Arthur RyanFounder and managing director Primark
The very private Ryan has steered value fashion giant Primark successfully through the economic storm this year.
Although the retailer has lined up a likely successor in New Look hire Paul Marchant, the chain-smoking septuagenarian has shown little sign of hanging up his hat since Marchant’s arrival.
Ryan has led the Associated British Foods-owned retailer to break the £1bn sales barrier in the first half to February, with a like-for-like sales hike of 5 per cent.
The high volume, low prices retailer has also remained one of the most talked about retailers over the past year, whether due to its ability to outperform its peers or because of a string of Panorama exposés about its ethical practices. However, as yet, the negative publicity appears not to have dented its favour with the bargain-hungry public.
Ryan, who former colleagues say is on the pulse of fashion despite his under-the-radar behaviour, remains a force to be reckoned with.