1. Trey Laird

Feel-Good Guy

Never mind that he reportedly bagged Madonna for a cool $10 million to hawk Gap corduroys while singing a remix of Get Into the Groove with Missy Elliott. That's all just in a day's work for imagemaker Trey Laird. The real story is that Laird's creative vision--always making an emotional connection to the consumer--has put the Gap back in the black.

"Gap had lost its style. It didn't have any edge," says Laird, who broke into the art-directing business working for Peter Arnell and then Donna Karan. Customers were fleeing too. In the 27 months before Laird's arrival, the Gap had...

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