The ten personalities who marked the economy in 2021

WITH – Pandemics, scandals, Brexit … The economic world has experienced many upheavals in 2021. Overview of personalities who have distinguished themselves.

Frances Haugen, Facebook model employee turned whistleblower

Frances Haugen, former engineer at Facebook. JOEL SAGET / AFP

In a matter of weeks, this Silicon Valley engineer went from the most complete anonymity to international media exposure. After working for two years at Facebook (now renamed Meta) in the department responsible for hate speech and infox, Frances Haugen slammed the door of the digital giant in May 2021. Her goal: to denounce the harmfulness of Facebook’s social networks on the mental health of users, especially the youngest.

By making thousands of internal documents public, the algorithm specialist intends to prove that Facebook is fully aware of the dangers of some of its services such as Instagram but has chosen “profit before humans ”. A formula that she now repeats on television sets and in the rostrum of parliaments, where she lifts the veil on Facebook’s internal abuses. Frances Haugen’s accusations shook the Californian giant and reactivated the debate on the regulation of GAFA.

Stanislas Niox-Château, the face of Doctolib

Stanislas Niox-Château, co-founder and CEO of Doctolib. VALENTIN FLAURAUD / CHAM

Like large laboratories, Doctolib has established itself as one of the key companies in the vaccine campaign against Covid. Founded in 2013, the valued start-up was already valued more than one billion euros before the crisis. Since then, it has changed dimension again, like its founder Stanislas Niox-Château.

In direct line with the government to pilot vaccination, regularly invited by the media to tell about his entrepreneurial journey, Stanislas Niox Château has managed to make Doctolib one of the favorite companies of the French.

Angela Merkel, a legacy of economic power

Angela Merkel. ODD ANDERSEN / POOL / AFP

Full employment, controlled debt, efficient industry… If one aspect of Angela Merkel’s sixteen-year mandate is consensus, it is indeed her economic record. Arrival at the head of a still qualified Germanysick manIn Europe in the early 2000s, the CDU elected official was able to benefit from the results of the labor market reforms initiated by her predecessor Gerard Schröder.

The political stability embodied by the Chancellor then helped to re-establish Germany as the engine of the European economy, despite two major economic crises in 2008 and 2020. Pragmatic, “Mom»Did not hesitate to break with the budgetary orthodoxy of rigor in Germany to cushion the effects of the Covid on the economy.

Mark Zuckerberg, head to the Metaverse


Directly questioned by the whistleblower Frances Haugen for his omnipotent management of Facebook, Mark Zuckerberg sought to regain the initiative to get his group out of the turmoil. The boss has multiplied the announcements, as a counter-fire to the accusations leveled against Facebook’s services for their toxicity. The group first changed their name to rebrand themselves as Meta in October.

Above all, the boss has made a giant leap into the future. Meta intends to build a virtual world called “Metaverse” (which inspired its new name), a sort of 3D internet or parallel reality in which individuals will be immersed and will be able to interact. The project is already arousing as much fascination as it is criticism. The scent of scandal around Facebook is not about to fade.

Carlos Tavares, Fusion Driver of the Year

Carlos Tavares, DG of Stellantis. BERTRAND GUAY / AFP

In January 2021, PSA and Fiat-Chrysler confirmed their merger to form an automotive giant up to the colossal challenges facing the sector, in particular the electric transition. Maneuvering in this operation, the former boss of PSA Carlos Tavares then took over the general management of the new Stellantis group resulting from the merger.

A consecration for this boss, now in charge of a group of 400,000 employees and fifteen brands sold on all continents. In seven years at the head of PSA, the engineer passionate about motor racing has managed to turn around the dying company, acquire Opel in 2017 and merge with FCA in 2021. An eloquent record that recalls the first successes of his former boss at Renault -Nissan, a certain Carlos Ghosn.

Kristalina Georgieva, on a wire at the IMF

Kristalina Georgieva, IMF Director. DANIEL LEAL / AFP

Since 2000, no IMF director has completed his five-year term. Appointed to this position in 2019 to replace Christine Lagarde, the Bulgarian Kristalina Georgieva almost perpetuated this black series. In September, an internal investigation implicates the economist. She is accused of having manipulated in favor of China the data of a ranking on economic attractiveness while she was managing director of the World Bank.

Despite its denials, the affair caused a stir in the context of a struggle for influence between the United States and China within international institutions. In suspense, the IMF’s board of directors finally kept Kristalina Georgieva, weakened, in her post.

Lionel Messi, gold and silver

Lionel Messi. FRANCK FIFE / AFP

On the pitch, Leo Messi has not yet given the full measure of his dazzling talent since he took on the colors of PSG in August. In the club’s accounts, however, the Messi effect is undeniable. The seven-time winner of the Golden Ball loving the new sponsorship contracts for PSG (, Gorillas), boosting sales of jerseys, tickets and derivative products.

Next to these quantifiable fallout in tens of millions of euros, the solid gold contract signed by the Argentinian in Paris (30 million euros net, or as much as his teammate Neymar and his rival Cristiano Ronaldo at Manchester United) would almost pass for a reasonable investment.

French fishermen, Brexit hostages

A French fishing boat. SAMEER AL-DOUMY / AFP

Despite the Brexit agreement signed at the end of 2020 between the United Kingdom and the European Union, 73 French boats are still deprived of access by London to British and Channel waters of Jersey. They used to fish in this fish-rich area before the UK took off.

Paris and London are arguing in particular over the nature of the documents to be supplied by the fishermen to recover their license to access these areas. After eleven months of bitter negotiations allowing licenses to be gleaned in dribbles for French sailors, France is preparing to ask the European Commission to initiate a legal dispute with the United Kingdom.

Emmanuel Faber, thrown white knight

Former Danone CEO Emmanuel Faber. GEOFFROY VAN DER HASSELT / AFP

Throughout his speeches and his strategic plans at Danone, Emmanuel Faber had championed a more sustainable and human economic model, where everything would not be measured by financial performance. His decision to transform the group into “company with mission», A first for a French multinational, had established its status as a visionary and committed boss a little more.

In March, the former CEO of Danone came up against the harsh realities of the business world. Its shareholders have led a sling to erode its power and finally oust it permanently … on the grounds that the company is underperforming compared to its competitors. A departure without retirement hat. For example, Emmanuel Faber had given up in 2019.

Elon Musk, from one conquest to another


Elon Musk regularly trusts the rankings of the most influential celebrities. Latest example with the magazine Time who chose him as the personality of the year 2021. It is first with the Tesla boss hat that the entrepreneur shines. At the top of the stock market, the manufacturer now has the highest capitalization of the automobile, until being taken as an example by its competitors for its industrial model.

But the extravagant Musk doesn’t limit his genius to the automobile. His company Space X succeeded this year in transporting astronauts to the ISS, as well as in sending four tourists into space. Between these vertiginous projects of space tourism, augmented man and anti-traffic tunnel, the South African has not finished talking about him.


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