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Britain’s 50 most influential gentlemen


An astronaut. A Sheikh. A boxer. A chef. A mayor. A sailor. An architect...

Britain’s 50 most influential gentlemen
The Gentleman

Sadiq Khan

Elected the Mayor of London in 2016, Sadiq Khan beat the Conservative candidate Zac Goldsmith to become the third Mayor of London, and the first Muslim to hold the office. Replacing Boris Johnson, Sadiq had big shoes to fill, but after receiving nearly 300,000 more votes than his predecessor he has proven himself to be up to the challenge.

Although he has only been in office for eight months, he has already dealt with Brexit, the arrival of the night tube, and come out of a bitter Labour leadership battle (in which he campaigned against the winner) more popular than ever.

Britain’s 50 most influential gentlemen

With his party predicted to suffer major national loses in the next election, he is one of the leading lights of the left. Sadiq has many major battles left to fight, from protecting London’s status as the financial capital in a post-Brexit world to completing unpopular projects like the Garden Bridge.

But perhaps Sadiq’s greatest challenge will be delivering on his pledge to wrestle greater mayoral powers away from a resurgent Conservative central government, who look set to grow in popularity. Taking over in one of the capital’s most challenging periods promises to make his reign one of the most important in the history of the office.

Sir Jonathan Ive

As Chief Design Officer for the tech giant, Jony Ive is the gentleman responsible for the look, feel and user interface of each and every Apple product that goes into production. Ive has been with the brand for a decade, and has led his team through Apple’s most instrumental time. In 2013 he was knighted for services to design and enterprise – long may his success continue.

Warren Gatland OBE

The former New Zealand rugby player and current coach of Wales is due for his busiest year yet. Proud Kiwi Gatland now has the task of leading the Lions on their tour of New Zealand next year. If anyone can outwit the All Blacks on their own soil, it’s Gatland; in 2013 in Australia, he led the Lions to a 2-1 series victory.

Britain’s 50 most influential gentlemen

Thomas Heatherwick

One of Britain’s most pioneering designers, 46-year-old Thomas Heatherwick has an unrivalled skill for creating new British icons. He helped redesign the Routemaster bus, designed the 2012 Olympic Cauldron, and is now grappling with the funding issues surrounding the ‘Garden Bridge’ – a highly anticipated structure set to span the Thames.

Hugh Grosvenor

When his father, Gerald Grosvenor, sadly passed away in August, 25-year-old Hugh Grosvenor became the 7th Duke of Westminster – and made headlines around the world. Worth an estimated $13 billion, the British aristocrat is now the world’s wealthiest youngest person aged under 30.

Britain’s 50 most influential gentlemen

Yet despite inheriting the family’s massive global-realty business, he has showed his philanthropic side by funding long-term projects in Stockholm, Washington DC and the Suzhou riverbank in China, The Duke also works for Bio-bean, a company that has researched and tested the process of recycling waste coffee grounds into advanced biofuels, biomass pellets and biodiesel. Using the waste of hundreds of coffee shops, restaurants and office blocks, the business aims to replace conventional fuels and chemicals with their own organically produced, recycled fare.

Meanwhile, The Westminster Foundation has long been the charitable arm of the Grosvenor Estate, awarding over £40 million in grants. And, with Hugh Grosvenor now in charge, the list of 1,500 charitable organisations already supported looks set to grow further.

Frank Stephenson

Stephenson has been director of design for brands such as Ford, Mini, Maserati, Ferrari, Fiat, Alfa Romeo and for the past eight years, McLaren Automotive. Influential? Just a bit.

Christopher Bailey

Over the last 15 years, Bailey has taken Burberry from strength to strength as CEO. 2017 he’ll be named President of the brand, a position that will only elevate his status further.

Dylan Hartley

The most highly-capped hooker in English rugby history, the 30-yearold captained the team who achieved the country’s first ever away Series win against Australia this June.

Bill Sweeney

As CEO of the British Olympic Association, Sweeney has used his experience with brands from Puma to Adidas to raise our Olympic profile. After Rio, you’d have to say he’s doing a grand job.

Jon Lansman

Lansman founded Momentum, the Labour pressure group that seeks to bring young left-wingers into the party fold. Jeremy Corbyn has him to thank for his recent retention of the party leadership .

Slavoj Žizek

The Slovenian cultural critic has offered opinions this year on everyone from Trump to the Kardashians, his quirky style and wry assimilation of both high and low culture always in evidence.

Sir Christopher Geidt

Since 2007, Sir Christopher Geidt has been the Private Secretary to Queen Elizabeth II. Together with the Cabinet Secretary and Prime Minister’s principal private secretary, Geidt forms one apex of the ‘golden triangle’ of senior British officials. This year, he became the new Chairman of the King’s College London Council.

Sir Martin Sorell

Indisputably one of the most universally respected names in the world of advertising. Sir Martin Sorrell’s WPP is one of the ‘Big Four’ in the global advertising industry. WPP is valued at £5 billion on the UK stock market, with billings estimated to be at £37 billion and revenues of £7.5 billion.

Iqbal Wahhab OBE

The Bangladeshi-born founder of The Cinnamon Club and Roast restaurant has got seriously community-minded this year, chairing the Bounce Back project for ex-offenders, bringing to light the plight and poverty of many British Muslims, and urging government to view food as a creative industry.

Sir Ben Ainslie

Despite not being at Rio 2016, this could still be a momentous year for the decorated sailor. This November, the sailor is set to take part in the final leg of the America’s Cup – an event which, if won, will mark Britain’s first victory in 165 years.

Britain’s 50 most influential gentlemen

Anthony Joshua MBE

Having held the IBF heavyweight title since 2016, Watford-born Joshua is at the peak of his powers. Since winning Gold at the 2012 Olympics for Great Britain, Joshua has climbed further and further up the ranks every year. Still boasting a 100% knockout ratio, Joshua is now rated the sixth best boxer in the world.

Britain’s 50 most influential gentlemen

Matthew Freud

Matthew is the great grandson of Sigmund Freud, and as the founder and head of communications of Freuds PR agency he has become the most influential PR professional in the UK. His work with some of the biggest brands has made him the all-important link in the UK between brands and media.

Demis Hassabis

This former child chess prodigy’s company DeepMind Technologies is dedicated to realising true artificial intelligence, and this year, Hassabis’ program AlphaGo – a computer built to play the Chinese board game ‘Go’ – became the first to beat a professional human player.

Richard Scudamore

Premier League chairman Scudamore is the man behind the Premier League’s $8.3 billion global and national three-year TV deal (which began earlier this summer) and has been instrumental during the rebrand of the organisation.

Britain’s 50 most influential gentlemen

Christopher Nolan

Christopher Nolan’s writing and directing has stretched from low-budget indies to some of the biggest blockbusters of the century, making him one of the highest grossing directors in history. Nolan is the most indemand director in the world, and the sociological and philosophical roots of his movies makes him one of the most unique, too.

Edward Lane Fox

A former Army officer, Lane Fox is the first and only man to hold the title of Private Secretary to Prince Harry. But it’s no nominal title – this year alone, Lane Fox has helped the throne’s fifth in line arrange royal visits to Nepal and the Battle of Somme centenary as well as promoting the Invictus Games – no mean feat.

Tinie Tempah

Gentleman’s Journal cover star Patrick Chukwuemeka Okogwu, aka Tinie Tempah, has been making waves in music for a decade, and he may now change the face of the British music industry through Disturbing London Records, a label, management company and fashion brand – and 2017 looks set to be his biggest year yet.

Britain’s 50 most influential gentlemen

Richard Caring

Famous for once supplying over 70% of the clothing sold on the British high street, in recent years Caring has become a major player in the world of restaurants and private members’ bars. With major holdings in Soho House, Annabel’s, and high street restaurants such as Cote and Carluccio’s, Caring has rapidly built up a hospitality empire. His ruthless approach has, however, led to the nickname ‘the Lex Luthor of Mayfair’.

Nick Jones

The members’ club owner is expanding his Soho brand across the globe. San Paolo and Rio de Janeiro are being eyed as locations for the first South American Soho House and, with new venues opening in Barcelona, Mumbai and Amsterdam, the entrepreneur’s influence is soon set to cover more than the capital.

Tony Hall CBE

The 16th Director-General of the BBC has been been at the helm during one of the most difficult periods in the company’s history. This year, he made essential leadership changes to reflect changes happening in the UK economy, and he’ll have more big decisions to make in 2017.

Philip John May

Style icon; Prime Minister’s husband; investment manager. Philip May wears many hats, but his role as confidant and supporter of our second ever female PM is now his best known. He’s successful in his own right, but Britain’s First Husband has taken to his new role with the same panache as Samantha Cameron.

David & Simon Reuben

The Reuben brothers have been expanding their real estate empire for decades now, and this year, they were named Britain’s wealthiest people by The Sunday Times, after being valued as having a combined fortune of £13.1bn. With an extensive portfolio investments in real estate, private equity and venture capital, that figure is surely rising.

Nick Timothy

As Theresa May’s most trusted advisor, Nick Timothy is perhaps the most important behind-the-scenes man in British politics, flipping on its head the age-old saying that ‘behind every great man there is a great woman’.

Nick Timothy is Joint Chief of Staff in Downing St, and before that was a special advisor to the Theresa May before she was elected. In that time he became well known as the man who was shaping helping to shape the future PM’s philosophy in government.

Britain’s 50 most influential gentlemen

He helped May to become one of the longest serving Home Secretaries in recent years. A sign of the power he wields, it has been claimed that a blog post he wrote nine months before the decision accounted for the delay to the Hinkley Point Nuclear power plant plans.

He was shunned from the inner fold after a furious email row with David Cameron’s clique, but after being made the Joint Downing Street Chief of Staff when May took office, he returned to the right hand side of the most powerful person in Britain. We also note with approval that he sports one of Westminster’s best beards

Britain’s 50 most influential gentlemen

Sheikh Mansour

Mansour is the deputy prime minister of the United Arab Emirates, but better known on these shores as the owner of Manchester City F.C. He may not spend the majority of his time here, but his influence with companies from Sky News to FIFA make him one of the most prominent figures in 21st century Britain.

Jamal Edwards MBE

At 26, Jamal Edwards already has a decade of business experience – and a wealth of new ideas. After founding online urban channel SB.TV when he was 15, Edwards’ brainchild has gone on to become one of the most innovative digital lifestyle platforms.

Matthew Barzun

The man who helped President Obama get elected is now serving as US Ambassador to the United Kingdom, where he’s been posted since 2013. Barzun has used his position to sit on the board of countless non-profit, public policy charities and remains one of the President’s most trusted advisors.

Andrew Strauss

As Director of England Cricket, Andrew Strauss is shaping the sport off the field as well as he did on it. From shaking up the way English teams are picked to blocking Yorkshire’s Jonny Bairstow from playing county cricket before October’s Bangladesh tour, Strauss still makes plenty of bold strokes.

Mark Carney

The Bank of England Governor was left facing a crisis after the Brexit vote. But he has nurtured the first signs of recovery from the initial fall-out. We’re not out of the woods yet, but we’d bank on Carney to deliver.

Dominic Cummings

In 2016, few men can claim to have been as influential in British politics as Dominic Cummings. As campaign director for the Vote Leave bid, he was responsible for Britain’s historic decision to leave the European Union.

When the campaign won with 52% of the vote, Cummings was singled out as having been instrumental and the ‘mastermind’ behind the ultimately successful strategy. He was responsible for the changing the Brexiteers’ campaign from the weak ‘Vote Leave, Get Change’ to ‘Vote Leave, Take Control’. Likewise, he is said to have been responsible for the ‘£350 million a week’ figure, for the panics about Turkey joining the EU, and even for attracting Boris Johnson to the campaign.

Britain’s 50 most influential gentlemen

However, his influence has often been tempered by a characteristic ruthlessness. In fact, he split with Ian Duncan Smith while he was party leader after referring to him as ‘incompetent’. He went on to work with another notoriously slippery politician, Michael Gove, despite Andy Coulson initially blocking the appointment, not least of all because David Cameron personally described him as a ‘career psychopath’. But you’d rather have him on your side in any battle, right?

Sir Jack Petchey

Now in his tenth decade, Sir Jack Petchey remains one of the most influential and philanthropic men in the capital. Born into a poor working class family in the East End in 1925, Petchey has amassed a fortune through investment over the years, and now uses this money to fund youth projects – giving £100 million+ to the cause.

Christian Horner

The Team Principal of the Red Bull Racing Formula One team, Christian Horner has had some tough calls to make this season. But, by closely managing drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Max Verstappen, Horner has shaken podium perennials Mercedes and brought about winning performances

Nicholas Coleridge

As a descendent of the romantic poet Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Nick Coleridge has continued to carry the torch for his family name. As the president of Condé Nast International, Nick has been one of Britain’s leading figures in publishing and fashion.

Jamie Bartlett

An author, journalist, and the director of a think-tank, Jamie Bartlett is one of the most important voices in the tech industry today. His book on the Dark Web has made him a household name when it comes to the clashes between technology and politics. His work at Demos’ Centre for the Analysis of Social Media has made him one of the few people who really understands the true influence of the internet on the modern era.

John Grant

The agent to the stars, John Grant is one of the named directors at the world-renowned Conway Van Gelder Grant agency. His agency has been responsible for exporting the cream of British acting into Hollywood, including Benedict Cumberbatch.

Chris Corbin & Jeremy King

Partners in business for over 35 years, Corbin and King have a portfolio of some of the most fashionable restaurants London has to offer. Including the Wolseley, the Delaunay, Brasserie Zédel, and Fischer’s. The partners are literally defining the taste of the capital’s diners.

Britain’s 50 most influential gentlemen

Sir Andy Murray

Not content with becoming the the first British male in 77 years to win Wimbledon, Murray won the title for the second time this summer, and his Gold medal in Rio this year made him the first male to successfully defend an Olympic singles title.

James Harding

He was the youngest ever editor of The Times, but today Harding is the director of BBC News. Curating the news agenda for a worldwide audience of over 250 million, and with plans to double the number of viewers before 2022, Harding is one of the most important journalists on the planet.

Sir Nicholas Serota

Despite recently stepping down from his position as the director of the Tate, Sir Nicholas Serota is still one of the most influential men in the world of art. His tenure as the head of London’s biggest art institution has seen the creation of the Tate Modern, and he has become one of the highest paid public sector workers. Next year he will become the new director of Arts Council England.

Martin Clarke

With 11.34m daily visitors the MailOnline is a true behemoth of internet news, and as the editor Martin Clarke is a journalist with a genuinely vast readership. Under Clarke, MailOnline creates over 750 articles per day, and has revolutionised sponsored articles with a guarantee of 450,000 page views at a cost of £65,000 per article.

Peter Dubens

Famously media shy, Dubens has let his entrepreneurship do the talking. He has invested in numerous companies including KX Gym and Tom’s Kitchen restaurants, but his day-to-day job is as an investor in companies through his hedge fund, Oakley capital, which manages over £750 million in assets.

Tim Knox

Before becoming the director of the think tank the Centre for Policy Studies, Knox was responsible for publishing papers by every Conservative leader since Mrs Thatcher. Today, as the director of the CPS, he is responsible for promoting free market economic policies and has a huge sway over Conservative policy wonks.

Roland Rudd

Roland might have wanted to be PM as a child, but he has had to settle for being the brother of the current Home Secretary, Amber Rudd. As if that influence wasn’t enough, he founded Finsbury public relations, one of the largest communications agencies on the planet, and was the treasurer for the unsuccessful, ‘Stronger In’ Remain campaign.

Geordie Greig

With a reputation as one of the most resourceful and shrewd, yet courteous, journalists around, The Mail on Sunday’s editor Geordie Greig has been touted as ‘Britain’s best-connected man’ for over a decade. Following stints at The Daily Mail, Evening Standard and The Independent, Greig took up his current mantle in 2012 – and this year spearheaded the newspaper’s decision to go pro-Remain.

Imran Amed

Since starting his career as a blogger on his sofa in 2007, Amed has become one of the most influential voices in the world of fashion thanks to his website The Business of Fashion. Now his interviews with some of the most recognisable names in the fashion industry are soaring in popularity.

Major Tim Peake

In a remarkable feat of telecommuting, Astronaut Tim Peake managed to influence more key events in 2016 than many people whose feet were actually on the planet. After taking to the stars last December, Peake spent 185 days aboard the International Space Station conducting more than 250 experiments – including 30 on his own body.

Britain’s 50 most influential gentlemen

Over 1.2 million followers stayed glued to the astronaut’s Twitter feed, and watched him perform the first ever British space walk on 15th January. In April, Peake ran the 2016 London Marathon from a treadmill, and in June, he delivered a message directly to the Queen herself. Meanwhile, he also cropped up everywhere from children’s television to the BRIT Awards, during which he remotely presented Adele with her Global Success Award.

Since returning to Earth, Peake has travelled around the world to educate people about space. With 3,000 orbits of the planet to his name, Peake’s enthusiasm and eagerness have endeared him to the whole nation. In fact, to demonstrate how good-humoured the spaceman is, while others chose Russian folk songs to playlist their launch, Peake chose Queen’s ‘Don’t Stop Me Now’ – a fitting choice for Britain’s supersonic man as he burned through the sky.

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