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Business & Industry

CEO, Whitbread
Alison Brittain took over as CEO at FTSE 100 leisure and hospitality company Whitbread at the beginning of this year. The company, which celebrates its 275th anniversary in 2016, is comprised of divisions that include Premier Inn, the largest hotel brand in the UK, and Costa Coffee, the world's second-largest coffee shop chain. A newcomer to the hospitality industry, Brittain was one of the most powerful women in the city prior to joining Whitbread, as head of retail banking at Lloyds Banking Group, where she was regarded as a likely successor to CEO Antonio Horta-Osório. Before Lloyds, Brittain worked at Santander and Barclays, which she joined as a graduate trainee. She was born in Derbyshire and studied at Stirling University, obtaining an MBA from the Judge Institute at Cambridge.
Chief Executive, Crown Estate
As chief executive of the Crown Estate, Alison Nimmo heads up a property portfolio worth an estimated £10 billion, overseeing the collection of lands and holdings belonging to The Queen. Nimmo is the first woman to hold the position, having previously worked as director of design and regeneration for the 2012 Olympic Delivery Authority, with responsibility for the overall design and delivery of many of the venues for the London games. Born in Edinburgh and educated at the University of Manchester, she was project director for Manchester Millennium, the rebuilding of the town's centre following its devastation after the 1996 IRA bombings. In 2014 Nimmo was awarded the prestigious Royal Town Planning Institute Gold Medal for services to planning throughout her career.
CEO, BHP Billiton
Scot Andrew Mackenzie heads up the world's most valuable mining company, BHP Billiton. The company produces iron ore, coal, copper, uranium and petroleum, operating from locations around the world, including the Americas and Australia. Mackenzie had over 30 years' experience in petroleum and industrial minerals before joining the company, having worked at BP for 22 years, and then at BHP's closest rival Rio Tinto. He joined as chief executive of BHP's Non-Ferrous Division, and took up his current appointment in 2013, succeeding Marius Kloppers. Mackenzie first became interested in the earth and its geology exploring the coalfields near his hometown in north-east Glasgow, and he went on to study at St Andrews and for a PhD at Bristol. He has worked to simplify BHP's portfolio to focus on its core assets, and is admired for his 'modest demeanour' combined with a fierce intellect.
Director General, Confederation of British Industry
In 2015 Carolyn Fairbairn became the first woman to lead the CBI, the organisation that works to promote the interests of around 190,000 businesses in the UK. The appointment reflects the breadth of her experience in roles spanning consultancy, politics, media and finance: having begun her career at World Bank, she went on to work at the Economist, as a partner at McKinsey, under John Major at Downing Street, and at the BBC and ITV, as well as on the boards of Lloyds Banking Group, Capita and the Financial Services Authority. She was also responsible, in 2002, for creating and launching the highly successful new television service Freeview, a joint venture between the BBC, Sky and Arqiva. Pro-EU, Fairbairn also believes more should be done to stimulate growth outside of London. She obtained a double first from Cambridge, an MA from the University of Pennsylvania, and an MBA from INSEAD.
Chief Executive, UKTI
Catherine Raines became the new head of UK Trade and Investment in September 2015 and now leads the body that works to promote UK-based businesses on an international plain. Raines is well-versed in the world of business: she worked for AstraZeneca for over 20 years and as UKTI director-general in China, where she boosted outcomes tenfold, prior to becoming chief executive. UKTI recently announced a new initiative with Barclays to boost UK trade by supporting 15,000 new exporters over the next four years.
CEO, Easyjet
Carolyn McCall has been credited with transforming the performance of budget airline EasyJet in her role as CEO since 2010, improving punctuality and customer service and widening its appeal to frequent flyers and business travellers. Under her leadership, EasyJet's share price has increased four-fold, with the company entering the FTSE 100 for the first time in 2013, despite intense market competition and uncertainty caused by terrorist attacks in recent times. After graduating, McCall initially trained as a teacher before moving into advertising and marketing and eventually becoming chief executive of Guardian Media Group. McCall was appointed a UK business ambassador in 2014 and a DBE in the 2016 New Year's Honours for services to the aviation industry.
CEO, BT Group plc
CEO at BT since 2013, Gavin Patterson has taken significant risks during his period of leadership, challenging Sky with big-money deals for live-broadcast football rights including a mammoth sum paid to poach the Champions League. The group has started to reap the rewards, however, with its broadband users now up to 7.8 million, while its mobile telecoms business is prospering after a £12.5 billion takeover of EE. Patterson joined BT in 2004 as managing director of its consumer division, and was responsible for launching BT Vision. Born in Altrincham, he studied chemical engineering at Cambridge and began his career at Procter and Gamble before moving to Telewest (now Virgin Media). Patterson now awaits an all-important Ofcom decision on whether BT subsidiary Openreach should become a separate company.
CEO, Heathrow Airport
Appointed CEO in 2014, John Holland-Kaye is now leading plans for a third runway at the UK's busiest airport in anticipation of a government decision on the controversial proposal. Holland-Kaye joined Heathrow in 2009 as commercial director and then became development director, responsible for delivering the investment necessary to open its new Terminal 2: The Queen's Terminal. Born in the Lake District, Holland-Kaye began his career at LEK Consulting in London and has worked around the world in senior strategy, sales and operations roles. He was divisional CEO at Taylor Wimpey plc prior to joining Heathrow.
Chair, Institute of Directors
American-British businesswoman and lawyer Barbara Judge became the first female chair of the Institute of Directors in 2015 and her appointment heralds a new era of change at the association, of whose 34,000 members only 5,000 are women. Lady Judge hopes not only to encourage greater female representation on company boards, and by extension at the institute, but also that the IOD will become a meeting place for entrepreneurs, 'perhaps even a mini Silicone Valley'. She began her career as a corporate lawyer and went on to become the youngest ever commissioner at the Securities and Exchange Commission in the early '80s. After working in banking in Hong Kong and New York, she moved to London and became an executive director at News International. She has also worked in private equity and nuclear energy, including as chair of the UK's Atomic Energy Authority. She cites her mother as a powerful influence, and that her greatest fear is 'not being able to work until I'm 87 like she did'.
Chairman and CEO, ArcelorMittal
Lakshmi Mittal is CEO and chairman of the biggest steelmaker in the world, ArcelorMittal, and one of the world's richest and most powerful men. Born into an underprivileged family in the Indian state of Rajasthan, Mittal graduated from St Xavier's College in Calcutta with a B.Com degree from the University of Calcutta. He founded Mittal Steel Company in 1976, opening his first factory in Indonesia. A merger with Luxembourg firm Arcelor in 2006 granted Mittal's company global dominance, and today he owns 38% of the company. Mittal is a member of a number of boards and trusts, and part of the Indian Prime Minister's Global Advisory Council. He is also an active philanthropist: his £15 million donation to Great Ormond Street Hospital was the largest private contribution it had ever received.
CEO, Royal Mail
As CEO of Royal Mail for the past five years, Moya Greene has overseen its total privatisation and is credited with overhauling its performance. Royal Mail reported a 6% rise in profits last year in the face of strong competition, particularly from Amazon's delivery network. The first female CEO of Royal Mail, Greene was previously president and CEO of Canada Post for five years, where she oversaw a trebling of profits. Born in Newfoundland, she had previously held public sector roles in Canada and worked for TD Securities, the Canadian Imperial Bank of Commerce and multinational aerospace and transportation company Bombardier. Greene was named Financial Times Person of the Year in 2014.
CEO, ARM Holdings
Simon Segars has worked for ARM, or Advanced RISC Machines, since 1991, a year after it was founded, and became CEO in 2013. A market-dominant designer and provider of microprocessors, software development tools and related technologies, billed as 'the architecture of the digital world', ARM supplies processors for most mobile phones, as well as handheld games, navigation devices, digital cameras and storage devices. As of 2014, 50 billion chips with ARM cores had been produced, and the company has seen staggering growth over the past three decades, as well as frequent acquisitions of other software and technology companies. Segars graduated from university in electronic engineering and then obtained a Master's in computer science. He joined ARM as its sixteenth employee when the company was still housed in a barn in Cambridgeshire; it now has offices and design centres around the world.
Sir Andrew Witty has worked for pharmaceutical company GSK for more than 30 years, joining as a management trainee in 1985 and moving through roles in the UK and Africa to become chief executive in 2008. Witty now faces the challenge of reviving GSK's fortunes following bribery scandals and declining profits. He has responded to charges relating to the illegal promotion of drugs at GSK by changing the way sales reps are compensated, based on service and technical knowledge rather than the number of prescriptions they secure, and is also tapping new healthcare demands from emerging economies such as Brazil and China. Witty has pledged to make medicines more affordable in poorer countries while pooling certain patents, making them freely available in the search for new drugs. He studied at the University of Nottingham and was named as its chancellor in 2013.
Executive Chairman, High Speed 2
Australian-born Sir David Higgins leads HS2 Ltd, the company responsible for developing and promoting the government's new high speed railway which will link London, Leeds, Manchester and Birmingham. He took up the role in 2014 having been chief executive of Network Rail since 2011, and is also a former chief executive of English Partnerships, the government regeneration agency, and of the London 2012 Summer Olympics Delivery Authority. After studying civil engineering at the University of Sydney, Sir David worked between the UK, South Africa and his home country. He joined property and construction company Lend Lease Group in 1985 and ten years later was appointed managing director and group chief executive, in charge of developments including the 2000 Olympic park in Sydney.
Businessman and Philanthropist
The UK's most famous entrepreneur Sir Richard Branson dropped out of school aged 16 and set up a mail-order record company, selling albums at below market price. The business quickly became a success, and he opened his first store on Oxford Street in the '70s before establishing his own label Virgin Records, whose early artists included Mike Oldfield and the Sex Pistols. That was just the beginning: Branson moved on to found Virgin Atlantic Airways in the '80s, Virgin Trains in the '90s, and Virgin Mobile in 1999. His space tourism company Virgin Galactic followed in 2004, and today Virgin Group Ltd comprises over 400 companies worldwide with its net worth estimated at $5 billion. Branson is also known for his sporting achievements, making record attempts by boat and by hot air balloon, and he was knighted in 1999 for his services to entrepreneurship. He is a signatory of the Giving Pledge, whereby wealthy individuals commit to donating at least half their wealth to philanthropy.
CEO, Gatwick
As boss of Britain's second busiest airport, Stewart Wingate is the man hoping to persuade the government to allow it to grow by building a second runway. Wingate, who was previously chief executive at Budapest Airport and managing director at Stansted, joined Gatwick as CEO in 2009. Since then he has improved security facilities and attracted new airlines to Gatwick, and under his watch the airport's passenger numbers have grown from 32 to 40 million annually. Wingate was born in Bishop Auckland and left school at 16 to work for Black & Decker. The company then offered him the chance to go to university, and he studied at Northumbria and obtained an MBA from Newcastle. He went on to progress rapidly at Black & Decker, working overseas and opening a plant in Frankfurt, before moving into the aviation industry.
Perhaps the UK's most high profile businesswoman, Karren Brady established her credentials as a 23-year-old working in advertising at LBC when she persuaded a client of hers to buy Birmingham City Football Club and let her run it. The club was in administration at the time, but within four years it floated on the stock exchange, and Brady became the youngest managing director of a UK plc. She subsequently negotiated its sale and became vice-chairman at West Ham United, where she has overseen its successful bid to take over the former Olympic stadium. As well as acting as a judge on The Apprentice, Brady is small business ambassador for the UK government and a vocal champion of women in business, saying, 'If you don't have a woman on your board you should write to your shareholders and explain why'.
Founder and CEO, Berkeley Group Holdings
Tony Pidgley founded Berkeley Homes in 1976 and it has since become one of the largest house builders in the UK, responsible for constructing one in every ten new homes in London. The group, which specialises in building properties in London and the South, comprises five autonomous companies. The last five years have seen its share price quadruple, and in 2015 it was listed in the FTSE 100 for the first time. Pidgley was born to a single mother and subsequently adopted from Barnardos at the age of four by travellers who made their living chopping down trees and selling the wood. He left home at 15, bought a lorry and established a haulage business, which he sold six years later: just the first chapter in his extraordinary success story.
Chief Executive, Vodafone Group
Italian Vittorio Colao was appointed CEO of Vodafone Group, the world's second-largest mobile phone company, in 2008. After graduating from Bocconi University and obtaining an MBA from Harvard, he began his career with Morgan Stanley and later moved to McKinsey in Milan where he worked on media, telecommunications and industrial goods. After joining Vodafone he was appointed regional chief executive officer for Southern Europe, Middle East and Africa in 2003. He left Vodafone to work for an Italian publishing company, but returned in 2006 and was appointed a board director and chief executive in Europe, becoming group CEO two years later. In 2015 Vodafone reported the first rise in first-half earnings in four years, an impressive feat in a volatile sector.
Managing Partner, UK & Ireland, McKinsey & Company
As managing partner of global management consultancy McKinsey's UK and Ireland office, Vivian Hunt heads up a workforce of over a thousand and previously led the firm's Pharmaceuticals and Medical Products Practice for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. During her 20 years with McKinsey, Hunt has worked with a wide range of leading healthcare clients, advising on strategy, development and organisation. She has also spoken out on the firm's Women Matter initiative, which promotes the economic and business case for gender equality in the workplace. Hunt obtained a degree from Harvard and, on graduating, worked for the Peace Corps in Senegal for two years as a midwife and primary care worker, returning to Harvard to complete an MBA before joining McKinsey.
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