12 of 17
BACKNEXT
Francisco "Frank" Lorenzo
Francisco
Then: The airline CEO, reviled by unions for his aggressive cost-cutting, led Continental into bankruptcy in 1983, voiding its union contracts and giving it a fresh start. The 1989 bankruptcy of Eastern was more painful: a court replaced Lorenzo with a trustee and the airline was liquidated.

Now: "There is a difference between a tough boss and a tough job," he tells Fortune. "It was very painful to furlough people."

Today, at age 70, he runs Houston-based Savoy Capital, an early investor in Chinese food chain P.F. Chang's. He and his wife Sharon spend plenty of time in Spain, his parents' country of origin -- flying Continental, which Lorenzo calls "the best product in the sky."

Lorenzo is also active in the art world, serving as a trustee of the Hispanic Society of America, a Manhattan museum with works by Goya and Velázquez. "It's a long way from worrying about 50,000 employees," he says. "But it's the kind of stuff that's really fun in this second stage of my life."

By Ellen Florian



NEXT: Andy Bechtolsheim
Last updated October 28 2010: 8:20 AM ET
More Galleries
5 biggest share buybacks of 2014 Stock repurchases are booming. These five companies are ready to spend over $79 billion on buybacks. More
10 horrifying corporate mascots McDonald's Happy is part of a long lineage of creatures great and small that shill for products and mortify consumers. Mr. Mucus, anyone? More
5 best cities to launch a career The top spots in the U.S. for new grads to land a job -- and actually enjoy life -- according to financial site WalletHub. More

Most stock quote data provided by BATS. Market indices are shown in real time, except for the DJIA, which is delayed by two minutes. All times are ET. Disclaimer.

Morningstar: © 2014 Morningstar, Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Factset: FactSet Research Systems Inc. 2014. All rights reserved.

Chicago Mercantile Association: Certain market data is the property of Chicago Mercantile Exchange Inc. and its licensors. All rights reserved.

Dow Jones: The Dow Jones branded indices are proprietary to and are calculated, distributed and marketed by DJI Opco, a subsidiary of S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC and have been licensed for use to S&P Opco, LLC and CNN. Standard & Poor's and S&P are registered trademarks of Standard & Poor’s Financial Services LLC and Dow Jones is a registered trademark of Dow Jones Trademark Holdings LLC. All content of the Dow Jones branded indices © S&P Dow Jones Indices LLC 2014 and/or its affiliates.