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Marcia Angell, medical essayist
It pays to listen to Dr. Marcia Angell. In 1992, as the Food and Drug Administration began banning silicone breast implants, Angell, the executive editor of the New England Journal of Medicine, argued that it wouldn't have hurt to withhold judgment a little longer, certainly until comprehensive studies on their danger were completed. Besides, the implants had been on the market more than 30 years and had been placed in more than 1 million women.
The FDA did not wait. It enacted its ban, and as a result, thousands of women panicked, leading to a haggle of personal-injury lawsuits. By 1994, however, a series of scientific studies began showing no long-term side effects. Based on those studies, a ruling by a federal judge last year said that plaintiffs' attorneys in a class action could not introduce evidence or testimony that said implants cause disease. Angell's 1996 book about the implant controversy, Science on Trial, became an instant classic on junk science.
She is not the most powerful person at the Journal that distinction belongs to her boss, Dr. Jerome Kassirer, the editor in chief. But as executive editor, Angell, 57, is responsible for selecting and shaping the Journal's "Sounding Board" pieces and "Special Articles" items that direct the attention of 230,000 well-placed subscribers in the medical community to particular points of view about complex scientific and social issues. It is an influence that reaches far beyond her position at the Journal. Trained as both an internist and a pathologist, Angell displays a carefully reasoned style in her editorials that has made her a favorite among physicians and journalists. Her editorials have championed everything from the Canadian-style single-payer health-care system to more aggressive pain management. In an especially poignant editorial on physician-assisted suicide in January, she told the story of how her terminally ill father killed himself rather than be admitted to a hospital for treatment. She says, "Illness and death are not optional. Patients have a right to determine how they approach them."
Michael Price, fund manager
Were it not for the fact that he's filthy rich and more than a little arrogant, Michael Price could be a populist hero. In the 1980s, rapacious raiders such as T. Boone Pickens and Carl Icahn attacked underperforming companies mostly for their own short-term gain. Price, 45, is a new kind of raider, a mutual-fund manager with a long-term strategy who leads the charge on behalf of Mutual Series, a $21 billion group of funds he runs out of Short Hills, New Jersey. Price sold his company, Heine Securities, to Franklin Resources for $850 million last year but stayed on to manage the funds. The Mutual Shares flagship fund has ranked in the top 10% of peer funds over the past 10 years.
When Price wars, targeted companies seldom escape his wrath. Typically, he will buy a big stake in a laggard company and demand a meeting with management. If he fails to get satisfaction, he'll announce his displeasure publicly. That's when the sharks begin circling. He owns 5.5% of publisher Dow Jones and is pushing for change. "We've done some things that people have noticed," Price says.
Indeed, in 1995 Price almost single-handedly forced a merger of Chase Manhattan and Chemical Bank. He spotted a sleepy stock, Chase, that he believed was severely undervalued. Buying more than 6%, he used his position to demand a fix. The $10 billion deal generated more than $500 million in stock gains for Price's funds and secured his place as a Wall Street player. Last year he was behind the hiring of Al ("Chainsaw") Dunlap as CEO of Sunbeam. The stock has nearly tripled. As some ex-CEOs have learned, don't bet against him.