Chief executive of health and beauty
Boots UK

Alex Gourlay has been the prime mover since the departure of Richard Baker and Scott Wheway at Boots, although the Scotsman’s own relationship with his employer stretches back to working as a Saturday boy in 1976.

He took over as managing director of Boots UK in 2007 - becoming the first pharmacist to sit on the retailer’s board for 20 years - and added the role of chief executive of the health and beauty division in January of this year.

Despite private equity owner KKR recently having to write down its own asset values, the retailer is in rude health. Not only has Gourlay helped fight off competition from the major grocers, but profits for Boots rose 3.2 per cent in the year to March 31.

Gourlay has also presided over a rapid rebadging of the retailer’s pharmacies and has helped oversee the roll-out of private consultation facilities in 80 per cent of its pharmacies.