Nathan Deal

1. Nathan Deal

Kasim Reed

2. Kasim Reed

Arthur Blank

3. Arthur Blank

David Ralston

4. David Ralston

Richard Anderson

5. Richard Anderson

Thomas Fanning

6. Thomas Fanning

Johnny Isakson

7. Johnny Isakson

Russ Hardin

8. Russ Hardin

Alicia Philipp

9. Alicia Philipp

Keith Parker

10. Keith Parker

Muhtar Kent

11. Muhtar Kent

Mark Becker

12. Mark Becker

Miguel Southwell

13. Miguel Southwell

John Lewis

14. John Lewis

Egbert Perry

15. Egbert Perry

Frank Poe

16. Frank Poe

Tim Lee

17. Tim Lee

Michael Phillips

18. Michael Phillips

J. Alvin Wilbanks

19. J. Alvin Wilbanks

Michael Russell

20. Michael Russell

John Haupert

21. John Haupert

Chris Riley

22. Chris Riley

Casey Cagle

23. Casey Cagle

Martin Flanagan

24. Martin Flanagan

Tyler Perry

25. Tyler Perry

Meria Carstarphen

26. Meria Carstarphen

Terry McGuirk

27. Terry McGurk

David Cummings

28. David Cummings

Bernie Marcus

29. Bernie Marcus

Milton Little Jr.

30. Milton Little Jr.

Erick Erickson

31. Erick Erickson

Jeff Graham

32. Jeff Graham

Mike Mandl

33. Mike Mandl

35. Sam Olens

Steve Koonin

36. Steve Koonin

Sara Blakely

37. Sara Blakely

Ford Fry

38. Ford Fry

Donna Hyland

39. Donna Hyland

James Wagner

40. James Wagner

Hala Moddelmog

41. Hala Moddelmog

Andrew Young

42. Andrew Young

Kevin Riley

43. Kevin Riley

Doug Hertz

44. Doug Hertz

Jeff Fuqua

45. Jeff Fuqua

Ryan Cameron

46. Ryan Cameron

John Eaves

47. John Eaves

Mark Toro

48. Mark Toro

Russell McMurry

49. Russell McMurry

Shan Cooper

50. Shan Cooper

Raphael Warnock

51. Raphael Warnock

Virginia Hepner

53. Virginia Hepner

Rebecca Serna

54. Rebecca Serna


Compiling a list of the 55 most powerful people in a metro area of almost 6 million carries no small amount of risk. First, limiting it to 55 is to implicitly acknowledge that we live in an oligarchy, in which the few have dominion over the many. Well, is that wrong? Consider just the top 10 on our list—politicians, businesspeople, philanthropists—and the forces they can muster: money, people, vast technologies, personal charisma, not to mention the influence that comes with their titles. Which brings us to another risk of compiling a power list: defining what power is. When we were at loggerheads over whom to include and whom to leave off, we came back to a central theme: The person had to have a direct hand in shaping the metro Atlanta of today. Not yesterday, not tomorrow, but now. Then we decided to rank them, which is when it really got interesting. Developers up against radio hosts? Politicians against rappers? Educators against CEOs? You can imagine the arguments.

So here it is. The 55 most powerful, as seen by us, today. The only thing we know for sure is that by tomorrow, it could all change.

Edited by Steve Fennessy and Scott Henry
Written by Cameron Albert-Deitch, Charles Bethea, Max Blau, Steve Fennessy, Hayden Field, Josh Green, Lauren Loudermilk, Evan Mah, Tony Rehagen, and Payson Schwin.


Ryan Gravel

The new guard: 10 up-and-coming Atlantans who are next in line

Including Chris Appleton, Ryan Gravel, Andre Dickens, and more
Michelle Nunn

Global players: 9 Atlantans in charge on the world scene

Including Jimmy Carter, Michelle Nunn, David Perdue, and more

Éminences grises: 12 trailblazers who helped shape Atlanta

Including Roy Barnes, Shirley Franklin, Sam Massell, and more


Kasim Reed

Q&A: Mayor Kasim Reed on second-term goals, fatherhood, and the future of Turner Field

After he was photographed for our October cover, Mayor Kasim Reed chatted with Atlanta magazine editor-in-chief Steve Fennessy for a discussion about his second-term goals, the future of Turner Field, how fatherhood changed him from a “selfish” man, and what’s next.
Power Erick Erickson

The uncompromising conservatism of Erick Erickson

In a lengthy discussion with Atlanta magazine, Erickson reflects on the now-infamous RedState Gathering, the international origins of his fascination with American politics, his own experience as an elected official, and his long-term aspirations.


Lessons and wisdom from Atlanta’s most powerful

19 of Atlanta's 55 Most Powerful share words of wisdom and lessons they've learned about how to acquire and apply power

A look inside Atlanta’s halls of power

We take a look behind the scenes were the strings are pulled and the wheels are turned
Keith Parker

Keith Parker puts us back on track

MARTA CEO Keith Parker's biggest project yet is the construction of three new rail lines expected to cost upwards of $8 billion. In MARTA’s history, the ambition of Parker’s expansion plan is rivaled only by the ambition behind the agency’s creation five decades ago.

Follow Us