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The 25 Most Important Private Companies

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The companies were selected based on a combination of factors: their prodigious revenues or assets, their social currency, their deep connection to our daily lives, and (particularly for the newer and smaller companies), their disruptive impact.

For more on the 25 Most Important Private Companies, see "Companies Find a New Allure in Going Private."


By Erika Fry, Leigh Gallagher, Vivian Giang, Erin Griffith, Robert Hackett, Mathew Ingram, John Kell, Beth Kowitt, Adam Lashinsky, Michal Lev-Ram, Sy Mukherjee, Brian O’Keefe, and Christopher Tkaczyk

Fortune has long celebrated the achievements of massive publicly-held corporations in lists such as the long-running Fortune 500. Today, as even super-hot startups forgo IPOs (at least for now), and some public behemoths turn private, the time has come to recognize the hugely significant contributions of those corporations that choose not to sell their stock to the public.

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Dominic Barton, global managing director, McKinsey & Company
Photograph by Pradeep Gaur — Mint Hindustan Times via Getty Images

The McKinsey consultant is an icon of American business, right up there with the gray-suited IBM man. For nearly a century, few firms have had the ear of CEOs like McKinsey and hence such a massive influence on global business. Its approach has always been to disclaim credit (or blame) for its advice, so it’s often hard to detect its fingerprints. But various chroniclers describe it as responsible for business-changing ideas ranging from strategic layoffs to using budgeting as a management tool. The firm has produced a roster of powerful alumni, from the illustrious (Facebook’s Sheryl Sandberg) to the ignominious (ex–Valeant CEO Michael Pearson).

Company Info

CEO Dominic Barton
HQ location New York City

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