13. Mark Penn, The Stagwell Group/MDC Partners

A man who has worn many hats added another title this year: chairman and CEO of MDC Partners.

Is there a second life after politics? Yes, there most certainly is, if Mark Penn is any example.

The former Burson-Marsteller CEO, Microsoft executive, top pollster, counselor to President Bill Clinton and jettisoned former aide to presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is now one of the most powerful executives in the marketing industry.

Penn became chairman and CEO of MDC Partners, the back office behind Allison+Partners, Hunter PR and other agencies, when his Stagwell Group invested $100 million in the holding company in March.

Oh, and Penn remains atop Stagwell, the holding company that also invested in Finn Partners and acquired firms including sharp-elbowed public affairs shop SKDKnickerbocker, digitally focused Code and Theory and brand content specialist Observatory.

Penn still has the politics bug, too. In recent months, he won surprising praise from the other side of the aisle after publicly criticizing investigations into President Donald Trump.

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