Chief executive, UK
Euler Hermes

The prickly issue of credit insurance was rarely out of the news this year. Credit insurers, rightly or wrongly, were widely blamed for the downfall of retail giants such as Woolworths, as well as scores of suppliers that went under as a result.

The Government stepped in, rather underwhelmingly, creating a limited top-up scheme.

But Fabrice Desnos, the UK chief executive of the world’s largest credit insurer Euler Hermes and the de facto spokesman for the credit insurance industry, says banks should shoulder some responsibility for businesses getting into difficulty. He has said that some businesses “like to create a smokescreen by blaming somebody else”.

Credit insurers aren’t popular figures but there is no denying the influence of Desnos, who has worked at Euler for 13 years. But with so many suppliers continuing to trade without it some argue that credit insurers’ power is waning. Either way, most retailers will be crossing their fingers that Desnos won’t be making the list next year.