On Thursday, Fortune will reveal its 2015 Businessperson of the Year. The honor goes to an executive who has excelled as a business leader in 2015, not just someone who happened to be at the helm of a company that performed well this year. The distinction goes to someone who has pushed their employes, their company, and their industry forward. Who do you think deserves the prize? Tell us in the comments below.
In the meantime, here are five of Fortune’s Businessperson of the Year veterans.
Reed Hastings – 2010
Reed Hastings, founder and CEO of Netflix Inc. attends the launch event for Netflix service in Japan at SoftBank Ginza store on September 2, 2015 in Tokyo, Japan.Photograph by Ken Ishii — Getty Images
Netflix founder Reed Hastings was our Businessperson of the Year back in 2010. Hastings was given credit for disrupting the entertainment industry not once but twice — first by taking on Blockbuster and shipping DVDs to customer’s homes, and then for disrupting his own business by shifting into streaming video. Since 2010, Netflix has had a few hiccups—remember the Qwister fiasco of 2011?—but overall Hastings has continued to innovate, moving Netflix into the world of content creation and launching several critically acclaimed original programs.
Howard Schultz – 2011
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz greets employees and others at the coffee shop around the corner from the historic Emanuel African Methodist Episcopal Church June 19, 2015 in Charleston, South Carolina.Photograph by Chip Somodevilla — Getty Images
Starbucks CEO Howard Schultz won the honor in 2011. Schultz was praised not only for his company’s strong performance, but for his progressive vision. That year, Schultz decided to stop giving money to any political candidates, drawing the attention of President Obama. Since then, Schultz has continued to make news for his progressive stances on employee-company relations, including expanding education benefits for Starbucks workers.
Jeff Bezos – 2012
Jeff Bezos, CEO of Amazon.com Inc., unveils the Fire Phone during an event at Fremont Studios in Seattle, Washington on June 18, 2014.Photograph by Mike Kane — Bloomberg via Getty Images
In 2012, the title went to Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. The Seattle-based billionaire was lauded for fundamentally changing the publishing industry, both in how paper books were purchased and for bringing eBooks to the masses. Fortune’s profile of Bezos did note, though, that despite being the poster boy for digital reading, Bezos actually prefers to print out the detailed memos he makes his staff write for him.
Elon Musk – 2013
Elon Musk, Chairman, CEO and Product Architect of Tesla Motors, addresses a press conference to declare that the Tesla Motors releases v7.0 System in China on a limited basis for its Model S, which will enable self-driving features such as Autosteer for a select group of beta testers on October 23, 2015 in Beijing, China.Photograph by ChinaFotoPress via Getty Images
The 2013 title went to Elon Musk, the firebrand genius behind Tesla and SpaceX. Fortune’s profile compared Musk to Apple’s Steve Jobs, noting that both had “a rare form of design thinking powered by unfettered conviction.” Tesla has continued to expand in the years since, with the ModelX being released this year and plans on the horizon for the Model 3, the electric car company’s first mass-market product.
Larry Page – 2014
Last year, Google’s (now Alphabet) Larry Page won the crown. His strategy of both allowing his company’s core business to thrive while also investing in new technologies like nanoparticles garnered praise. Other projects like the Google self-driving car and broadband balloons were also singled out.