Who will make big news in the business world this year? Who will emerge from relative obscurity to become a major player? To start the new year, Times business reporters selected people from their beats who they believe will be among those to watch in 2000--in Southern California, across the country and around the world. Some are well known, having made big news in previous years. Others are not exactly household names but nevertheless are likely to make a major impact in their fields.
Of course, there's no way to predict just what's going to happen in the next 12 months. Nor can any such list be complete--there's always the come-from-nowhere phenom who'll surprise everyone. But it's a good bet that if you follow the fortunes of these 22, you'll see the top business stories of 2000 unfold.
Jeanne Jackson of Gap
Gap's Jeanne Jackson seems to have done the near-impossible: earned the trust of a man reputed to be one of the most exacting and hands-on bosses in the retail business, Gap Inc. Chief Executive Millard S. Drexler.
This year, as plaudits continue to roll in for Gap's three online stores--Gap, Banana Republic and Old Navy--it will be Jackson, right there next to the acclaimed Drexler, taking a bow and making the next big decisions.
Jackson, who since 1995 has driven Banana Republic sales to stratospheric heights, was named chief executive of the company's catalog and Web division, Gap Inc. Direct, in 1998.
Her new challenge is to experiment with the online stores and help determine where next to take the three maturing brands of the San Francisco-based retailer. In the spring, Jackson will bring a maternity line to Gap's Web site; she also is toying with giving Banana Republic a virtual Hall of Fame, featuring newly available favorite designs from collections past.
Her track record provides some good reasons to keep her on the watch list. Jackson, now 48, was an executive at Victoria's Secret before her move four years ago to Banana Republic. Since she has taken over at the one-time safari outfitter, it has consistently been among the best sellers in Gap Inc.'s strong stable of companies.