Position last year: 69
The flamboyant boss of Liberty has increasingly become the public face of the London department store, owing to his new book this year entitled From Rehab to the Front Row and his previous appearance on Channel 4’s Liberty of London TV programme in 2013.
But all this showmanship is backed up by results. For the year to December 31, 2014, Liberty’s profits rose to £21.5m from £18m the year before and sales climbed to £132m from £123m. This year the New Yorker aimed for sales close to £155m, but we are yet to see if this target has been hit. In August he lost his head of fashion Stephen Ayres after seven years before promoting head of collaborations Scott Tepper to fashion buying director, absorbing his duties. Attention has now turned to 2016, with a new international website set to go live in February, expected to underpin a flotation in 2018. But one thing is clear, Burstell’s passion for the store’s heritage and retail more generally will continue to shine through the iconic British retailer.