Ready for a lesson in power? An exclusive Scotland on Sunday panel has identified the top 100 men and women who influence the way we live, be it through art or science, business or finance.
You’ll be surprised at who holds the keys
1 Fred Goodwin (NO CHANGE)
CHIEF EXECUTIVE, ROYAL BANK OF SCOTLAND
"Hardly any point in discussing it." Our panel were unanimous that Fred Goodwin (above) should remain top of the Power 100 list. Under the iron rule of the former Paisley Grammar schoolboy, the Royal Bank of Scotland has become the world’s fifth largest bank, and is valued at more than 50bn on the London Stock Exchange.
Goodwin’s skill is in identifying undervalued assets, then unemotionally stripping the flab. Since arriving at RBS in 1998, he has initiated 23 acquisitions, the most obvious being the 21bn hostile takeover of NatWest, a company three times the size of the Royal Bank. Afterwards, he divested the merged group of 18,000 jobs - not for nothing does he go by the nickname Fred the Shed. He is thought to be looking towards the US for acquisitions this year.
Goodwin’s style and success have, predictably, attracted criticism. Consumer groups complained of profiteering recently when a 29% rise in profits to 6.2bn was announced, and the level of the CEO’s reward package (up 36% to 3.45m) drew comment. The discovery that RBS executives used an 18m private jet also provoked wry smiles, given Goodwin’s reputation for cost-cutting. RBS’s new 78-acre HQ at Gogarburn, west of Edinburgh, is due for completion in 2006; the road bridge linking it to the A9 has drawn humorous comparison with Saddam Hussein’s triumphal arch on the road to Baghdad.
None of this tittle-tattle, however, can deny the role Goodwin has played in keeping Scotland at the forefront of the financial services industry. That alone warrants his pole position.
2 Tom Hunter (Up from 5)
"Some people wait until they die to hand on their legacy, but the whole point of dying a wealthy man must be very wrong." So said the Scots philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, and it seems to be a sentiment shared by Tom Hunter. The retail entrepreneur and property speculator moves up the list by disposing of a large chunk of his 500m fortune. In the past 12 months, he has donated more than 105m to good causes. Of this, 100m has been earmarked to provide lessons in entrepreneurship to every Scottish schoolchild. Hunter’s preoccupation with charity and self-reliance can be traced back to his youth. Growing up in the mining village of New Cumnock, he saw many friends lose jobs when the pits closed. Hunter, by contrast, had struck out on his own, selling trainers from a van. He eventually sold his Sports Division chain for 290m. The entrepreneur still has ambitions to reshape Britain’s retail industry, recently upping his stake in House of Fraser and triggering speculation of an imminent takeover bid. He also bought the Birthdays greetings card chain and Office shoe shops, and his West Coast Capital remains a formidable investment vehicle. He has one final advantage over his rivals - relative youth. At 42, he may have decades of creating and giving away money ahead of him.
3 JK Rowling (Up from 4)
There’s no sign of any new book, but JK Rowling’s readership and fortune ensure she remains a massive global influence. In 2003 she earned 100m to become the highest-paid author ever; she is worth 435m and has been named in Time magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world. Last year, she became the only British woman ever to be ranked a dollar millionaire in the Forbes rich list. Rowling has sold 250m copies of her five books and the much-awaited June release of the third Harry Potter film, The Prisoner of Azkaban, should kill off any fears of Harry Potter fatigue. The 38-year-old is reported to have contributed the bulk of a 200,000 community buyout of the Glen Goulandie mountain near her Perthshire retreat and has helped raise awareness of multiple sclerosis, which killed her mother.
4 Jeane Freeman (Up from 11)
Our panel pegged her as a rising star in 2003, and Freeman’s power shows no sign of abating. She fills the void left by Jack McConnell’s former right-hand man Mike Donnelly, who quit after last May’s elections. Freeman and the First Minister go way back to their time in student politics, although their easy working relationship was established when she was at the education department during his time as education minister. There they worked together to hammer out a crucial teacher pay deal. Now, as a senior special adviser, the 48-year-old’s formal duties include sitting in cabinet and advising on the spending review and on health. She is also the main link with the UK government. Just as importantly, she has Jack’s ear. Freeman was formerly director of Apex Scotland, a charity that extends employment opportunities to offenders and young people at risk, during which time she also provided support to the executive’s advisory group on crime. Now she has responsibility for justice, a key portfolio of the McConnell administration.
5 James Crosby (Down from 3)
CHIEF EXECUTIVE, HBOS
Such has been the resentment from former Bank of Scotland customers and staff over the handling of the merger with the Halifax that James Crosby was forced into an apology in January: "We admit that along the way we have had problems which have made life difficult for colleagues and disrupted our service to customers." The fate of the old BoS continues to dog HBOS north of the border. One of our panel suggested that Crosby should be in the top ten for "entirely negative reasons" and "destroying a national asset". The pile-’em-high, sell-’em-cheap approach that had made HBOS the bank with the fastest-growing revenues in Britain had, it was argued, led to poorer customer service. Such perceptions were not helped when the group was forced to deny reports last autumn that the refurbishment of its offices on the Mound was the first step in moving its headquarters away from Scotland. HBOS responded with claims that the group had created 3,000 Scottish jobs since the merger and was now the largest employer in the nation’s financial sector. For Crosby, all this will be secondary to the balance sheet. Last year HBOS made profits of 3.86bn, up 29% from 2002. It also came top of Business Week magazine’s best-performing European companies list. The fact that it beat the Royal Bank into third place must have afforded Crosby a certain satisfaction, too.
6 John Elvidge (Up from 7)
When Muir Russell announced he was stepping down as Permanent Secretary, the First Minister hinted he would like to see someone from the private sector assume the role. What he got instead was John Elvidge, a career civil servant who first joined the Scottish Office in 1973 and has worked his way through most departments since. Elvidge has not been slow to put his mark on the Executive. Spurred on by the early stages of Lord Fraser’s inquiry into the parliament building, which raised criticisms of the way the civil service worked, the Oxford-educated 53-year-old announced a full-scale restructuring at St Andrew’s House. A performance and innovation unit was created to measure the civil servants’ effectiveness. Significantly, an outsider was brought in to run it - Nick Price, an expert in privatisation. The Permanent Secretary is said to have a close working relationship with the First Minister. The only question mark over Elvidge’s influence is whether, in concentrating on internal reform, he has allowed others to make the running on influencing policy.
7 Martin O’Neill (Up from 10)
Despite Celtic going out of the UEFA Cup in the quarter-finals, O’Neill continues to progress up our list, a testament not just to the way he has reversed the fortunes of Celtic since he arrived, but to how he has invigorated the game in an otherwise grim period. The team’s defeat in the UEFA Cup final in 2003 could have stopped his momentum, as could the loss of the league to Rangers. Instead, the 52-year-old calmly regrouped his troops and ran away with the title this year. His achievement is all the more remarkable considering how little money he has been given to spend on players. With talisman Henrik Larsson leaving at the end of the season and several key players nearing the ends of their contracts, however, continuing progress may depend on how much cash O’Neill gets to spend this summer. That is, of course, if he is still there: his success has inevitably seen him linked with big clubs in England and Europe.
8 Sir Peter Burt (Up from 62)
Sir Peter Burt, 59, is the Power List’s boomerang man. The former chief executive of Bank of Scotland plummeted from 6 to 62 last year, when the bank was effectively taken over by Halifax. Leaving the top job for James Crosby (see 5), Burt departed to spend more time on the golf course at Muirfield. Now, however, his appointment in February as chairman of the new ITV plc puts him back in the top ten. The new media giant, formed from the merger of Carlton and Granada, has more than 50% of Britain’s television advertising.
9 Sir Brian Stewart (Up from 41)
CHAIRMAN, STANDARD LIFE
To the surprise of some, Sir Brian chooses to juggle two high-profile chairmanships, at Standard Life and at brewers Scottish & Newcastle. This decision has certainly kept him busy. Plans to close S&N’s Fountain Brewery site - with 200 job losses - compounded with controversial job cuts at Standard Life have made the past year a difficult one. Despite this, the implications of his plans mean he has a high position on our list this year - Standard Life has been making headlines with its wholesale strategy shift. After he previously pledged to maintain the insurer’s mutual status, Sir Brian’s plan to float the troubled organisation in two years’ time has been seen as one of the biggest U-turns in corporate history. The question on everyone’s lips is will he be able to prevent a takeover? Whether he succeeds or fails in his objective, there’s little doubt it will have a huge impact on Scotland’s financial sector.
10 Sir John Ward (NEW)
CHAIRMAN, SCOTTISH ENTERPRISE
Before Ward’s appointment in February, Scottish Enterprise had been through a turbulent period, having been savaged by the auditor general, who found it had missed a quarter of its targets. It is easy to see why the First Minister turned to Ward in an hour of need. The 64-year-old former chairman of CBI Scotland has a reputation as a troubleshooter in both public and private sectors, and was brought in to head the Scottish Qualifications Authority after the exams fiasco of 2000. Regarded as a visionary and a great advocate of enterprise education, Ward has spent much of his working life with IBM, where he was the Scottish director until 1996. He was knighted in 2003 for services to public life in Scotland.