Friday, June 22, 2007

Ten thoughts on - a parallel universe – the ten most powerful North West exiles in the world

Each year we produce a list in Insider magazine of the 100 most powerful people in the North West. This year I've thought about the native North Westerners who have risen to the very top. I think this is a credible ten. No celebs, so no room for ex-Beatles, footy players, or even the son of my mate who I had a splendid lunch with today.

1. Sir Terry Leahy, chief executive, Tesco
Sir Terry Leahy is the ultimate Scouser done good, rising through the ranks of Tesco to be its chief executive since 1997. Stands up for business, which you expect he’d have to when his company is frequently cited as “too powerful” because it makes £2 billion. Retains strong connections to the North West through Liverpool Vision, the university of Manchester and Everton.

2. Lewis Booth, chairman, Ford Europe
A board director of Ford and another natural born Scouser. He started his career in trucks, moving to Germany, South Africa, then America, Japan, where he ran Mazda, pitching up in America. Also the chairman of Volvo.

3. Kevin Roberts, chief executive, Saatchi and Saatchi Worldwide
The board of Toyota require Kevin Roberts to sign off all their global advertising campaigns. He’s also close to the board of Proctor and Gamble. An authority on global brands and the author of world reknowned Lovemarks, he is one of the international media jet set and a leading thinker on modern life. A citizen of the world, he lived in Canada from 1987-89 while he was president and chief executive of Pepsi Cola, Canada then moved to Auckland, New Zealand, which he still calls home. Has recently bought a house in Grasmere to add to his pad in New York and a villa near St Tropez. Who would have thought that Kevin Roberts would have achieved any of this when he was expelled from Lancaster Royal Grammar School in the 1960s?

4. Michael Platt, co-founder and chief executive, BlueCrest Capital Management
One of the top hedge fund guys in the world, he was listed in the Sunday Times Rich List in the same spot as the Queen. A Lancashire lad, he was a currency trader and formed BlueCrest which boasts assets under management of £5.7bn.

5. Keith Harris, chairman, Seymour Pierce
Stockport lad Keith Harris is currently selling off English Premiership football clubs one by one. Financial entrepreneur, football fan, loyal adviser, outspoken pundit, devoted Manchester United shareholder, he had a rough ride of his time as chairman of the Football League but remains a heavyweight in the City of London.

6. Sir Howard Davies, director, London School of Econmics
Manchester Grammar School old boy has an impressive track record which have included chairman of the Financial Services Authority, Deputy Governor of the Bank of England, Director General of the Confederation of British Industry, and Controller of the Audit Commission. He was also a non-executive director of engineering company GKN between 1989-1995.

7. Nigel Morris, founder, Capital One
Another Lancaster Royal Grammar School old boy, Nigel Morris co-founded Capital One before retiring in 2004. He lived in Wshington, but now has hoem in London where he is active in politics and business again. He lent the Labour Party £1,000,000, is a governor of the London Business School, and a director of The Economist Group and Quanta Capital Holdings.

8. Nicholas Hytner, director, National Theatre
One of the fabulous Hytner boys is now one of the top luvvies in the world. Son of former Granada grand dame Joyce Hytner, Nicholas Hytner went to Manchester Grammar School and worked his way through the arts world directing numerous plays and films, such as The Crucible, The Madness of King George, The Object of My Affection and Center Stage. Scored a world-wide hit with Miss Saigon won tons of arts awards.

9. Cherie Blair, barrister
The Liverpool born founder of Matrix Chambers, one of London’s top practice of barristers, may now be able to fulfil her ambition to become a High Court judge. Oh, and her husband used to be something big in politics.

10. Sir James Crosby, city titan
Another big shot at the top table of British industry, the Lancaster-born Crosby took the top spot at the merged HBOS in 2001 but also build a portfolio of board positions with ITV, Compass Group and the Financial Services Agency. Handed over to Andy Hornby in 2005, but has since taken on big jobs with Bridgepoint.

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