business leaders in the world.

The list is constantly expanding – and some of the members on it might raise a few eyebrows. We have now hand-picked our selections for the most successful African-American business leaders of all time; here goes…


We said there would be a few surprise mentions, and we’d suggest that Oprah is certainly one of them.

She’s renowned for her television show, but don’t let that cloud her business achievements. She’s one of the most influential women in the country and as well as her show, she’s been everything from a radio station owner, magazine owner to even an actress.

The fact that many believe she heavily influenced the 2008 election – just through her name – says everything you need to know about her power in the country.

Charles Phillips

Charles Phillips

Charles Phillips is CEO of Infor and it goes without saying that he is a much different leader to Oprah. For starters, he’s not a big television personality – he’s instead one of the most successful men to ever don the technology industry.

He’s been co-president and director of Oracle, MD of Morgan Stanley and his role at Infor tells its own story of how he’s continuing to move forward. Suffice to say, his name has been associated with some of the biggest tech companies in the world and in terms of innovation – he’s right up there.


Another surprising member of our list comes in the form of Jay-Z. Sure, he might be known for his music, but behind the hip-hop is a man who knows everything about business – and more.

Let’s make no mistake about anything, Jay-Z was able to launch his persona as one of the biggest business leaders in the world all through his music. However, over the years he’s constantly proven how he knows exactly how business ticks – he is CEO of Roc Nation and when you consider that his net worth is cool $450m, it’s safe to say that he’s done a pretty good job all in all.

Kenneth Frazier

Kenneth Frazier is the first African-American man to make it as CEO of a pharmaceutical company. Something else that’s almost as impressive is that he is only the second ever lawyer to hold such a position.

Suffice to say, his business skills are second to none. However, if you delve deeper into Frazier you’ll quickly see that it’s his all-round personality that have helped him become the success he is.

For example, he was able to use his skills as a pro bono lawyer to release a wrongly accused man from death row. The press love him and unlike some business leaders around the world, this isn’t necessarily because of his bulging bank balance.


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