The Best and Worst of Business 2009

Remembering the good news and bad in a year we won’t forget.
By Leslie D. Helm, Chris Winters, Talia Schmidt, Kate Vesper, David Volk, Randy Woods, Elizabeth Economou and Art Thiel |   December 2009   |  FROM THE PRINT EDITION
Illustrations by Mark Brewer

The Best of Business 2009

Best Hire: Phyllis Campbell

Phyllis CampbellWashington Mutual's collapse last year-which came to a head with a run on the bank and seizure by the FDIC-resulted in the loss of 3,400 jobs in downtown Seattle, a virtually empty shell of a new headquarters building, and a lot of anger and hurt in the community. The challenge for JPMorgan Chase, which acquired WaMu, was to reassure customers, win back local confidence and develop a strong brand as the foundation for a range of new services.

Chase hit a grand slam when it hired Phyllis Campbell to chair its Pacific Northwest operations. During her career as CEO of the Seattle Foundation, CEO of US Bank, Washington and, before that, in management at Old National Bank in Spokane, Campbell developed a reputation as a competent manager and a hard worker with a strong commitment to the region. (see also p. 53.)

With JPMorgan Chase promising to continue WaMu's charitable giving ($2.65 million to Washington nonprofits in 2009), it is good to have such a strong homegrown leader at the helm. Now if she could only persuade Chase to move its headquarters to Washington state. —Leslie D. Helm

Photo by Hayley Young


Best Connected: Dan Rosen, Chair, Alliance of Angels, and CEO, Dan Rosen & Associates

Dan RosenAs chair of the nonprofit Alliance of Angels, an organization of more than 100 individuals who invest in early-stage companies, Rosen has helped provide make-or-break funding for more than 140 Northwest entrepreneurs over the last dozen years. Often using personal funds, angel investors are the critical link between the "friends and family" stage of borrowing and the more formal venture capital stage-hence, the beatific moniker. Unlike venture capitalists, who look for quick returns on their investments, angel investors are often committed to firms for as long as eight years. In recent months, as venture capital has dried up, Rosen's Alliance has played an even larger role in the fate of Seattle's startups. Last year, the Alliance made 34 investment transactions worth about $6.4 million, a 64 percent increase over 2007 and the second-highest investment total since the organization was founded 12 years ago. Rosen boasts: "One hundred percent of the companies that have received money [from the Alliance] in the last four years are either still in business or

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