The Tristates Most Influential Leaders

1 Bob McDonald

President and CEO, PROCTER & GAMBLE

The leader of Cincinnati's most venerable company faced a challenge from activist investor William Ackman. Still, he continued to lead things such as P&G's global safe drinking water initiative and efforts to spur venture capital in Cincinnati. At year end, he got a vote of confidence from his board and P&G's shares closed higher.

2 John Barrett

Chairman, President, CEO Western & Southern

Despite an ongoing legal battle with neighbor Anna Louise Inn, the man behind Great American Tower at Queen City Square, the city's tallest building, continues to articulate his vision for his hometown including advocating a signature project as a symbol for the region.

3 Robert Castellini

Chairman, Castellini Co.; CEO Cincinnati Reds

Everyone was batty about the Reds when the team won the National League Central Division title and the first two games of the NL Division Series in San Francisco. But three straight losses at home shook fans and ended the season. A thrilling Reds Fest has set the tone as players head to spring training. If the team gets off to a quick start, there's reason to believe attendance will exceed 2012's 2.3 million, the most in Castellini's seven-year tenure.

4 Santa Ono

President, University of Cincinnati

Six months ago, Ono was known best for being the hip Provost who kept up with students via Twitter. After replacing Gregory Williams in October, he has been center stage for a number of high-profile events: the crumbling Big East Conference; the departure of football coach Butch Jones and the hiring of Tommy Tuberville; the rebranding of University Hospital as UC Medical Center.

5 Kay Geiger

Regional President, PNC Bank

Geiger knows community involvement is good business and the banker has cultivated both fields during her career. A member of almost as many local boards as she has fingers, Geiger led the 2011 United Way campaign that exceeded its goal. Collaboration is the key to that kind of success, and Geiger is a master of that.

6 Carl Lindner III & Craig Lindner

Co-Presidents and CEOs, American Financial Group

The company weathered a projected $25 million to $35 million loss caused by Hurricane Sandy to issue a one-time cash dividend of 25 cents per share of common stock as a "reflection of AFG's strong financial position "¢" The brothers continue along the path blazed by their father, Carl, who died in October 2011.

7 Michael Fisher

President and CEO, Cincinnati Children's Hospital Medical Center

Since becoming chief of one of the nation's premier pediatric hospitals, the Cincinnati native and former Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber president has continued to push it to new heights. Construction is under way on a new 15-story research tower on the main campus that will make Children's the nation's largest pediatric research center when completed in 2015. Children's already is the second-highest recipient of research grants from the National Institutes of Health among pediatric institutions and ranks third among the best children's hospitals according to U.S. News and World Report.

8 John Boehner

Speaker, U.S. House of Representatives

The West Chester Congressman is the poster person for the ebb and flow of politics. He was stuck between public support for President Barack Obama's plan to raise taxes on the wealthy and the vehement opposition to any tax increase from a number of Republicans in the House. After ceding the "Fiscal Cliff" negotiations to GOP Sen. Mitch McConnell, Boehner was re-elected Speaker, but the vote wasn't unanimous.

9 Larry Savage

Midwest CEO of Humana Inc.

As leader of Humana's Midwest operations and vice chairman of the Kenton County Airport Board, the Northern Kentucky native is at the center of two of the biggest issues facing the region: healthcare and expanding service from the Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport. Supporters say he brings compassion and common sense to both roles.

10 Tom Williams

President and partner of North American Properties

A member of one of Cincinnati's most influential families, he's also at the focal point of its most powerful institutions. He is chairman of the Cincinnati Business Committee, on the board of the Cincinnati Center City Development Corporation, and the Greater Cincinnati Port Authority. He's also a co-owner and vice president and treasurer of the Cincinnati Reds.

11 James Kingsbury

President, CEO UC Health

Kingsbury, who has led hospitals from Hamilton to Dubai, has the background to guide UC Health and its 700 UC Physicians through the evolving healthcare scene. On his agenda is completing the buildout of West Chester Hospital and a long-delayed new tower at the recently renamed University of Cincinnati Medical Center.

12 John Prout

President, CEO TriHealth

The longest-tenured health system CEO in town, Prout has steered TriHealth through a financial turn-around, restructurings and tremendous growth in facilities, services and employees over the last 25 years. He also chairs the Partners in a Competitive Workforce, a regional effort aimed at matching worker skills with employers' needs. "I have a strong belief that healthcare and a healthy community can not be done in a vacuum," he says.

13 Candace S. McGraw

CEO, Cincinnati/Northern Kentucky International Airport

Charged with reinventing the airport, one of the region's primary economic engines, McGraw is off to a good start with the reopening of new-look Concourse A in May. Other plans include a travelers lounge/work area aimed at business customers and stepped-up efforts with the help of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Cincinnati USA Chamber and business leaders to draw more air service. The airport recently won an industry award of "Best Regional Airport in North America" and federal Homeland Security recognition for safety.

14 Mark Mallory

Mayor, Cincinnati

Unable to run again because of term limits, Mallory will likely leave a mixed legacy. He has presided over high-profile projects (The Banks, Washington Park), but been skewered for his unwavering support for the streetcar plan while the city struggles to balance its budget and reduce its staggering retirement system obligations. Next up: a position in the Obama Administration?

15 Mike Brown

President Cincinnati Bengals

Although the streak years without a playoff win grew to 22, the team made it to the postseason for the second straight year, winning seven of their final eight games to earn a wild-card berth. In addition, Brown lowered some ticket prices for 2012 and moved the team's training camp to the Paul Brown Stadium complex, two fairly impressive public relations maneuvers.

16 Jack Cassidy
President and CEO, Cincinnati Bell

Once billed as "the most honest man in telecom" by Forbes, Cassidy isn't afraid to act whether it's reshaping the 178-year-old telecommunications company he's led for 10 years or finding mentors and resources to reinvent the award-winning Taft Information Technology School.

17 Steve Stevens

President, Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce

A percussionist by avocation, Stevens beats the drum for Northern Kentucky's business community. Northern Kentucky's economy has been expanding with new jobs and development but also faces tough issues ranging from the future of airport service to paying for a new Brent Spence Bridge. Stevens will be setting the beat for all of it.

18 Margaret Buchanan
Publisher, Enquirer Media

The Enquirer introduced its pay-to-view website at and will introduce a smaller version of the print newspaper when the bugs are worked out at the Columbus Dispatch, where it will be printed. She resigned from the University of Cincinnati board after former president Greg Williams quit, but was elected chairwoman of the board of directors at UC Health.

19 Rob Portman
U.S. Senator

Maybe it was a good thing that the senator was bypassed for the vice presidential nomination by GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney. Portman's self-described "common-sense conservative" approach could be crucial as Congress struggles to reach consensus on issues that have gridlocked the country.

20 Fr. Michael J. Graham

President, Xavier University

Many leaders preach outreach, but Graham lives it from his home in a campus residence hall and from the pulpit of Sunday night Mass at Bellarmine Chapel. These days, the Evanston campus barely resembles the place that Graham took over in 2001, but it's not just the physical changes. He has led community initiatives, including a task force after the 2001 riots and last year received a National Human Relations Award from the American Jewish Committee regional office.

21 Bill Cunningham

Radio/TV Talk Show Host

Cincinnati's King of All Media enjoyed enough success in his first season as a national TV show host that Tribune Broadcasting signed him for another year. His television persona (the goal is to "resolve conflicts and mend relationships" according to his website) differs from the bombast of his WLW-AM radio show ("The Bengals will win the Super Bowl"), Cunningham never lacks an opinion.

22 Marty Brennaman

Reds Radio Announcer

The silver-haired Hall of Famer vowed that he would shave his head if the team won 10 straight games last season. After the team did its part, Brennaman turned the event into an emotional evening at Great American Ball Park when he shared the spotlight with three youngsters of the Dragonfly Foundation, which raises money for children with cancer or blood disorders.

23 Brent Cooper

President and Owner, C-Forward Inc.

Immediate past president of the Northern Kentucky Chamber of Commerce, Cooper is part coach and cheerleader for the region, joking that Northern Kentucky puts the "Greater" in Greater Cincinnati. His information technology networking and consulting firm is part of the revival of downtown Covington. He's been actively involved in finding a workable solution to the Brent Spence Bridge and leads efforts to link NKY schools to the business community.

24 Otto Budig

CEO, President Budco Group

The successful businessman puts his money where his heart is: the region's arts community. Budig stepped up last year when negotiations between the Music Hall Revitalization Company and the city were at an impasse. He replaced Jack Rouse as head of the group and by the end of the year reached a deal on a 75-year lease that paved the way for $95 million renovation of the iconic Elm Street building.

25 Stuart Aitken

CEO, dunnhumbyUSA

As the leader of one of downtown's fastest growing employers, the native of Scotland is making a big impression. Construction of the marketing and customer-focus firm's new offices at high-profile Fifth and Race streets is getting under way. And Aitken, son of a working-class single mom, has embraced a number of local causes from getting corporate support for the Freestore Foodbank's Power Pack Program for schools to serving on the board of the Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra.

75 More Power Players in the Tristate

Alphabetical by last name

Steve Behler, President, CEO, Kemba Credit Union

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

Neil Bortz, Towne Properties

Katie Brown Blackburn, Executive Vice President, Bengals

Laura Brunner, President, CEO, Port of Greater Cincinnati
Development Authority

Bill Butler.tif

Bill Butler, Chairman, Corporex

Helen Carroll, Manager, Community Relations, Toyota

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

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

Alfonso Cornejo, President, Hispanic Chamber Cincinnati

James Craig, Police Chief, City of Cincinnati

Cathy Crain, Philanthropist; Chairman, Cincinnati Opera Board

Claude Davis, President, CEO, First Financial Bancorp

Joe Deters.tif

Joe Deters, Prosecutor, Hamilton County

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

David Dillon, Chairman, CEO, Kroger Co.

Kelley Downing, President, CEO, Bartlett & Co.

John Dubis, President, CEO, St. Elizabeth Healthcare

Jocile Ehrlich, President, CEO, Better Business Bureau

Scott D. Farmer, CEO, Cintas

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

Charles H. Gerhardt III, President, Government Strategies Group

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

Greg Hartmann, Commissioner, Hamilton County

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

Gary Heiman, President, CEO, Standard Textile

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

Jim Huff, CEO, Huff Realty

David Joyce, President, CEO, GE Aviation

Kevin Kabat, Vice Chairman, CEO, Fifth Third Bank

Eric Kearney, Minority Leader, Ohio Senate;
Founder, Sesh Communications

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

Dr. Dean Kereiakes, Cardiologist, Ohio Heart and Vascular Center

Kevin Kline, Senior Vice President,
General Manager, Horseshoe Casino Cincinnati

Matt Layer, Board President, Warren County United Way

Stephen Leeper, President, CEO, 3CDC

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

Terry Lundgren, Chairman, President, CEO, Macy's

James May, President, CEO, Mercy Health; Divisional CEO,
Senior Vice President, Catholic Healthcare Partners

Mary McCullough-Hudson, President, CEO, ArtsWave

Douglass McDonald, President, CEO, Cincinnati Museum Center

Geoffrey Mearns, President, Northern Kentucky University

Kathryn Merchant, President, CEO, Greater Cincinnati Foundation

Wendell Mettey, President, Matthew 25: Ministries

Chris Monzel, Commissioner, Hamilton County

Karen Mueller, Executive Vice President, Horan

Jim Neil, Hamilton County Sheriff

Dr. O'Dell Owens, President, Cincinnati State Technical and Community College

Mark Policinski, Executive Director, Ohio-Kentucky-Indiana Regional Council of Governments

Todd Portune, Commissioner, Hamilton County

Maribeth Rahe, President, CEO, Fort Washington Investment

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

Mary Ronan, Superintendent, Cincinnati Public Schools

Michael Rozow, Executive Director, Dearborn County Economic Development Initiative

Jeff Ruby, Jeff Ruby Restaurants

Sean Rugless, President,CEO, Greater Cincinnati & Northern Kentucky African American Chamber of Commerce; Chairman, SORTA Board

Melody Sawyer Richardson, Chairman, Cincinnati Symphony
Orchestra Board

The Most Rev. Dennis Schnurr, Archbishop, Archdiocese
of Cincinnati

James Schwab, President, CEO, Health Foundation
of Greater Cincinnati

William Seitz, Partner, Taft, Stettinius & Hollister; Ohio Senate

Larry Sheakley, CEO, Sheakley Group

Valarie Sheppard, Chairman, Greater Cincinnati United Way

Jamie Smith, Publisher, Cincinnati Business Courier

Christopher Smitherman, President, NAACP; Cincinnati City Councilman

Pete Strange, Chairman, Messer Construction

H. Lytle Thomas, President, CEO, Heritage Bank

Brian Tome, Senior Pastor, Crossroads Community Church

Alex Triantafilou, Chairman, Hamilton County Republican Party

Ellen van der Horst, President, CEO, Cincinnati USA Regional Chamber

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

James Wainscott, Chairman, CEO, AK Steel

Jeff Weedman, CEO, Cintrifuse

Dick Weiland, Lobbyist; Philanthropist

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

Robin White, President, CEO, Great Oaks Institute of Technology