23. Libby Wadle
Libby Wadle
Executive vice president, retail and direct, J. Crew
Age: 38
Industry: Apparel

J. Crew CEO Mickey Drexler surprised many this spring when he named Wadle as a potential successor. But Wadle, a retail savant who honed her skills at Gap and Coach, has been stealthily climbing the ladder at J. Crew for years. She's shown a knack for growing new concepts, like the outlet division (she doubled its store count and tripled its sales) and Madewell, J. Crew's buzzy sister brand. Wadle now runs the preppy clothier's entire retail division and its direct-sales operation. In other words, the top spot keeps getting closer.

Dream job: Broadway musical actor.


Last updated October 25 2011: 5:11 PM ET
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