Jason Buechel, 37
Whole Foods’ executive team makes decisions by consensus, so when Buechel was promoted into the top ranks in July his influence at the high-end supermarket chain skyrocketed. Not only is he the youngest in the group, but he’s also had the shortest tenure at the company—just two years versus 19 for the second most-recent hire. Since joining the company in 2013, the former Accenture consultant has forged a partnership with Instacart, implemented Apple Pay (making Whole Foods one of the first retailers on the payment platform), and is now testing the company’s first rewards program. But Buechel’s rise up the Whole Foods’ food chain is also a nod to the importance of technology in the company’s future. He’s working on systems that give full traceability into the supply chain and better inform customers about products’ nutritional and allergen information. He’s also heavily involved in shaping the company’s newly announced lower-cost 365 chain. Few details about the brand have been announced—except that technology will play a key role.