Presenting the 2023 NJBIZ Power 100

Jeffrey Kanige//February 20, 2023//

Presenting the 2023 NJBIZ Power 100

Jeffrey Kanige//February 20, 2023//

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Feb. 20, 2023 Edition of NJBIZRegular readers of this feature will immediately notice something different about the 2023 edition. And you deserve an explanation.

Gov. Phil Murphy appears nowhere in the top 10. In fact, he’s not on the list at all. The omission is not a comment on his governing ability. By most measures of public opinion, Murphy has done a good job. He guided the state through the pandemic and his actions helped the economy recover from an unprecedented public health emergency. He earned enough of the public’s trust to win reelection in 2021 and continues to act on his campaign promises.

So why isn’t he on the list? Well, ranking the governor at No. 1 is easy. And too predictable.

New Jersey’s governor may be the most powerful chief executive in the country. The entire state bureaucracy works for him. He appoints every county prosecutor and every state judge. In fact, the mandatory retirement age for Supreme Court justices gives nearly every governor the opportunity to shape the state’s highest court. And the conditional and line-item veto power allows the governor to alter budgets approved by the Legislature.

So, let’s stipulate that the governor is, indeed, the most powerful individual in the state. But his position is sui generis. Call him – or her – the No. 1 Emeritus.

In fact, the number of government officials on this list has been dwindling for some time – a conscious decision on the part of the NJBIZ editorial staff. There are two main reasons for that.

First, NJBIZ is a business publication, laser-focused on that community and what makes it work. The Power lists should reflect our coverage. Yes, we do cover government and politics, but only inasmuch as what happens in those realms affects New Jersey businesses.

Second, government officials – whether elected or appointed – derive their power from the offices they hold. The heads of government agencies are influential no matter how well they do their jobs. Again, this observation is not intended as a criticism of the governor or any cabinet member. But this list could fill up quickly with elected officials and appointees simply by virtue of their positions. Again, that’s too easy and too predictable.

Now, under certain circumstances it will be impossible to avoid putting government officials on the list. For example, the effort to reduce the presence of government on this list began before the pandemic. But during the COVID-19 outbreak, government agencies – and especially the governor’s office – essentially ran the state’s economy. It would have been ridiculous not to acknowledge the role played by Murphy, Health Commissioner Judith Persichilli and other high-ranking officials.

Have a recommendation?

If you’d like to recommend someone for inclusion on next year’s Power 100 or any of our industry-specific Power 50 lists this year, click here to fill out this short form.

And government is represented on this year’s list by officials whose actions are critical to the health of the state’s economy. The most prominent example is the leadership of the Cannabis Regulatory Commission. Dianna Houenou and Jeff Brown are responsible for the development of an entirely new industry. The growth of the recreational cannabis business and the fairness of the rules governing that business will depend in large measure on how well they do their jobs.

So take a look at the profiles on these pages and let us know what you think of the choices they represent. And let us know what you think of the decision to elevate the governor to a position outside the list. If you’d like to recommend someone for inclusion on next year’s Power 100 or any of our industry-specific Power 50 lists this year, you can do that on NJBIZ.com under the Power drop down menu.

As always, the top 10 honorees are listed in numerical order; the rest are arranged alphabetically.


The power lists are compiled by the NJBIZ editorial staff based on our reporting throughout the past year with input from experts in a variety of fields and recommendations from our readers. The staff looks for people who have gained public attention – and perhaps acclaim – for their professional accomplishments and public service. Each list identifies individuals who, through their efforts, are helping to make New Jersey a better place to live, work and do business. Honorees are not necessarily better at their jobs than others in their profession, but they have contributed meaningfully to the advancement of the public interest through their work and/or community service.


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