Kingmakers Much of their work is done behind the scenes. But this plugged-in foursome are Grade A movers and shakers: They have the power to make other people powerful.
By REPORTER ASSOCIATES Brenda Cherry, Muoi Tran

(FORTUNE Magazine) – HERB ALLEN The guest list at the billionaire investment banker's annual Sun Valley, Idaho, confab reads like a Who's Who of our most powerful: No. 1 Warren Buffett, No. 2 Bill Gates, and No. 3 Lee Scott all attended this year.

JOE BACHELDER This 70-year-old lawyer makes the rich richer. He has negotiated more megabuck CEO contracts (for folks like IBM's Lou Gerstner and Honeywell's Larry Bossidy) than anyone else.

TOM NEFF CEO headhunter and Spencer Stuart's U.S. chairman, Neff, 65, edges out longtime rival Gerry Roche thanks to recent successes: placing Jim Kilts at Gillette and Hugh Grant at Monsanto.

FRANKLIN THOMAS If real clout lies in the boardroom, then 69-year-old nonprofit consultant Thomas has it: He's lead director of powerhouse Citigroup, plus a director at Lucent Technologies, PepsiCo, Cummins, and Alcoa.