In 2007, JetBlue ( committed a couple grievous errors. First, it left dozens of passengers in planes at JFK for almost 11 hours. Then it stranded thousands more on tarmacs during a late-Februrary snowstorm, right after being criticized for the first snafu. At first, founder and CEO David Neeleman responded appropriately. He went on Letterman to apologize, then did the same on YouTube before eventually issuing a passenger's bill of rights that limited the amount of time they could be stranded on the tarmac. But the real hero of the drama was JetBlue's board. A few months after the episode, it forced Neeleman to step down, and signaled to JetBlue's fans that the company wouldn't tolerate something like that again. )
After Gates and Slim comes the secretive Amancio Ortega, who built the world's largest fashion empire, Zara.