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Sunday, Jul 21, 2024

Celebrating the Influential San Diegans of 2023

Familiar and New Leaders Highlighted in Annual List

The Community of Business in San Diego has had another memorable year, led by many of the names found in this special 2023 SD500 issue of the San Diego Business Journal. Despite economic headwinds of high inflation, rising interest rates, labor disputes and geopolitical strife continuing to affect supply chains, San Diego has remained for the most part resilient.

Regional Snapshot

In our region’s life science sector – a major driver of our economy – there have been several major acquisitions, notable funding rounds and even a few IPOs after a sluggish period of activity that followed the sugar rush of activity that erupted during the COVID pandemic years.

Notable deals include San Diego’s largest biotech deal ever: Merck’s $10.8 billion acquisition of Prometheus Biosciences in June. The red-hot summer for life science continued in July with the Novartis acquisition of DTx for $1 billion and Recludix Pharma’s $1.3 billion collaboration deal with Sanofi. In September, Rayze Bio entered the Nasdaq market, closing an upsized $358 million IPO; and in October, Bristol Myers Squibb dropped $4.8 billion to buy up Mirati Therapeutics.

Despite high inflation, U.S. consumer spending has remained strong, which has been a major benefit to San Diego’s tourism sector. This month, the San Diego Tourism Authority announced a record breaking $14.28 billion in direct spending by an estimated 30.5 million visitors in FY2023 – an increase of $1 billion over last year’s record-breaking spending.

The Rady School of Management also released a report this month that showed direct U.S. Department of Defense spending in San Diego came in at $36.1 billion in the fiscal year ending Sept. 30. That spending had a total economic impact on the region of $56.4 billion, according to the report.

The high interest rate environment is having the biggest impact on San Diego’s real estate market, which has slowed home sales and pushed the median price of a home in San Diego above $1 million, according to the Greater San Diego Association of Realtors. The beginning of the year also saw cooling in the life science real estate market, although analysts are expecting that trend to turn around in 2024. Like in other major cities, San Diego’s office space market is seeing the lowest demand in years due to the rise of remote work. The brightest spot in real estate is the historic low vacancy rates for retail space in San Diego, driven by continued consumer spending in the post-COVID economy.

San Diego’s technology sector also continues to grow, with tech jobs growing 12.5% over the five-year period ending in 2022, according to CBRE. Our educational institutions are also creating more technology graduates than there are jobs, which has attracted large companies such as Apple and Amazon to expand their footprints here.

Even with the growth, high costs for housing translated to a need for services for many families in San Diego. Fortunately, the region’s nonprofits and foundations are working to meet the challenge. According to the Nonprofit Institute at USD, 80% of nonprofits have grown their workforce in the past 12 months, and regional foundations have grown their assets 161% since 2015.

New SD500 This Year

The SD500 list represents the influential members of the San Diego business community who shaped how the region has grown over the years. This year’s edition includes familiar and new faces alike.

New to this year for both is an updated style for our list’s profiles, including quotes that were provided or found in past San Diego Business Journal articles or other sources. This issue is the culmination of a sizable group effort that is a year in the making. We hope you enjoy this issue and welcome feedback to continue our efforts in producing SD500 issues worthy of the people in them.



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