Special Report

Famous People in Business We Lost This Year

Source: William Thomas Cain / Getty Images

6. Evelyn Y. Davis
> Age: 89
> Occupation: Progressive activist shareholder

Described widely in the press as a gadfly who engaged in “antics” at annual shareholder meetings, the so-called “Queen of the Corporate Jungle” spent decades attending shareholder meeting to scold CEOs on their excessive pay and for treating small individual investors as “peasants.” The Dutch-born Holocaust survivor had attended shareholder meetings religiously since 1959, sometimes donning scandalous clothing and often berating Corporate America’s bosses, using the stocks she owned as entry tickets to these otherwise closed-door affairs. Davis’s actions played a role in raising public awareness to progressive shareholder activism and how, if banded together, small shareholders can have a positive influence on corporate behavior. Not bad for a gadfly. Davis died Nov. 4 in a Washington D.C. hospital from an undisclosed cause at age 89.

Source: Elsa / Getty Images

7. Richard DeVos
> Age: 92
> Occupation: Amway co-founder

The co-founder of Amway, the world’s leading direct-selling company specializing in beauty and home care products, was a prolific promoter of self-help books, promoting his views on American capitalism and faith inspired by his Christian upbringing. Richard DeVos was also chairman of the Orlando Magic basketball team and a major Republican Party supporter. His daughter-in-law is U.S. Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos, who is a major supporter of education deregulation and privatizing public education. DeVos died in his home in Ada, Michigan.

Source: Michael Smith / Getty Images

8. David Edgerton
> Age: 90
> Occupation: Burger King co-founder

After managing Howard Johnson’s restaurants in Florida, David Edgerton opened Insta-Burger Restaurant and was poised to open a second outlet when he and a partner established a new fast-food brand in the 1950s called Burger King, now the world’s second-largest burger chain after McDonald’s. The Cornell University-educated U.S. Army veteran worked with a mechanic to invent a continuous-chain flame broiler that distinguished Burger King from its competitors. Edgerton and his partner sold Burger King to Pillsbury in 1967. He remained in the industry in smaller roles until his retirement. Edgerton died April 3 in Miami following surgery complications caused by a fall.

Source: Vittorio Zunino Celotto / Getty Images

9. Wanda Ferragamo
> Age: 96
> Occupation: Italian shoe matriarch

When her husband, the famous Italian shoe designer Salvatore Ferragamo, died in 1960, Wanda Ferragamo took over the family business. Though she credited her late husband for leaving her with “very solid foundations,” Wanda grew the business into a global empire despite her initial lack of experience. Ferragamo’s first innovation was to introduce handbags that match the shoes. She later added men’s shoes, off-the-rack clothing, and eyeglasses to the product mix. Ferragamo died on Oct. 19 in her home in Fiesole, Italy, at age 96.

Source: Franco Origlia / Getty Images

10. Hubert de Givenchy
> Age: 91
> Occupation: Fashion designer

The famed French designer was best known for dressing iconic actress Audrey Hepburn off-screen and for her roles in “Breakfast at Tiffany’s,” “Funny Face,” and “How to Steal a Million.” After working under famed fashion designer Cristobal Balenciaga, Givenchy founded his eponymous brand in 1952. His restrained and sophisticated style became known as “extreme elegance,” and his designs were coveted by celebrities and European royalty. He retired from his company in 1995 and went on to join the world of arts and antiques. Givenchy died March 12 at age 91.

Sponsored: Find a Qualified Financial Advisor

Finding a qualified financial advisor doesn’t have to be hard. SmartAsset’s free tool matches you with up to 3 fiduciary financial advisors in your area in 5 minutes. Each advisor has been vetted by SmartAsset and is held to a fiduciary standard to act in your best interests. If you’re ready to be matched with local advisors that can help you achieve your financial goals, get started now.