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Monday, 31 December, 2001, 11:46 GMT
Business receives honours
Tesco chief executive Terence Patrick Leahy
Tesco's Terry Leahy once stacked shelves
Retailers figured prominently among the business leaders feted in the Queen's New Year Honours List for 2002.

The chief executive of Tesco, the woman who turned around the outdoors clothing firm Barbour and the chairman of consumer goods giant Unilever all received honours.

Unilever chairman Niall FitzGerald
Unilever's FitzGerald to be knighted
"The aim [of the Honours List] has been to reward those at the sharp end, people who have really changed things, or who have given outstanding service to others," Prime Minister Tony Blair's official spokesman said.

Altogether it was a good year for business leaders, who made up one in five of the names on the New Years Honours List, collecting about 250 awards.

Supermarkets cheered

DeAnne Julius, who left the Bank of England's interest rate setting committee this year, becomes an CBE. Dr Julius, who is American, proved popular with British business groups, as she championed lower interest rates.

Tesco is Britain's largest retailer with profits of over 1bn, and its chief executive Terence Leahy - a Liverpudlian who rose to his current lofty position having started out as a Tesco shelf stacker - gets a knighthood.

Graham Melmoth, chief executive of supermarket chain owner The Co-operative Group, also gets a knighthood for services to retailing.

Euro fighter

Irishman Niall FitzGerald, the chairman of Unilever, is awarded an honorary knighthood, though as a foreign citizen he will not have the right to call himself Sir Niall.

Dr DeAnne Julius
DeAnne Julius was popular with UK business
Mr FitzGerald is a prominent campaigner for British membership of the European single currency.

A spokesman for Prime Minister Tony Blair denied the knighthood is an endorsement for early euro-membership.

Mr Blair has said he would only take Britain into the single currency if economic conditions were right: "The policy hasn't changed," his spokesman said.

Gum boots and chips

Margaret Barbour is honoured for her services to industry in the North West, after having transformed the Barbour clothing company from a maker of waterproof outdoor work clothes into a chic brand for urban fashionistas and the traditional country set alike.

Margaret Barbour
Margaret Barbour will become a Dame

One choice which may prove controversial with some of Mr Blair's Labour benchers is that of Valerie Gooding, chief executive of private healthcare company BUPA, who receives a CBE.

Robin Saxby, chairman of the chip designer ARM Holdings will be knighted for his services to the information technology business.

ARM is one of the few technology companies to have held onto much of its stockmarket value as boom in the sector has turned to bust.

The chips it makes are now close to being the industry-standard for mobile phones and other small devices.

Jeremy San, the founder of the small - and still loss-making - firm Argonaut Games, which produces the game version of 'Harry Potter and the Philosopher's Stone' will become an OBE.

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31 Dec 01 | Business
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