Businessperson of the year 2020 is…?
2020 has been many things. This year has brought sadness, confusion, and fear for a lot of us. However, some smart people are still grinding and managed to capitalize even with a pandemic happening worldwide. Here’s the full list of 2020’s businessperson:
1. Elon Musk
This must be Elon Musk’s best year career-wise. The CEO of Tesla and SpaceX has witnessed both his companies reach a great amount of their potential this particular year. He impressed many in the last 12 months by working hard to start sending people into orbit from the US since even NASA stopped doing so back in 2011. Needless to say, Tesla’s become a favorite during 2020 too. The 49-year-old entrepreneur is also co-founder of Boring Co., Neuralink, and OpenAI. If you’re wondering if he’s got the same 24 hours per day as you do ‒ you’re not the only one. The CEO has shared that the way he manages is his resilience. He also succeeded in grabbing the title of the world’s second-wealthiest person (Amazon’s CEO Jeff Bezos being the first) due to Tesla’s addition to the S&P 500, which made Elon’s net worth sky-rocket.
Su is the CEO of AMD (Advanced Micro Devices) and not only is she on the list of the most successful businesspeople this year, but she’s also on the list of the most powerful women. Pretty impressive. AMD doubled the company’s share price last year due to the growing demands of its high-performance Ryzen processors. It’s no surprise that the chipmaker company, powering high-performance A.I. and gaming, has been going strong during the coronavirus. Everyone’s bound to stay at home and therefore the need for such businesses has increased, resulting in sales rising to $9 billion over the past year (a 44% increase from the one before). The company’s stock is also doing amazing with a growth from $2 back in 2016 to $85 now, consequently providing a stock market value of more than $100 billion. Su is also on the hunt to purchase rival Xilinx to expand towards the chip market for vehicles and 5G mobile devices.
Jensen Huang is Nvidia’s CEO. In the third place, there is another chip company. The California-based establishment has been responsible for the fastest graphics processing chips for video games ever since it was founded 27 years ago. In 2020 the graphic chip-maker tech company beat Intel in the race of ‘the most valuable US chipmaker’. This happened thanks to CEO Huang’s idea that chips could aid in AI, data analysis, and above all-cryptocurrency. Nvidia’s stock has jumped 122% in 2020! Now that’s what we call growth.
If there’s one company you could be the CEO of, which would it be? Netflix seems like a good bet to me. The streaming service has naturally been super successful this year with many of us spending extra time at home. It’s no rocket science that during a pandemic, when we’re all trapped at home, the need for 24/7 entertainment is sort of obvious. Just for the first nine months of this year, the company added 28 million new subscribers. What’s impressive is that this number is bigger than what it was for the entire year of 2019. Don’t be surprised if Netflix starts beating its records soon. Much like the other companies on the list, this one has also witnessed a rise in its shares. Its competitors in the face of Disney+, NBC’s Peacock, Apple TV+ and HBO Max better beware of this giant.
Elizabeth Gaines is the CEO of Fortescue Metals Group. The iron ore producer company is worth $12.8 billion and has seen a 137% total return for investors only in the last year. And all this while being challenged by the Australia and China relationship. It’s also been reported that there haven’t been any cases of coronavirus at their mining sites thanks to the safeguards in place. Pretty remarkable!
Leonard Schleifer is Regeneron Pharmaceuticals’ CEO. The company (based in New York) dates back to 1988 and has lately become one of the fastest-growing biotechs. The reason for its recent popularity is the antibody cocktail drug that Regeneron provided to fight the Coronavirus. You might be familiar with the name since it was heavily discussed as the drug that previous President Donald Trump used back in October when he was sick with COVID-19. Later on, in November, the drug was granted an emergency use authorization by the FDA. Nevertheless, that’s not the only successful drug Regeneron has produced though. It also got FDA’s approval for Inmazeb (the first drug proven to treat Ebola). To top that off, the total return of Regeneron’s stock for the last year is 51% with revenues and profits also impressively increasing. Conclusively, it’s only natural that in the year of a new pandemic spreading, the pharma companies will go in for the big bucks and manage to pull it off. After all, the healthcare sector is a vital one that holds a significant amount of finances, and this year that means the sixth place in the business world for Regeneron.
Good old Jeff Bezos hits the charts again! Creator and CEO of giant Amazon has had an amazing year as the world’s wealthiest person. The company has provided 400,000 more new jobs in the last 12 months and its revenue reached a record of $100 billion. The reason why is that, especially during a pandemic, people demand consumer-based experiences. That’s why the success of Bezos and Amazon are not coming as a shock. The valuation of the company has seen a market capitalization near $1.6 trillion. It’s understandable why some people think a company really shouldn’t be allowed to grow that much and Jeff has recently gotten a loooot of hate for it.
Shantanu Narayen is Adobe’s CEO. The San Jose company’s specialty is multimedia production software (Photoshop) and document management solutions (Acrobat). It was founded in 1982 and has now become an enormous business. Adobe’s revenue increased 14% year over year and achieved a record of $3.3 billion. It’s seen huge success in its digital media with people paying subscriptions to use tools for design and content publishing. It’s no surprise the establishment has grown so much, considering how much demand there is for this sector and how many people started working from home because of the pandemic. Another big part of the company is its software for document creations and e-signatures. You’ve used PDFs too. Adobe also announced (back in November) that it would acquire Workfront (creator of software for “marketing workflow management”) for $1.5 billion. We can only watch out for Adobe’s future developments and growth.
Another giant company is on this list. Ajay Banga is the current CEO of Mastercard. The global payments company is now used in more than 210 countries. If that’s not notable, what is? Many are fascinated with Banga and his remarkable corporate leadership. The company’s seen an annual profit growth of nearly 19% for a while now with a 40%-plus return on capital. Other notable aspects are its recognized generous employee benefits and its support for environmental sustainability.
Another woman on the list! 56-year-old Griffith is also featured on the Most Powerful Women list and was also Businessperson of the Year back in 2018. That’s a powerful example she’s setting. Tricia is Progressive’s CEO. The insurance company is based in Cleveland and its profits have risen 61% in the last year (while exceeding $5 billion). Moreover, Progressive’s stock has almost tripled since Tricia became CEO back in 2016. Like that’s not enough, Griffith is a member of the CEO Action for Diversity & Inclusion program.
57-year-old Ken Xie is the CEO of the American cybersecurity business Fortinet. He and his brother Michael created the company 20 years ago and its headquarters are now located in California. Fortinet develops firewalls, anti-virus, intrusion prevention, and endpoint security. Ken was a student at Stanford when he created his first company specializing in cybersecurity. After that, in 1996, another one followed. The third company was Fortinet and it’s famous for its work with Alibaba, Autodesk, Siemens, Volkswagen, and many others.
Peter Wennink is 63 years old and the CEO of ASML Holding (based in the Netherlands). The company mainly supplies photolithographic systems and its technology is focused around chipmaking with big customers like Intel and Samsung. Peter has been CEO since 2013 and has concentrated on providing better quality powerful chips, which led to the company’s success. ASML’s profits have increased by 49% in the last year with a revenue of $4 billion.
David Powers has always been a part of the same business. He used to be an executive at Converse, Nike, and the Timberland Co and has been the CEO of Deckers Outdoor since 2016. (Deckers’ most popular product is the well-known UGG.) David is responsible for the California-based corporation’s profits increasing with an annual rate of 264%! Additionally, Deckers Outdoor is capable of complying with a work-from-home and fitness-oriented consumer base. The company’s shares have mirrored that by rising 50%-plus in the last 12 months. It’s safe to say 53-year-old Powers is outstanding within the business of footwear.
Accenture is an American-Irish professional services company with CEO Julie Sweet. Accenture provides service to clients in more than 120 countries and is considered the catalyst behind the Fortune 500’s digital shift. Most of its revenue comes from the cloud, digital, and security. Additionally, back in September, the company invested $3 billion to further-reinforce its cloud services. Accenture is valued at $44 billion in annual revenue and has been recognized as a giant in the market. What’s more amazing is how unified in diversity the company has become with the help of Sweet. Accenture’s goals are achieving gender balance by 2025 and its objectives for enhancing race and ethnicity representation in the U.S., U.K., and South Africa among general workers as well as directors are admirable.
Zoetis is the biggest company for medicine and vaccines for pets and livestock in the world. A proud CEO of Zoetis is Kristin Peck. Despite a pandemic, the company has been doing amazing this past year seeing profit growth of 14% in 2020. This is perhaps due to the increased number of adoptions as well as the increase in the time people have been spending with their pets while working from home during the pandemic. The company’s stock is also seeing results, rising to 26% year to date. Zoetis used to be a subsidiary of Pfizer but became independent in 2013. Kristin took over as CEO in January 2020 (just before Coronavirus spread). With Peck as CEO, the company introduced a successful drug (Simparica Trio) that combined flea, tick, and heartworm medicine for dogs.
Intuit was founded in 1983 and its current CEO is 52-year-old Sasan Goodarzi. The California-based financial software company develops financial, accounting, and tax preparation software. The latest advancement Intuit has introduced is the inclusion of A.I. into its tax, bookkeeping, and personal finance products. To get where the company is today, Sasan had to let 700 employees go to make way for 700 others who had the specific skills.
Everyone probably knows Alibaba. What you probably didn’t know is who the giant’s CEO is. Daniel Zhang has been CEO of the tech company since 2015 and one of his most successful ideas is Singles’ Day (an online shopping festival Alibaba promoted amounting to $75 billion in sales in the last year only ‒ a 26% increase since the year before). Needless to say, Zhang has been dedicated to improving the Chinese tech company. Alibaba Group Holding has seen growth in its total revenues of 31% in the last year. Daniel continues to follow co-founder Jack Ma’s idea of a merge between online and offline shopping.
Adena Friedman is the CEO of Nasdaq. The stock exchange has been integrating market indexes, data, and analytics, which is the probable reason for its 73% increase in earnings in the year 2020. The latest significant acquisition of Nasdaq is Airbnb. Startup GoodRx and McAfee are also on the company’s list of acquirements. Its stock has also grown ‒ 20% in the last 12 months.
Bruce Broussard has been CEO of Louisville-based health insurance Humana since 2013. The reason for the company’s recent success is that people have been purposefully refraining from non-essential medical care since the Coronavirus hit. The insurer will keep offering benefits in 2021 and claims that COVID testing and treatment costs will reach $1 billion. The benefits it provides include testing, treatment, and two weeks of home-delivered meals for sick people.
Last, but not least, on the list is Cynthia Warner ‒ CEO of biodiesel production company Renewable Energy Group based in Iowa. REG is a Fortune 1000 corporation as well as North America’s biggest producer of low-carbon fuels. The company also aims to reduce CO2 emissions while advocating for alternative fuels. This leads to stock prices hitting new records. All this happens while the pandemic and lockdowns have affected energy demand and shifted the way businesses usually operate.