2007 Movers & Shakers: Titans of Bay Area business

1 Richard Branson and Fred Reid: Branson, the flamboyant British billionaire behind Virgin Atlantic airlines, Virgin Records and the Virgin Megastores, conceived Virgin America, the Burlingame-based budget airline that launched at San Francisco International Airport on Aug. 8. But Virgin America’s real engineer was CEO Fred Reid, a former president of Delta Airlines and president and COO of the German airline Lufthansa.

U.S. Department of Transportation worries about foreign ownership delayed approval and created a corporate structure keeping just 25 percent of control in Virgin Group’s hands. Though Reid was born in San Francisco and educated at UC Berkeley, regulatory agreements required he step aside. On Dec. 10, David Cush became Virgin America’s CEO.

From left: Larry Ellison, Don Fisher, Richard Kovacevic, Martin Ebernard and Elon Musk

2 Larry Ellison: The Oracle Corp. (ORCL) CEO and founder continued his acquisition spree this year, purchasing seven companies between March and December and making a failed $17-per-share bid for BEA Systems Inc. (BEAS). His yacht-racing team lost another America’s Cup bid, while his San Mateo-based software firm NetSuite Inc. (N) debuted on the NYSE on Dec. 20 with a $161.2 million IPO.

3 Don Fisher: The Gap Inc. (GPS) founder and retired chairman was a principal backer of Proposition H, which called for increased parking in downtown SanFrancisco. The measure failed in November, but Fisher returned almost immediately in December with a proposal for a Presidio museum to house his collection of modern art — a trove larger than that held by the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.

4 Richard Kovacevic: The Wells Fargo (WFC) chairman stepped aside as CEO this summer after making the San Francisco bank among the nimblest in the nation with an emphasis on sales. In a year when many lenders stumbled due to deteriorating home loans, Wells Fargo remained relatively steady. Analysts say its diversity and reputation should help keep it stable.

5 Martin Eberhard and Elon Musk: San Carlos-based Tesla Motors delayed the release of its $100,000 electric sports car until 2008 but opened a dealership in Menlo Park and attracted a wait list for the Roadster. Co-founder Eberhard, below left, was named a top innovator by Fortune magazine this year, but in November was removed as CEO. PayPal founder Musk, a major financial backer, remains chairman.

businessBusiness & Real Estate

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

The City is seeking to enhance health care for San Francisco International Airport workers, which include more than 100 who have tested positive for COVID-19. <ins>(Courtesy photo)</ins>
Airlines, business groups fight new health insurance requirements for SFO workers

Heathy Airport Ordinance would require companies to offer family coverage or increase contributions

The Hall of Justice building at 850 Bryant St. is notorious for sewage leaks and is known to be seismically unsafe. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFPD speeding up Hall of Justice exit after another ‘large leak’

San Francisco police can’t get out of the decrepit Hall of Justice… Continue reading

The main entrance to Laguna Honda Hospital and Rehabilitation Center on Thursday, Sept. 5, 2019. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Voting rights of seniors, disabled must be protected

Coronavirus pandemic adds new challenges for accessing the polls

The Telegraph Quartet is pictured during its SF Music Day 2020 recording session at the striking, beautifully lit and almost empty Herbst Theatre. (Courtesy Marcus Phillips)
SF Music Day goes virtual with Herbst broadcast

Performers pre-record sets in empty, iconic theater

Dr. Vincent Matthews, superintendent of the San Francisco Unified School District, said Tuesday that student would not be back in school before the end of this calendar year. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Superintendent: City schools will not reopen before the end of the year

San Francisco public schools won’t reopen to students for the rest of… Continue reading

Most Read