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02 Lord Wolfson

Chief executive, Next

With a solid first-half performance, growing political influence on the retail industry and an uncanny ability to woo analysts, Lord Wolfson is the man we all bowed to in 2011. While widespread discounting has hit some high street retailers, Wolfson’s careful cost management and addition of profitable new space has allowed Next – the industry’s bellwether – to stay ahead, reporting a pre-tax profit rise of 8.5% to £228m on sales of £1.57bn, up 3.6%. Wolfson, who took his seat in the House of Lords as a Tory peer last year, has also been flexing his political muscles, putting his name to a letter in The Times calling on the government to press ahead with controversial plans to overhaul the way developers apply for consent to build new property, in a bid to encourage investment and growth by removing red tape.

Last year’s position 7

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