The Biggest Career Breakthroughs Of 2013

Posted: Dec 23 2013, 1:07pm CST | by


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The Biggest Career Breakthroughs Of 2013
Photo Credit: Forbes

After publishing my roundup of the biggest career crashes of 2013—I started looking for politicians, athletes, movie stars and corporate executives who experienced the complete opposite: an especially successful year at work.

The Biggest Career Breakthroughs Of 2013

With help from my Forbes colleagues and readers on Twitter, I compiled a list of public figures who had big career breakouts and breakthroughs in 2013. Here’s our list, in no particular order:

Pope Francis
Pope Francis was elected pope on March 13, the second day of the 2013 papal conclave. He is the 266th pope of the Catholic Church and the first non-European in 1,200 years. Born Jorge Bergoglio in Argentina to Italian parents, he was first ordained a priest in 1969. The 77-year-old pope was named TIME’s 2013 Person of The Year.

Mary Barra
Barra, who started working at GM at age 18, is the first woman to be named CEO of a major global automaker. In December 2013, it was announced that she would succeed Dan Akerson as the company’s chief executive. The Forbes Power Woman will take office in early 2014.

Angela Ahrendts
Ahrendts has been Burberry’s chief executive since 2006—but in October 2013 it was confirmed that she will leave the luxury brand in mid-2014 to join Apple as a member of its executive team. My colleague Clare O’Connor reported that while at Burberry, Ahrendts “not only oversaw a tripling of revenues to $3 billion and a stock return of 300%, but she successfully revitalized a 150-year-old brand that had lost its way.” She currently ranks 53rd on Forbes‘ list of the World’s 100 Most Powerful Women.

Reed Hastings
Hastings co-founded Netflix with Marc Randolph in 1998—but it hasn’t been the easiest ride. In what Vanity Fair called “one of the worst self-inflicted corporate disasters in recent memory,” the video streaming company reportedly experienced customer backlash, a steep decline in stock price and cancellations, among other things, after it announced that its subscription prices were changing in 2011. Shortly after, the company said that it would spin off its DVD business under a new name, Qwikster. This didn’t resonate with customers either, so Netflix reversed its decision less than a month later—but the company’s stock value plummeted and Hastings, the company’s chief executive, was asked about resigning. This year, however, things turned around for Hastings and Netflix. My colleague Agustino Fontevecchia reported that “after bottoming below $54 in the summer of 2012, the video streaming company has been on a tear, rallying more than 400% and rising even higher … in the aftermath of a solid third quarter earnings report.”

Tory Burch
Forbes reported that the Power Woman joined this year’s rich list “thanks to the incredible growth of her preppy-bohemian womenswear brand, which brought in $800 million in revenues in 2012.” The fashion mogul is the second youngest self-made female billionaire in America.

Other CEOs who had an especially successful year:
Jeff Bezos
Elon Musk
John Idol

Yasiel Puig
Shortly after the 23-year-old professional outfielder defected from Cuba in 2012, he signed a $42 million seven-year contract with the Los Angeles Dodgers. He made his MLB debut in June 2013 and had a phenomenal season. He became the first player in major league history to record at least 34 hits and seven home runs in his first 20 games, and finished second in the National League Rookie of the Year voting.

Others in sports who had an especially successful year:
Chris Weidman
Andy Murray
Ben Cherington
Aaron Ramsey

The 17-year-old singer-songwriter from New Zealand is best known for her hit “Royals,” which reached number one on the Billboard Hot 100 in 2013. This made her the first New Zealand solo artist to have a number one song in the United State. Ella Yelich-O’Conner, who is known by her stage name Lorde, was discovered at a talent show at the age of 12 and is currently nominated for four Grammys, including Record of the Year, Song of the Year, and Best Pop Vocal Album.

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
2013 was a big year for hip-hop duo Ben Haggerty, known by his stage name Macklemore, and producer Ryan Lewis. Their hit single “Thrift Shop” reached number one on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100 chart this year—and Macklemore, 30, and Lewis, 25, have been nominated for seven Grammy awards, including Best New Artist, Album of the Year and Song of the Year.

Others in the music industry who had an especially successful year:
Ariana Grande
5 Seconds Of Summer
Miley Cyrus
Robin Thicke
Kendrick Lamar

Sandra Bullock
Bullock was a big name in Hollywood prior to 2013—but this year was an especially successful one for the 49-year-old actress and producer. Bullock ranked fifth on Forbes’ list of the top-grossing actors of 2013—making her one of only two women on the list. As my colleague Dorothy Pomerantz recently reported, Bullock had two big hits this year: Gravity, which will likely earn her another Oscar nomination, and The Heat, which brought in $230 million.

Other actors who had an especially successful year:
Lupita Nyong’o
Jennifer Lawrence
Quvenzhané Wallis
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Dwayne Johnson

Jimmy Fallon
Fallon, a TV host, comedian, actor, singer, musician and producer, currently hosts Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, a late-night talk show on NBC. In April 2013, the network announced that Fallon would succeed Jay Leno as host of The Tonight Show in early 2014—a big promotion for Fallon.

Others in media who had an especially successful year:
Glenn Greenwald
Judy Woodruff
Gwen Ifill

Jack Dorsey
The 37-year-old billionaire cofounded Twitter in 2007—but, according to his Forbes profile, Dorsey derives the majority of his fortune from his stake in payments startup Square. He serves as executive chairman of Twitter and CEO Square, which moved into its new headquarters in 2013 and doubled its head count in less than a year. In Twitter’s first day of trading on the NYSE in November 2013, its shares opened at $26.00 and closed at $44.90, giving the company a valuation of around $31 billion. Thanks to his ability to “deliver incredible innovation and design,” Dorsey has been compared to the late Steve Jobs.

Others in tech who had an especially successful year:
Dick Costolo
Mark Zuckerberg
Evan Williams
David Karp

Readers: Tell us who we missed in the comments section below.

Follow me on Twitter, Forbes, and Google+.

Source: Forbes

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