79. Jim Wunderman
Jim Wunderman was once described as the “Bay Area’s most connected man,” and it’s easy to see why. Wunderman heads the business-friendly Bay Area Council, which has been around since 1945 and represents some 330 of the largest businesses in the area. The politically savvy Wunderman is part cheerleader for business, part statistician and part analyst as he confronts crises that have hit the Bay Area – the pandemic, affordable housing, homelessness and new construction, among others. The perception that people are fleeing his turf may be true: UC says new arrivals dropped 45 percent from March 2020 to September 2021, while departures rose 21 percent. A bright spot: New residential construction is coming back, about 4,500 units this year, although it is below pre-pandemic levels. Overall, the area’s profile is astonishing: Its GDP is $925 billion and one out of every two residents 25 years or older has at least a B.A. degree. Wunderman, a graduate of San Francisco State, majored in political science.
Updated Aug. 9, 2022