1. Les Wexner
Chairman and CEO, Limited Brands (1)
Wexner remains a powerful force in Columbus. His company once again topped $10 billion in sales for 2007 and has more than 90,000 employees nationwide. His presence continues to be felt through the many organizations that bear his name. He is also involved in the development of tomorrow’s leaders through OSU’s Fisher College of Business and The Columbus Partnership.
2. John Wolfe
Chairman, publisher and CEO, The Dispatch Printing Co. (2)
Wolfe’s company has been busy this year following the politics of a presidential election year and its effect on the Columbus region. His company owns The Columbus Dispatch as well as multiple print, TV and radio media organizations in the market. Wolfe was honored in 2008 by the Franklin Park Conservatory for his lifetime of philanthropy, civic leadership and service when the board of trustees dedicated its historic glass Palm House in his honor.
3. Michael Coleman
Mayor, city of Columbus (5)
Coleman is serving his third term as mayor in Columbus, and his high level of energy toward the job and the future of Columbus has placed him right in the center of shaping the region’s future. He was involved in a plan to study regional sustainability and led a trade mission with several other Columbus officials to Israel in April. Coleman will have a lot to say about what happens in Columbus over the next several years.
4. E. Gordon Gee
President, The Ohio State University (19)
Back in his familiar role as head Buckeye, Gee has brought his tireless and enthusiastic personality to the job, working hard to get back on top of the town after returning to OSU in October 2007.
5. Thomas Hoaglin
President and CEO, Huntington Bancshares Inc. (4)
Following a merger with Sky Financial in 2007, Hoaglin lost, then reassumed the role of president of the company. His bank is holding firm through the global economic crisis that hit in the fall as deposits remained at or near their levels from 2007. Hoaglin was also elected to the board of American Electric Power.
6. Ron Pizzuti
Chairman and CEO, The Pizzuti Cos. (6)
Pizzuti continues to be the toast of the town. He and his wife were honored in 2007 as Humanitarians of the Year by the American Red Cross, and Pizzuti’s firm did right by the community, as well, finalizing a deal with DCT Industrial Trust to manage 1.7 million square feet of area property.
7. Alex Shumate
Managing partner, Columbus, Squire, Sanders & Dempsey (8)
Shumate provided the introduction to the sixth edition of Who’s Who in Black Columbus, which was released in 2008. Shumate still leads the firm’s legislative counseling and administrative law activities and continues to have clients in local, state and federal government. He serves as a corporate board member for Nationwide Financial Services Inc., the Wm. Wrigley Jr. Co. and Cincinnati Bell.
8. Jerry Jurgensen
CEO, Nationwide Mutual Insurance (3) Nationwide Mutual did agree to buy all of the outstanding publicly held stock of Nationwide Financial Services Inc., which Jurgensen said would help create better alignment in the business. Revenue for the first half of the year slipped below $2 billion, but Jurgensen is confident the company’s capital position will remain strong.
9. Tanny Crane
President and CEO, Crane Group (9)
It’s a wonder Crane has any time for herself. Being selected to speak at the Raymond E. Johnson Jr. Leadership Symposium, which focuses on raising levels of leadership in Central Ohio, was just one of her roles affecting the business community in 2008. She also serves on the boards of the Columbus Foundation, Columbus City School Foundation, Columbus Partnership, Fisher College of Business Advisory Board and is chairman of the Cleveland Federal Reserve Bank.
10. Jay Schottenstein
President, Schottenstein Management; chairman, American Eagle Outfitters; chairman, Retail Ventures Inc.; chairman and CEO, DSW (7)
The tough economic times did not help Schottenstein’s business interests in 2008. And in October, Value City Department Stores announced it was liquidating its remaining stores less than a year after being sold off by Retail Ventures.
11. Don M. Casto III
Partner, Don M. Casto Organization (13)
Casto has spent a great deal of time trying to figure out how to lure new retailers into downtown Columbus. His firm continues to manage properties of all types across Central Ohio. It also continues to expand its reach beyond Ohio with the purchase of 1.7 million square feet of retail and office property in Puerto Rico.
12. Larry James
Partner, Crabbe, Brown & James (11)
One of Columbus’ most respected and influential legal minds, James is the hearing examiner for the Ohio Bureau of Motor Vehicles and is president of the Martin Luther King Jr. Arts Complex board. James also serves as general counsel for the National Fraternal Order of Police. He was involved in securing a $500,000 grant for the early 2009 restoration of the Lincoln Theatre on the city’s near east side.
13. John Beavers
Chair, Counsel for Boards and Executives Group, Bricker & Eckler LLP (12)
Beavers was on the Best Lawyers of America list for the 16th year in a row and was designated a Super Lawyer in Ohio for the fifth year in a row. He continues to serve on the OSU Alumni Advisory Council and as chair of his firm’s Counsel for Boards and Executives Group. He is a key player in offering guidance on corporate structure and governance in Central Ohio.
14. Donna James
Managing director, Lardon & Associates (14)
James’ power in Central Ohio remains strong. She was a keynote speaker at the first Annual Women in Project Management Conference in June 2008 and continues to serve on the boards of Limited Brands, Coca-Cola Enterprises, Conseco and The Health Policy Institute of Ohio.
15. Curt Loveland
Partner, Porter, Wright, Morris & Arthur LLP (15)
Loveland, a 2007 recipient of the Association for Corporate Growth Service Partner award, is an Ohio Super Lawyer and has been on the list of Best Lawyers in America for more than a decade. His firm was recognized as a top law firm by Chambers U.S. Loveland also continues to serve on the boards of Max & Erma’s Restaurants Inc., Rocky Brands Inc. and the Association for Corporate Growth.
16. Ty Marsh
President and CEO, Greater Columbus Chamber of Commerce (16)
Marsh keeps a full schedule promoting the Columbus region. He took part in a trade mission to Israel with Mayor Coleman last year. Marsh is chair of the state’s 21st Century Transportation Task Force, chair of The RiverSouth Development Authority and serves on the board of the Ohio Business Development Coalition.
17. David Blom
President and CEO, OhioHealth (18)
His firm was again named to the Fortune 100 Best Companies to Work For list in 2008. OhioHealth provided $113 million to the community in fiscal 2007 in the form of medical education, research, Medicaid programs and a record $56 million in pure charity care. Blom also was involved in drafting the 2008 action plan for the Columbus Chamber.
18. Matt Kallner
Attorney, Law Offices of Matthew G. Kallner (21)
His client list continues to include Limited Brands, Worthington Industries Inc., M/I Homes Inc., New Albany Co., Columbus Regional Airport Authority, Huntington Bancshares Inc., Nationwide Children’s Hospital and Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. He is also secretary for the Columbus Metropolitan Library Foundation.
19. Michael Fiorile
President and chief operating officer, The Dispatch Printing Co. (23)
Besides being in charge of the media giant, which includes print, radio and television properties, Fiorile stays involved in the wider industry. He serves on several boards, including Television Operators Caucus, Television Bureau of Advertising, National Association of Broadcasters and NBC Affiliates. He is also on the board of State Auto Mutual Insurance.
20. Bea Wolper
Partner, Chester, Willcox & Saxbe LLP (22)
The Family Business Center Wolper co-founded in 1998 is expanding after a $1 million donation last year. She is the Ohio president of the International Women’s Forum and founder and president of the Women’s Business Board, in addition to serving on the Wexner Director’s Circle Council Board.
21. Steve Allen
CEO, Nationwide Children’s Hospital (new)
After the hospital changed its name from Columbus Children’s Hospital in 2007, growth has been the main focus. A new 12-story, 700,000-square-foot main hospital is under way and is scheduled to open in 2012. The new facility is helping Allen turn the hospital into a premier place for children’s care.22. Melissa Ingwersen
President, JPMorgan Chase & Co., Central Ohio (33)
As part of the government buyout following the financial crisis, federal regulators seized Washington Mutual and sold it to JPMorgan Chase. Ingwersen is also well-known for her community involvement, serving on the boards of YWCA and Chamber of Commerce.
23. Jack Kessler
Owner, John W. Kessler Co.; chairman, The New Albany Co. (26)
Kessler, a 2007 honoree inducted into the Central Ohio Business Hall of Fame, earned an appointment to the board of the Commercial Vehicle Group Inc. He remains on the boards for Abercrombie & Fitch Co. and The Ohio State University’s John Glenn School of Public Affairs.
24. Peter Geier
COO, OSU Medical Center; vice president for health services and CEO, OSU Health System (new)
Geier’s lengthy title doesn’t mean he’s hogging all the work: The Ohio State University Medical Center has set the pace for employee growth this decade, adding roughly 4,000 jobs since 2001.
25. Neil Clark
CEO, State Street Consultants (25)
After becoming an inductee into the Association of Ohio Commodores, the state’s highest honor, we figured Clark would shoot up our list. But with public and legal battles with his former partner, Paul Tipps, looming, Clark stayed stagnant.