Dan Cathy was named president and chief operating officer at Chick-fil-A in 2001. Since then, Cathy has steered the Atlanta-based quick-service chain founded by his father, S. Truett Cathy, through major growth, adding about 700 units — many far beyond the chain’s Southeast home base. At the end of 2012, privately held Chick-fil-A had 1,669 units and systemwide sales of more than $4.5 billion.

Cathy, a self-proclaimed obsessive when it comes to customer service, oversaw the launch several years ago of the brand’s “Second-Mile Service” program, which encourages all employees to exceed expectations whenever possible. He also is known for regaling brand fans with his trumpet at new unit openings. In his personal life, Cathy is a devoted Christian, a licensed pilot and a marathon runner. He also won the Golden Chain Award in 2005.