The world may still be reeling from the coronavirus pandemic but, for its 2021 Person of the Year, Time chose someone whose work is dedicated to getting us off of this planet.
The magazine and media brand selected Elon Musk, the richest man in the world and CEO of electric car marker Tesla and rocket company SpaceX as its Person of the Year.
In his editor’s letter explaining the decision, Time editor-in-chief and CEOEdward Felsenthal writes, “Person of the Year is a marker of influence, and few individuals have had more influence than Musk on life on Earth, and potentially life off Earth too. In 2021, Musk emerged not just as the world’s richest person but also as perhaps the richest example of a massive shift in our society.”
2021 also marks an expansion of the Person of the Year brand for Time. In addition to its main honoree, Time also announced an Entertainer of the Year, and Athlete of the Year, and Heroes of the Year. The Entertainer of the Year was singer-songwriter Olivia Rodrigo, the Athlete of the Year was gymnast Simone Biles, and the Heroes of the Year were “Vaccine scientists and the miracle of mRNA.”
The announcements were made during a video presentation on YouTube Monday morning. The media outlet moved its big reveal to the video platform after previously unveiling it on network TV.
The new categories come as Time seeks to expand its media presence since being acquired in 2018 by Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff and his wife, Lynne Benioff. In 2019, Time also expanded its Time 100 list into a full-scale event.
Time has also made a deeper push into video and entertainment content, launching Time Studios, which in turn is making a move into kids and family fare.