From business leaders to politicians, those in power know that it is work to get to the top and a struggle to stay there. Challenges from opponents can present themselves at any time and then there’s always the next test, the next task, the next obstacle.

Cincy’s 10th annual Power 100 list recognizes those people who hold and use the most clout to benefit the region. 

1 John Cranley
Mayor of Cincinnati

Promising to shake things up, John Cranley hit the ground running as Cincinnati’s 69th mayor, stopping the controversial parking lease and showing City Manager Milton Dohoney the door, even before being sworn in. He couldn’t overcome the streetcar’s momentum, however. Cranley has promised to build coalitions on Council to deal with the thorny issues of job growth, public safety and city finances including its pension deficit.

2 Robert Castellini
Chairman, Castellini Co.; CEO, Cincinnati Reds

The Reds’ 2013 season ended on a sour note when the team lost five straight games and failed to clinch a second consecutive NL Central Division title. But the Reds were a hit at the box office, setting a new GABP attendance record of 2,492,000. And while the Reds haven’t made it to the World Series under Castellini’s ownership, he secured the MLB All-Star Game for Cincinnati in 2015.

3 Santa Ono
President, University of Cincinnati

Two years into his tenure as UC’s 28th president, Ono continues to lift the university’s profile. Ono, an omnipresent fixture on social media (#hottestcollegeinAmerica), is a popular figure among faculty students and the community. He recommended a two-year tuition freeze, approved unanimously by the trustees, and the sale of the university owned president’s residence to create a scholarship fund.


4 John Boehner
Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives

Last year was a tough one for the 12-term congressman. He saw House Republicans ignore his advice and force the government into a partial 16-day shutdown of the federal government, which ended up hurting the party in the polls. However, Boehner finished the year on a high note winning support for a bipartisan two-year budget deal that should avoid another shutdown.

5 John Barrett
Chairman and CEO, Western & Southern

Despite an extended legal battle, he prevailed in the battle with the Anna Louise Inn, securing an agreement to acquire the site of the 104-year-old home for troubled women for $4 million. He plans to build a new hotel on the site, expected to have a $400 million impact over 30 years.

6 A.G. Lafley
Chairman and CEO, Procter & Gamble Co.

The former P&G leader came out of retirement in May to mend fences with Wall Street investors—chiefly with activist investor William Ackman—unhappy with the consumer giant’s slow growth under former CEO Bob McDonald. Lafley, who retired in 2010, was credited with revitalizing P&G by refocusing on consumer wants during nine years as CEO. His tenure this time isn’t expected to be as long, but he’ll need to get the company growing again, possibly sell some underperforming assets such as Duracell batteries and Iams pet foods and groom his successor.

7 Carl Lindner III & Craig Lindner
Co-Presidents and CEOs, American Financial Group

Although they maintain a lower profile than their famous father, the Lindner brothers, Carl III and Craig, continue to focus on the family business. One way to do that is to keep shareholders happy and in December, AFG returned $90 million to investors in the form of a special, one-time $1 a share dividend reflecting the company’s strong financial position. Carl III, who turned 60 in August, and Craig, who turns 59 in March, have indicated they have no plans to retire soon.

8 Tom Williams
President and partner, North American Properties

A member of one of Cincinnati’s most influential families and leader of one of its most powerful organizations, the Cincinnati Business Committee, Williams, a co-owner of the Cincinnati Reds, is also on the board of the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation (3CDC) which continues development downtown. He is also part of the leadership of Build Our Bridge Now, the business group pushing for a new Brent Spence Bridge. 

9 Bill Butler
Chairman, Corporex Corp.

No one’s had a bigger hand in shaping the Northern Kentucky skyline than Butler, who started the Corporex commercial real estate empire in 1965 as a one-man construction company. The 19-story RiverCenter I started in 1989 was the first major development on the Northern Kentucky riverfront in 70 years. He followed that with RiverCenter II, now the firm’s offices, in the late 1990s, and more recently followed that with the singular Ascent luxury condominium high rise.

10 Rick Lofgren
President and CEO, UC Health

Taking over in December for the retiring James Kingsbury as leader of the region’s only academic medical center, Lofgren offered a challenge to UC Health employees: bring your “A” game every day. Lofgren, who is a physician and holds a master’s degree in public health, was chief clinical officer for the University Healthsystem Consortium in Chicago.

11 John Prout
President and CEO, Trihealth

The longest-tenured health system CEO in town, Prout steered Trihealth through a financial turnaround and a large expansion of facilities. Late last year, he teamed with St. Elizabeth’s Healthcare in Northern Kentucky to form Healthcare Solutions Network, a joint venture built to offer lower health care costs to individuals and employers.

12 John Dubis
President and CEO, St. Elizabeth Healthcare

As leader of Northern Kentucky’s largest employer and healthcare system, Dubis is faced with navigating the complex new health care world and increased inroads south of the river by Ohio-based institutions. In November, St. E’s broke ground on its Heart and Vascular Institute that officials hope will draw more patients from Ohio and Kentucky.

13 Dr. Yousuf Ahmad
President and CEO, Mercy Health

A former health system IT executive who implemented the region’s first electronic medical records system, Ahmad is responsible for the transformation of primary and specialty care across Mercy’s central division.

14 Steve Arlinghaus
Judge Executive, Kenton County

The first term Judge Executive has been forced into the uncomfortable role of peacemaker amid the infighting surrounding the Kenton County Airport Board and CEO Candace McGraw. After some members couldn’t oust McGraw, the board’s activities are the focus of a state audit, as they seek to improve service and attract low-cost carriers.

15 Mike Brown
President Cincinnati Bengals

Cincinnati’s lesser-loved professional team owner had the clout to get some of the city’s biggest corporations to pony up to prevent a TV blackout of the Bengals Jan. 5 playoff game and maintain a season-long string of home sell-outs. After winning the AFC North, the team couldn’t hold up its end, continuing a string of 23 consecutive seasons without a post-season victory.

16 Laura Brunner
President and CEO, Port Authority of Greater Cincinnati

As one of the region’s highest profile female CEOs, the former commercial real estate executive faces the challenge of finding a way to fund the port authority’s beefed-up economic development mission after the new City Council killed the parking lease deal.

17 Charlie Winburn
Cincinnati City Council Member

The conservative Republican welds considerable clout after Mayor Cranley tapped Winburn, who spent seven years on council before being term-limited out, to chair Council’s powerful Budget and Finance Committee amid speculation he might pursue a seat in the state legislature.

18 Marty Brennaman
Reds Radio Announcer

Players, coaches and managers come and go, but the outspoken Hall of Fame announcer will mark his 50th year in broadcasting and 41st year in the Reds radiobroadcast booth this season after signing a three-year contract extension last fall. This one belongs to Marty!


19 The Rev. Michael J. Graham
President, Xavier University

Now in his 14th year, Graham is faced with the daunting challenge of leading the private Jesuit institution through the increasingly choppy waters of higher education. Last year, for example, XU made $5 million in budget cuts including the unprecedented step of eliminating 51 jobs as part of an effort to reposition the school for the future.

20 Kay Geiger
Regional President, PNC Bank

Active in both community and banking, Geiger is just two years removed from leading the United Way Campaign. She stepped down last year as chairman of Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber, which has undergone transition with new CEO Brian Carly replacing longtime CEO Ellen Vander Horst this year.

21 Bob McDonald
Chairman, Cintrifuse

Six months after retiring from P&G under pressure from Wall Street, McDonald took the high road and re-emerged as chairman of Cintrifuse, the innovation incubator he and other business leaders in the Cincinnati Business Committee see invigorating the region’s entrepreneurial economy.


22 Otto Budig
CEO and President, Budco Group

The successful businessman, named a Great Living Cincinnatian this year, continues to put his money where his heart is as one of the local business executives who stepped up to save Cincinnati’s controversial streetcar. It’s not the first time. In 2012, he stepped up when negotiations over renovations at Music Hall were at an impasse. He led the group, which hammered out a 75-year lease, clearing the way for a $95 million renovation of the Over-the-Rhine landmark.

23 Rob Portman
U.S. Senator

Whether his unexpected about-face on same-sex marriage after his son revealed he was a homosexual ultimately hurts or helps the Republican in the long run remains unclear. Social conservatives were enraged, but his shift may mirror changing views on gay marriage among voters more concerned with economic issues. Still, he could face a primary challenge in 2016.

24 Dr. O’dell Owens
President, Cincinnati State Community and Technical College

Now in his fourth year as head of one of Ohio’s largest community colleges, Owens continues to grow Cincinnati State’s brand expanding north with a campus in downtown Middletown. He also serves on the board of US Bank and the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport.


25 Bill Cunningham
Radio/TV Talk Show Host

The self-styled “Great American” has been a fixture on 700WLW for more than 30 years, offering his particular take on local, state and national issues. He’s branched out with a national TV show for Tribune Broadcasting, spurring speculation about how much longer he’ll grace the day-to-day airwaves at “The Big One.”

75 More Power Players in the Tristate
Alphabetical by last name

Steve Behler, President, CEO, Kemba Credit Union

Jeffrey Blackwell, Police Chief, City of Cincinnati

Rich Boehne, President, CEO, E.W. Scripps Co.

Neil Bortz, Towne Properties

Katie Brown Blackburn, Executive Vice President, Cincinnati Bengals

Margaret Buchanan, President, Publisher, Enquirer Media; Vice President, Gannett Interstate Group

Brian Carley, President, CEO, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber

Helen Carroll, Manager, Community Relations, Toyota

Steve Chabot, U.S. Representative, Ohio 1st District

Thomas G. Cody, Chairman, Board of Trustees, Children's Hospital

Brent Cooper, interim President, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce and businessman 

Alfonso Cornejo, President, Hispanic Chamber of Cincinnati

Robert Coy, President, CincyTech

Cathy T. Crain, Philanthropist; Chairman, Cincinnati Opera

Claude Davis, President, CEO, First Financial Bancorp

Joe Deters, Prosecutor, Hamilton County

Edward Diller, Partner-in-Charge, Cincinnati Office, Taft Stettinius & Hollister

Jocile Ehrlich, President, CEO, Better Business Bureau

James Ellerhorst, Chairman, Greater Cincinnati United Way

Scott D. Farmer, CEO, Cintas 

The Most Rev. Roger J. Foys, D.D., Bishop, Diocese of Covington 

Charles H. Gerhardt III, Lobbyist, Government Strategies Group

George Glover, Lobbyist and Managing Director, Focused Capitol Solutions LLC, Taft Stettinius & Hollister Governmental Affairs Group

Greg Hartmann, Commissioner, Hamilton County

Gary Heiman, President, CEO, Standard Textile

Joseph Hinson, President, CEO, West Chester/Liberty Chamber Alliance 

Erin Hoeflinger, President, Anthem Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Ohio 

Jim Huff, Chairman, Kenton County Airport Board 

David Joyce, President, CEO, GE Aviation

Kevin Kabat, Vice Chairman, CEO, Fifth Third Bank

Ellen Katz, The Children's Home of Cincinnati

Eric Kearney, Minority Leader, Ohio Senator, District 9; Founder, Sesh Communications

Mike Keating, President, CEO, The Christ Hospital Health Network

Dr. Dean Kereiakes, Medical Director, The Christ Hospital Heart and Vascular Center; Medical Director, Carl and Edyth Linder Center for Research and Education; Founder, Ohio Heart and Vascular Center

Matt Layer, CLO, Executive Vice President, LCNB Corp; Board Member, Warren County United Way

Stephen Leeper, President, CEO, 3CDC

Dan Lincoln, President, CEO, Cincinnati Convention & Visitors Bureau

Terry Lundgren, President, CEO, Macy's 

Thomas Massie, U.S. Representative, Kentucky 4th District

Mary McCullough-Hudson, President, CEO, ArtsWave 

Douglass McDonald, President, CEO, Cincinnati Museum Center

Candace McGraw, CEO, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport

Rod McMullen, President, CEO, Kroger Co.

Geoffrey Mearns, President, Northern Kentucky University

Kathryn Merchant, President, CEO, Greater Cincinnati Foundation

Wendell Mettey, President, Founder, Matthew 25: Ministries

Chris Monzel, Commissioner, Hamilton County 

Karen Mueller, Chairperson, Butler County United Way

Jim Neil, Sheriff, Hamilton County

Mark Policinski, Executive Director, OKI

Todd Portune, Commissioner, Hamilton County

Maribeth Rahe, President, CEO, Fort Washington Investment Advisors 

Robert Reifsnyder, President, CEO, United Way of Greater Cincinnati 

Scott Robertson, President, CEO, Cincinnati Regional Business Committee

Mary Ronan, Superintendent, Cincinnati Public Schools

Michael Rozow, COO, Dearborn Co. Economic Development Initiative

Jeff Ruby, Founder, Owner, Jeff Ruby Restaurants

Sean Rugless, President, CEO, Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce

Larry Savage, Regional CEO, Humana Midwest; Vice Chairman, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport

Melody Sawyer Richardson, Arts patron, philanthropist

Rev. Dennis Schnurr, Archbishop, Archdiocese of Cincinnati

James Schwab, President, CEO, Health Foundation of Greater Cincinnati; President, CEO, InterAct for Health and Interact for Change

William Seitz, Ohio Senator, District 8

Larry Sheakley, CEO, Sheakley Group

Jamie Smith, Publisher, Cincinnati Business Courier 

H. Lytle Thomas, President, CEO, Heritage Bank 

Brian Tome, Senior Pastor, Crossroads

Ted Torbeck, CEO, President, Cincinnati Bell

Alex Triantafilou, Chairman, Hamilton County Republican Party

Matthew Van Sant, President, CEO, Clermont Chamber of Commerce

James Wainscott, Chairman, CEO, President, AK Steel

Jeff Weedman, CEO, Cintrifuse

Dick Weiland, Founder, President, Richard Consulting Corp.

Brad Wenstrup, U.S. Representative, Ohio 2nd District

Dr. Robin White, President, CEO, Great Oaks Career Campuses



David Armstrong, an attorney and new president of Thomas More College in Crestview Hills, Ky.

Rocky Boiman, chairman Green Township board of trustees, and former NFL, Notre Dame and St. Xavier football player.

Craig Brammer, former Washington D.C. health planner and first CEO of the combined Greater Cincinnati Health Council, the Health Collaborative and HealthBridge. 

Ben Dusing, a former assistant U.S. attorney who has represented several high profile clients and launched a new Northern Kentucky law firm last year.

Terry Garcia-Crews, CEO and general manager of the Cincinnati Metro transit system since 2010. 

Dr. Kevin Joseph, president and CEO of West Chester Hospital and practicing emergency room physician.

Dave Knox, chief marketing officer for RockFish, a growing digital agency, a co-founder of The Brandery and advocate of Cincinnati’s entrepreneurial community.

Bobby Maly, chief operating officer and principal at the Model Group, active in redevelopment in Over-the-Rhine and elsewhere in the city.

Rob McDonald, attorney with Taft Stettinius & Hollister focusing on corporate, securities, venture capital and sports law, and a founder of The Brandery.

Johnmark Oudersluys, executive director of CityLink, the nonprofit offering integrated social services through its West End center.

Tim Schigel, venture capitalist, founder of ShareThis, a web sharing platform and manager of Cintrifuse’s fund of funds.

P.G. Sittenfeld, second term Cincinnati City Council member and top vote-getter in the November election.

Joshua Smith, City of Hamilton city manager since 2010 and key figure in leading the city’s economic revitalization.