2023 Year in Review

It should be no surprise that David Ricks, CEO of Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co., is IBJ's newsmaker of the year. As you'll read in reporter John Russell's story below, Lilly this year became the world's most valuable publicly traded drug company. Our other eight newsmakers for 2023 come from higher education, politics, sports and industry, and all made a big impact on central Indiana.

Ricks leads Lilly to new heights

David Ricks doesn't run the biggest pharmaceutical company in the world or the oldest or one located in a glamorous U.S. coastal city.

But as CEO of Indianapolis-based Eli Lilly and Co., he had an even bigger distinction in 2023: Lilly became the most valuable publicly traded drug company in the world.

Ricks led Lilly to milestone after milestone, with a slew of product launches for diseases from obesity to inflammatory bowel disease. And when Lilly wasn't scoring wins in the laboratory, it was issuing a series of head-turning announcements, including the launch last spring of its largest capital expenditure ever on a single site: $3.7 billion for a new manufacturing complex in Boone County.

In the process, investors rushed to buy Lilly stock, creating a massive run-up in value. Shares hit a record high of $630 a share, up more than 70% for the year.

And even though Lilly is just the 12th largest drugmaker in the world, with 2022 sales of $28.5 billion, the company has eclipsed Johnson & Johnson, a company more than three times Lilly's size in revenue, in market value last spring. MORE >

Professional portrait of Eli Lilly CEO David Ricks seated in a sport coat and slacks smiling at the camera.


Eli Lilly and Co. CEO
Economic development announcements and politics dominated the news in 2023. Mayoral races were on the ballot, but candidates running for governor in 2024 were also advertising heavily. Plus, several communities announced arena projects, and dozens of restaurants opened and closed. Here's a recap of the year's biggest stories.