In the world of business, 2015 was a wild one. A face of American capitalism to many became a serious candidate for the presidency. Socialism became much less of a dirty word to many prospective voters. It was a year of big product launches, tightening regulations, and a few falls from grace. It was a year of ruined reputations, ascendant fortunes, cantankerous debates, and shocking tragedies. Below are a few of the images that defined 2015 for the business world and beyond.
Photograph by Carlo Allegri — ReutersTraders Peter Tuchman (L) and Joseph Mastrolia work on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange sporting 2015 novelty glasses on New Year’s Eve, the last trading day of the year, in New York.
Photograph by Philippe Wojazer — ReutersSatirical French magazine Charlie Hebdo new editor in chief Gerard Briard (L) and columnist Patrick Pelloux comfort cartoonist Luz (C) during a news conference at the French newspaper Liberation offices in Paris, January 13, 2015. The year started off on a somber note, as Jihadi terrorists launched a shooting attack in Paris, France against the satirical political magazine Charlie Hebdo. The attack killed 12 and sparked conversations about free speech, immigration, and the war on terrorism. The phrase “Je suis Charlie” — French for “I am Charlie” — trended for days on social media as the world expressed its sympathy for the victims and the French people.
Photograph by Elise Amendola — AP Workers move snow into a large pile for melting at a gate area of Logan International Airport in Boston on January 28, 2015, one day after a blizzard dumped about two feet of snow in the city. Though a bit of snow is no big deal to the hearty citizens of Boston, the massive storm the city endured in January probably left a few people wishing they could be anywhere but Hah-vahd Yahd. The two feet of powder left in the city put a chokehold on travel and commerce.
Photograph by William Archie — ZUMAPRESS James Robertson, 56, of Detroit, walks toward Woodward Ave. to catch his morning bus to Somerset Collection in Troy before walking to his job at Schain Mold & Engineering in Rochester Hills. Robertson was walking 21 miles everyday to get to and from his job in snowy Detroit. After his story was told, though, he received a brand new car and hundreds of thousands of dollars in donations.
Photograph by Jamie Squire — Getty ImagesMalcolm Butler No. 21 of the New England Patriots intercepts a pass by Russell Wilson No. 3 of the Seattle Seahawks intended for Ricardo Lockette No. 83 late in the fourth quarter during Super Bowl XLIX at University of Phoenix Stadium on February 1, 2015 in Glendale, Arizona. Yes, The NFL saw a spectacular game in Super Bowl XLIX, as an interception in the end zone won the game for the New England Patriots. Overall, though, it was a rough year for the NFL. Deflategate, the scandal over whether Patriots quarterback Tom Brady illegally inflated his footballs, dragged into the following season. The ongoing discussion of concussions and the impact of football on the brain raged, crescendoing at the end of the year with the release of the film “Concussion.” While the NFL continues to receive great television ratings and make big money, this was not a great year for commissioner Roger Goodell.
Photograph by Seth Wenig — APHillary Rodham Clinton speaks to the reporters at United Nations headquarters on March 10, 2015. As it seems she always is, Clinton was all over the news this year. The former First Lady, Secretary of State, and Senator continued to face backlash over her handling of the Benghazi terrorist attack in 2011, and for using a personal e-mail server when she was leading the State Department. On top of all this, she was running for president, leading a shallow Democratic field from the start.
Photograph by Beck Diefenbach — ReutersEllen Pao speaks to the media after losing in her high profile gender discrimination lawsuit against venture capital firm Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield and Byers in San Francisco, California on March 27, 2015. It was a rough year for Ellen Pao. The longtime tech insider lost her gender discrimination case against venture capital firm Kleiner Perkins. Then she resigned her position as interim CEO of Reddit after angering many denizens of the Internet cultural hub by closing controversial pages.
Photograph by Robert Galbraith — ReutersApple CEO Tim Cook looks over a selection of Apple Watches in Palo Alto, California on April 10, 2015. The most anticipated, debated, and fetishized device of the year was more than just a fashion statement. It was the first major product launch for Apple (AAPL) since Cook succeeded Steve Jobs as CEO. Though it’s likely too soon to judge the Apple Watch, Cook did a good job of creating a media storm just like Jobs used to.
Photograph by Kai Pfaffenbach — ReutersIt was a big year for protests, but perhaps none was as dramatic as this woman who attempted to drop kick European Central Bank President Mario Draghi during a news conference in Frankfurt on April 15, 2015.
Photograph by Imaginechina via AP ImagesVisitors look at a Mercedes-Benz F-015 Luxury in Motion Concept car during the 16th Shanghai International Automobile Industry Exhibition, also known as Auto Shanghai 2015, in Shanghai, China, on April 20, 2015. 2015 will go down as the year people really accepted that their future on the road was in a self-driving car, a vehicle seemingly straight out of a sci-fi movie. Between Google continuing to test its self driving vehicle and traditional car manufacturers like Mercedes and GM pushing into the automation business, people better get used to napping on their commute.
Photograph by Kevork Djansezian — Getty ImagesGuests pose with the Powerwall unit after Elon Musk, CEO of Tesla (TSLA) unveiled suit of batteries for homes, businesses, and utilities at Tesla Design Studio on April 30, 2015 in Hawthorne, California. Musk is not content with redefining what powers your car; he also wants to change the way you power your house. Tesla, Musk’s company most famous for producing electric cars, announced a home battery this year called Powerwall.
Photograph by John Locher — APFloyd Mayweather Jr., left, connects with a right to the head of Manny Pacquiao, during their welterweight title fight on Saturday, May 2, 2015 in Las Vegas. The welterweight bout was one of the biggest boxing matches in years. The fight between Mayweather Jr. and Pacquiao made more than $400 million in revenue through Pay-Per-View buys. Whether viewers felt the relatively boring fight was worth the $90 is another story.
Courtesy of DuPontEllen Kullman Greets Nelson Peltz Before the Meeting on May 13, 2015.There were a number of high-profile activist investor dustups this year, none more contentious than Peltz’s push against Kullman of Dupont. By October, Kullman had stepped down from her post at the chemical giant.
Photograph by Michael Kappeler — APGerman Chancellor Angela Merkel was named TIME’s Person of the Year for 2015. In this picture, she’s shown talking to President Obama at a G-7 Summit on June 8, 2015, but Merkel would really shine a little later in the year, taking the lead in contentious negotiations with Greece and in seeking to alleviate the Syrian refugee crisis.
Photograph by John Chiala — CNBC/NBCU Photo Bank via Getty ImagesDick Costolo and Jack Dorsey in an interview at CNBC’s San Francisco bureau, on June 12, 2015. Welcome back, Jack. Twitter founder Dorsey returned to the floundering social media network he helped found as CEO, while also maintaining the top job at Square, his mobile payments company. Later in the year, Dorsey took Square public.
Photograph by Christopher Gregory — Getty ImagesBusiness mogul Donald Trump rides an escalator to a press event to announce his candidacy for the U.S. presidency at Trump Tower on June 16, 2015 in New York City. The billionaire controlled the news cycle in 2015, as his run for the presidency started with a bang — a lavish announcement where he made disparaging comments about Mexican people — and just got crazier, perhaps peaking with his call to halt Muslim entry to the U.S. Trump has led the Republican primary polls for much of the year, making the GOP establishment seriously consider what a Trump candidacy would mean. Trump also lost myriad business deals with companies who soured on him after his comments.
Photograph by Sascha Schuermann — Getty ImagesTaylor Swift performs live on stage during ‘The 1989 World Tour’ night 2 at Lanxess Arena on June 20, 2015 in Cologne, Germany. Swift was all over the place in 2015. Her 1989 tour was a hit. She continued to sell records and was nominated for several Grammys. She also made noise in the business world for her decision to take all of her music off of Spotify because the streaming company wouldn’t block non-paying users from listening. When she threatened to do the same with Apple Music after she found out artists wouldn’t receive payment for listens while users were in a free trial period, Apple changed its policy.
Photograph by Balint Porneczi — Bloomberg via Getty ImagesThe ride sharing service instigated a number of contentious battles with cities and cab drivers, as shown here, where travelers in France had to walk with their luggage after cab drivers went on strike in June 2015, protesting Uber’s move on their turf.
Photograph by Gary Cameron — ReutersIn June, the Supreme Court struck down anti-gay marriage laws, making marriage equality the law of the land. The White House celebrated by projecting a rainbow flag across its façade on June 26, 2015. The debate would continue over gay rights, though, as one county clerk in Kentucky refused to issue marriage licenses and was temporarily jailed.
Photograph by Bruce Smith — APAfter a racially-motivated shooting in Charleston, S.C., the nation debated the continued flying of the Confederate Battle Flag, seen by many as a symbol of racism and hate, on state grounds throughout the South. The movement to remove the flag had its most symbolic moment when Bree Newsome scaled the flagpole outside the statehouse in South Carolina and took down the flag on June 27, 2015. She was arrested when she got down, but the state’s legislature eventually voted to take the flag down.
Photograph by Mike Brown — ReutersDecades after the U.S. last put a man on the moon and years since we stopped flying the Space Shuttle, space seems cool again, partially because companies like Elon Musk’s SpaceX are pushing past the atmosphere. Though SpaceX suffered a failed launch this year, shown here on June 28, 2015 in Florida, space exploration is still in resurgence.
Photograph by Alkis Konstantinidis — ReuterA pensioner is squeezed as she waits outside a National Bank branch to receive part of her pension in Athens, Greece July 1, 2015. The struggle in Greece continued this year, as the nation defaulted on its debt. Though Greece eventually struck a debt deal with its creditors, the future of the Eurozone is still in the balance.
Photograph by Jewel Samad — AFP/Getty Imageswomen’s soccer team midfielder Megan Rapinoe, center, holds up the World Cup 2015 trophy between midfielder Carli Lloyd and head coach Jill Ellis, right, during the ticker tape parade in New York on July 10, 2015. USA! USA! USA! The chant echoed throughout the country as the U.S. team won the 2015 Women’s World Cup in Canada last summer after it beat Japan, avenging a stunning loss in the final of the 2011 tournament.
Photograph by Kevin Winter — Getty ImagesStar Wars was the biggest of deals this year as nerds and non-nerds alike prepared for the premiere of Episode VII: The Force Awakens, which had a smashing open weekend in December. Here we see Carrie Fisher, Harrison Ford, and Mark Hamill, the stars of the original trilogy, reuniting at Comic-Con on July 10, 2015.
Courtesy of NASAWhen the New Horizon’s craft passed by Pluto, the world got an amazing look at the famous demoted dwarf planet.
Photograph by U.S. State Department via ReutersU.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, left, speaks with Hossein Fereydoun, the brother of Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, and Iranian Foreign Minister Javad Zarif, before the Secretary and Foreign Minister addressed an international press corps gathered at the Austria Center in Vienna, Austria, July 14, 2015. After decades of tension, the United States and Iran signed a historic nuclear deal this year, which the Obama administration hopes will help transform security in the Middle East. Opponents of the deal, though, include Republicans and Israeli politicians, who question the wisdom of making deals with a country whose leaders regularly call for the death of America and Israel.
Photograph by Chris Pizzello — Invision/APSoccer player Abby Wambach, of the U.S. women’s national soccer team, left, presents Caitlyn Jenner with the Arthur Ashe award for courage at the ESPY Awards at the Microsoft Theater on Wednesday, July 15, 2015, in Los Angeles. Caitlyn Jenner, formerly known as Bruce Jenner, made waves this year when she publicly came out as a transgender woman and began her transition largely in the public eye. Jenner appeared on the cover of Vanity Fair, got an award from ESPN, and had her own reality show.
Photograph by Yamil Lage — AFP/Getty ImagesA vintage car with U.S. flags drives by the U.S. embassy in Havana, on July 20, 2015. Outside of the Iran deal, the decision to renew ties with the island nation of Cuba was the biggest deal in foreign relations this year. President Obama’s move ended more than 40 years of frosty relations, and perhaps will allow American companies to start doing business in the country, which is just a short jump from Florida. Republicans and Cuban-Americans trashed the deal, citing human rights concerns in Cuba.
Photograph by Arnd Wiegmann — ReutersBritish comedian known as Lee Nelson (unseen) throws banknotes at FIFA President Sepp Blatter as he arrives for a news conference after the Extraordinary FIFA Executive Committee Meeting at the FIFA headquarters in Zurich, Switzerland on July 20, 2015. It was another year of scandal for FIFA, the international body for world soccer. Embattled FIFA President Blatter stepped down from his post, and the U.S. brought corruption charges against several of the organization’s officials.
Photograph by Andrew Harrer — Bloomberg via Getty ImagesCarly Fiorina, former chairman and chief executive officer of Hewlett-Packard Co. and 2016 Republican presidential candidate, speaks to the media in the spin area after a televised forum ahead of the first Republican presidential debate at Quicken Loans Arena in Cleveland, Ohio, U.S., on August 6, 2015. In a crowded field of Republicans, Fiorina made a name for herself as a powerful debater. Though she hasn’t surged in the polls, she’s continued to be a strong performer and will likely be on the short list for potential vice presidential nominees.
Photograph by Andrew Harnik — APThe first Republican primary debate, shown here on August 6, 2015, aired on Fox News and achieved record ratings. Americans looking to see just what Donald Trump might say tuned in and got that plus a lot more.
Photograph by Brad Barket — Getty Images for Comedy CentralAmerica said goodbye to its top comedian/newsman this summer as Jon Stewart stepped down as the anchor of The Daily Show on August 6, 2015. He was replaced by South African comedian Trevor Noah after a star-studded farewell episode.
Photograph by Jerry McBride — The Durango Herald via APPeople kayak in the Animas River near Durango, Colorado on August 6, 2015, in water colored from a mine waste spill. An attempt to clean up an abandoned mine in Colorado ended in disaster for the Environmental Protection Agency. Around 1 million gallons of mine waste was poured into the Animas River, turning it orange.
Photograph by Melissa Renwick — AP
Toronto Police Services Superintendent Bryce Evans, center, speaks to the media regarding the investigation into the AshleyMadison.com breach during a press conference in Toronto on August 24, 2015. Potential cheaters everywhere shook in fear as news surfaced that Ashley Madison, a website used to facilitate extramarital affairs, had been hacked. It soon become clear that nearly all of the potential mistresses on the site were not real.
Photograph by Jeffrey R. Staab — CBS via Getty ImagesStephen Colbert and Jon Batiste during the premiere episode of The Late Show with Stephen Colbert on September 8, 2015 on the CBS Television Network. Another torch was passed in the late night world when David Letterman left The Late Show and was replaced by Colbert.
Photograph by Mark J. Terrill — APRepublican presidential candidate, businessman Donald Trump, left, and Jeb Bush slap hands near the finish of the CNN Republican presidential debate at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library and Museum on September 16, 2015, in Simi Valley, Calif. Bush came into the year as the presumptive favorite for the Republican nomination. He ended it struggling in the second tier of candidates, after repeatedly losing battles with Trump.
Photograph by Spencer Platt — Getty ImagesA completed mural of Pope Francis is viewed on the side of a building in midtown Manhattan on September 21, 2015 in New York City. Pope Francis visited the United States for the first time this summer. Huge crowds came out to see him in New York, Philadelphia, and Washington, DC, and many Papal-related products sprung up to capitalize on the hysteria.
Photograph by NASA/JPL/University of Arizona via APOne more in a huge year for space and science: the discovery of solid evidence that water flows on Mars.
Photograph by Evan Vucci — APNeal Blair, of Augusta, Ga., wears a hoodie which reads, “Black Lives Matter” as stands on the lawn of the Capitol building during a rally to mark the 20th anniversary of the Million Man March, on Capitol Hill, on October 10, 2015, in Washington. Protests over police violence and racial profiling continued this year. The Black Lives Matter movement was the pivotal group in this fight, staging protests and meeting with presidential candidates.
Photograph by Brendan McDermid — ReutersFirst Data Chairman and Chief Executive Frank Bisignano, center celebrates during his company’s initial public offering on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange October 15, 2015. First Data (FDC) was one of the biggest IPOs to hit the market this year. Other big names to go public included Square and Match.com.
Photograph by Paul Chiasson — The Canadian Press via APJustin Trudeau greets constituents at a subway station on October 20, 2015 in Montreal, the morning after winning a majority government in the federal election. Canada’s federal election resulted in a huge victory for the Liberal Party and Trudeau, ending a decade of Conservative rule under Stephen Harper.
Photograph by Pete Marovich — UPI /LandovThe day before he is to retire from Congress, Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH) becomes emotional as he delivers his farewell address to the House of Representatives on October 29, 2015 in Washington, D.C. Boehner stepped down as Speaker of the House and resigned his Congressional seat this year, ending his tumultuous four years leading the House. He passed the gavel to Paul Ryan after his presumed heir Kevin McCarthy dropped out of the race.
Photograph by Karem Ahmed — UPI /LandovRussian investigators walks near wreckage a day after a passenger jet bound for St. Petersburg, Russia, crashed in Wadi el-Zolmat, a mountainous area in Egypt’s Sinai Peninsula on November 1, 2015. A Russian jet shot down by Turkey presented yet another twist in a year of delicate relations in the Middle East. Russia’s involvement in the Middle East has been a headache for the United States and President Obama.
Photograph by Stuart Isett for Fortune Most Powerful Women SummitElizabeth Holmes’ biotech company Theranos was the toast of the business world for its innovative products, but a lot of the shine wore off this fall when a Wall Street Journal investigation suggested its technology may not be functioning as well as the company originally suggested. Here, Holmes is interviewed at the Fortune Global Forum on November 2, 2015.
Photograph by Kimberly White — Getty ImagesYahoo (YHOO) CEO Marissa Mayer speaks during the Fortune Global Forum at the Fairmont Hotel on November 3, 2015 in San Francisco, California. Mayer has been in the crosshairs all year as she tries to rebuild Yahoo. Some have called for her to be replaced, but so far she has hung on. Mayer’s year ended on a personal high note, though, as she gave birth to twins.
Photograph by Nate Raymond — ReutersDraftKings Chief Executive Officer Jason Robins, center, walks out of court following a hearing in the Manhattan borough of New York November 25, 2015. For much of the year, advertising for daily fantasy sports sites like DraftKings and Fan Duel were impossible to avoid. As the industry got bigger, though, it got the attention of the government. Things came to a head when the New York Attorney General banned the sites in the state.
Photograph by Philippe Wojazer — ReutersPeople observe a minute of silence at the Trocadero in front the Eiffel Tower to pay tribute to the victims of the series of deadly attacks on Friday in Paris, France, November 16, 2015. Another terrorist attack on Paris shocked the world in November, as shooters opened fire at The Bataclan theatre and other spots in the city. Again, the world came together to express unity on social media as the French government vowed revenge on the ISIS-affiliated groups that carried out the attacks.
Photograph by Josh Hedges — Zuffa LLC via Getty ImagesHolly Holm of the United States follows up after knocking down Ronda Rousey of the United States with a kick in their UFC women’s bantamweight championship bout during the UFC 193 event at Etihad Stadium on November 15, 2015 in Melbourne, Australia. Rousey was on pace to have one of the most successful years ever for a female athlete, locking up huge endorsements and getting unprecedented coverage — until she was defeated in the Octagon by Holm.
Photograph by Lucy Nicholson — ReutersMichael Horn, President and CEO of Volkswagen America, reacts to being mobbed by the media after he apologized for the Volkswagen diesel scandal at the LA Auto Show in Los Angeles, California, United States November 18, 2015. Volkswagen (VLKAY) was the latest auto company rocked by scandal as the German auto giant was found to be using software to cheat on emissions tests in the U.S.
Photograph by Carolyn Kaster — APDemocratic presidential candidate Sen. Bernie Sanders, I-Vt., waves to the applauding audience as he finished speaking at Georgetown University in Washington on November 19, 2015, about the meaning of “democratic socialism” and other topics. Sanders was one of the biggest political surprises of 2015. Though he trailed Hillary Clinton all year, he got his message of democratic-socialism to the masses, including in a pivotal speech, pictured here, at Georgetown University. Sanders likely pushed Clinton to the left on a number of issues, especially Wall Street regulation.
Photograph by Dimitar Dilkoff — AFP/Getty ImagesRefugees wait to cross the Macedonian-Greek border near Gevgelia, on November 20, 2015. People fleeing war in Syria made their way to Europe, creating a huge battle over how to handle the influx of migrants.
Photograph by Douglas Gorenstein — NBC/NBCU Photo Bank/Getty ImagesHost Jimmy Fallon and The Roots sing with Adele during the Music Room bit on November 24, 2015 on The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon. The queen of blue-eyed soul returned. Adele released her new album 25, her first in nearly five years, and broke the single week sales record, an incredible feat in an era of streaming and free downloads.
Photograph by Mario Anzuoni — ReutersLaw enforcement officers look over the evidence near the remains of a SUV involved in the Wednesdays attack is shown in San Bernardino, California on December 3, 2015. Terrorism rocked the United States in December when a husband-and-wife duo opened fire in San Bernadino, Calif. After the attack, President Obama gave a speech outlining his strategy for combatting ISIS, including a controversial plan to prevent people on the federal No Fly list from purchasing guns.
Photograph by Susan Walsh — APFederal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen speaks during a news conference in Washington on December 16, 2015, following an announcement that the Federal Reserve raised its key interest rate by 25 basis points, heralding higher lending rates in an economy that is much sturdier than the one the Fed helped rescue in 2008.
Photograph by Craig Ruttle — APMartin Shkreli, the former hedge fund manager under fire for buying a pharmaceutical company and ratcheting up the price of a life-saving drug, is belted into an awaiting car after being taken into custody following a securities probe, on December 17, 2015 in New York. Shkreli was the enfant terrible of the business world in 2015. His company, Turing Pharmaceuticals, raised the price of a drug used by AIDS patients by 5,000%. He bought a one-of-a-kind Wu Tang Clan Album. And he ended the year by being arrested for securities fraud.
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