Brexit. Trump. Dilma. These are the words that dominated our conversations and social media feeds in 2016. Some media outlets called these stories—Britain’s exit vote to leave the European Union; Donald Trump’s unexpected upset of Hillary Clinton in the U.S. presidential election; and the impeachment of Brazil’s first female president, Dilma Rousseff—part of “a political earthquake” that rocked the world. (We approach the new year still feeling the aftershocks.)
But it wasn’t all politics—the business world saw its share of unrest, too.
We saw the rapid fall from grace of Silicon Valley darling Theranos. Once valued at $9 billion, the blood-testing startup claimed its machines could run blood tests with just a single finger prick. It had even struck a partnership with Walgreens. But under scrutiny by a Wall Street Journal investigation, the startup began to crumble. Theranos was sued by investors, the Walgreens deal fell through, and federal regulators banned founder and CEO Elizabeth Holmes from owning or operating a medical laboratory for at least two years. (For more, read “The Rise and Fall of Elizabeth Holmes.”)
Startups weren’t the only companies to run into trouble. In 2016, a Fortune 500 company took a hit, too. The Wells Fargo phony account scandal that broke in September cost the bank more than its reputation. In a matter of weeks legislators on Capitol Hill opened an investigation into the alleged misconduct, customers brought a class action lawsuit, and CEO John Stumpf stepped down. The dust hasn’t yet settled, at least according to some analysts: Wells Fargo could lose as much as $212 billion in deposits and $8 billion in revenue over the next year and a half, according to a study done by consulting firm cg42. (For more, read “How Wells Fargo’s John Stumpf Crashed Himself.”)
What else happened in 2016? Watch our Year In Review video above for more highlights from a tumultuous year.