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54. Neil Clifford, chief executive, Kurt Geiger

Neil Clifford

Position last year: 47

Kurt Geiger chief executive Neil Clifford has kept his profile high this year as speculation over who will buy the footwear business continues.

He and the company’s backers at Sycamore Partners, an American private equity firm, hired bankers at Goldman Sachs earlier this year to explore a sale of part or all of the business. One of Europe’s largest investment firms, Cinven, is reportedly leading the race to buy Kurt Geiger in a deal worth about £250m. Cinven, whose previous investments have included Fitness First and Pizza Express, is said to have edged ahead of rival bidders including Lion Capital, a former owner of Jimmy Choo. Kurt Geiger has more than 70 stores in the UK and overseas and over 170 concessions in department stores around the world.

This year Clifford also led the launch into the kids’ footwear market for the first time with a multi- and own-brand offering. The firm signed up more than 20 new brands and launched the new venture during the summer in Harrods and Selfridges, where it already operates the adult footwear departments.

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