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I would like to know if there's a word that describes a deceased business/entrepreneurial legend that revolutionized their industry.

Examples of the types of people I'm talking about include Henry Ford, Thomas Edison, and Steve Jobs.

Industrialist seems close, but means

A person involved in the ownership or management of an industrial enterprise

and thus doesn't convey the right sense of importance.

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3 Answers 3

up vote 11 down vote accepted

Magnate: a person of great influence, importance, or standing in a particular enterprise, field of business, etc. I don't think there's any special word for deceased magnates (though they often are).

There's also tycoon, but for me at least this suggests someone who is outstandingly successful at making money out of an industry, rather than revolutionalising how that industry functions.

Mogul is much associated with the movie industry of the mid-20th century. Again I feel this suggests someone who wields great power and wealth obtained primarily by business acumen, rather than creativity within the business. I don't normally think of of great movie directors as moguls, for example.

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You could call that person an innovator. To innovate is to:

to make changes : do something in a new way

For example, this magazine referred to Jobs as a "master of innovation."

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Visionary is a perfect fit.

It's actually one of the words Apple is using to describe Steve Jobs

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I just found out that this is the word President Obama used, too. –  Kalamane Oct 6 '11 at 2:22
    
One can be a visionary without making any notable impact in one's own lifetime, however (da Vinci springs to mind), so I'm not sure this is quite the right fit for the original question. –  scottishwildcat Oct 6 '11 at 17:20
    
@scottishwildcat - Yes, this is true, but the question asks for a word to describe such people, not a word that always means such a person. –  Jim Oct 6 '11 at 18:09

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