Michael R. Milken

Often compared with the legendary financier J.P. Morgan, Michael R. Milken virtually invented and controlled the takeover financing business and high-yield junk bond market. Whether he can hold onto that position as head of Drexel Burnham Lambert's Beverly Hills junk bond operation is uncertain as the government continues its criminal investigation into his relationship with stock speculator Ivan F. Boesky, and the market for takeovers financed with junk bonds responds to last October's market collapse.

Rodney S. Wagner

As vice chairman of the credit policy committee at Morgan Guaranty Trust, Wagner will play a key role in trying to convince fellow bankers and his bank's client, Mexico, that the Mexican debt plan he had a lead role in designing is in the interest of both parties. If the plan to help Mexico reduce its outstanding debt flies, other debtor nations may be candidates for similar creative financing.

Paul Bilzerian

Despite the slowing of takeovers in response to the difficulty in lining up financing since Black Monday, Paul Bilzerian, a newcomer to corporate raiding, has made his presence felt in his successful effort to take control of Singer Co., one of the nation's leading defense contractors. He launched the hostile takeover bid in financial partnership with a pro, raider T. Boone Pickens Jr.

Steve S. Chen

The supercomputing genius who left Cray Research Inc. in a dispute over development strategy is now at the helm of his own company, Supercomputer Systems Inc., with access to the deep pockets of IBM to fund his work. With a handful of companies dominating the field, Chen may pull ahead of the pack in producing the next generation of supercomputers, a key development in the technological competitiveness race with the Japanese.

Paul A. Volcker

After eight years of heading the nation's central bank, Paul A. Volcker has described himself as "a kind of monetary has-been" since he stepped down from the Federal Reserve job last August. Now, as he makes the rounds on the lecture circuit and serves on a blue-ribbon commission investigating civil service issues, he remains as elusive as ever -- a headhunter's dream candidate.

Benjamin W. Heineman Jr.

After 17 years inside the Beltway, Benjamin W. Heineman Jr. made a surprise career move last spring when he accepted the job of senior vice president, general counsel and secretary of General Electric Co. Though friends and associates thought Heineman's next stop after being managing partner of Sidley & Austin's Washington office might be a role in government, Heineman has said the GE job will give him a fresh perspective and allow him to look for answers to policy problems from within a highly competitive company.