J.B. Pritzker

As bad a year as Rahm had at the power table, Pritzker seemed to turn over all aces. In October, the billionaire financier burnished his philanthropic rep by dropping a cool $100 million to support scholarships at Northwestern University’s law school, the largest gift ever to a U.S. law school. The ice-skating ribbon in Maggie … Read more

Ken Griffin

By some measures, the recently divorced Griffin may be the most eligible bachelor in town. Forbes pegs his net worth at $7.2 billion, making him Chicago’s richest man. And he’s getting richer by the minute: Citadel’s main funds rose nearly 13 percent from January 1, 2015 through November, according to Bloomberg, as the S&P closed … Read more

Mike Madigan

In 2015, Madigan did what he does best: be Mike Madigan. Just as he’s done for, well, practically forever, the wily speaker used his absolute control over the statehouse to stand as the impenetrable roadblock to anything—anything!—that threatens his power source: his 71-seat Democratic supermajority. We defy you to name one of Madigan’s accomplishments last … Read more

Sam Zell

When this brass-tacks billionaire talks investing, people listen. Why wouldn’t they? Last year, three publicly traded real estate investment trusts that Zell controls delivered the largest returns of any in town. In October, one of those trusts sold off a quarter of its apartment properties for $5.3 billion, and Zell is reportedly selling more this year, … Read more

Rocky Wirtz

Whispers of the D-word—“dynasty”—began in 2013 after Wirtz’s Chicago Blackhawks won their second Stanley Cup in three years. When they hoisted their third last year, those whispers became a chorus. Winning the Big One with any sports franchise confers power—and produces big profits. Thanks to their Cup runs, the Hawks are now the fourth most … Read more

Bruce Rauner

The first Republican governor in 12 years, Rauner charged into office vowing to shake up Springfield, but instead has inflicted the state with shaken-government syndrome. Sure, he’s flexed his substantial political muscle. But to whose benefit? He shut down state government to pressure House speaker Mike Madigan (No. 5) and Senate president John Cullerton ([[[No. … Read more

Tom Ricketts

It was only a couple of years ago that the Cubs’ head honcho seemed to be suffering a severe power deficit. The rooftop owners were still giving him fits, the club still stunk, and sports talk mocked him for being too nice to win. But just as those who best know Ricketts predicted, he put … Read more

Frederick Waddell

After 40 years at Chicago’s most storied financial services company, eight of them as its chief, Waddell’s place on this power list is beginning to seem as constant as Earth’s orbit around the sun. The year 2015 was unusually good for the powerful banker: Northern Trust posted a 10 percent return after years in the … Read more

Ilene Gordon

Last April, Gordon was named the first female chairman of the august Economic Club of Chicago—proof, if you needed any, that she has clout with a capital C. Even trends like non-GMO and gluten-free are no match for her: The food ingredient maker she runs now cranks out specialty products that account for a quarter … Read more

Susana Mendoza

Look above: You’re staring at the future of the Democratic Party in Illinois. The daughter of Mexican immigrants, Mendoza was only 28 when she was elected to the statehouse. Last May, she was sworn in for her second term as city clerk. Now she’s stepping up to run statewide in the November special election for … Read more