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EDITIONS
Friday, 29 November, 2002, 07:32 GMT
Vote: Who is Britain's top business leader?
Left to right back row - Andrew Carnegie, Joseph Rowntree, Henry Royce, John Spedan Lewis; left to right front row = Lord Lever, Arnold Weinstock, Charles Rolls, Lord Nuffield
Now is your chance to vote for who you think is Britain's greatest business leader in history.

We had hundreds of your nominations, and based on the criteria of popularity, achievement and legacy we whittled the list down to eight top managers.

The nominees have a few things in common:

  • They are all men, a reflection of the fact that until recent times women were virtually excluded from top management.
  • Most of them turned a small business into a corporate giant.
  • And finally, the majority of them left a legacy of good works.
Now it is up to you to decide: Who is Britain's greatest business man of all times?

  • Andrew Carnegie
  • William Lever (Viscount Leverhulme)
  • John Spedan Lewis
  • Simon Marks
  • William Morris (Lord Nuffield)
  • Charles Rolls and Henry Royce
  • Joseph Rowntree
  • Lord Arnold Weinstock
THE VOTE HAS NOW CLOSED.

In the run-up, BBC business journalists will profile all eight nominees. Watch out for their reports on radio, television and online.

So who is missing?

The list of those who didn't quite make it is long:

Among them were business titans like Siegmund Warburg, Nathan Rothschild, George Cadbury, Joseph Cyril Bamford, Sir Titus Salt and Jesse Boot, to name a few.

Only a few living people were nominated for the title of best business leader, among them Virgin Group's Sir Richard Branson, Vodafone's Chris Gent, BP's Lord Browne, Easygroup's Stelios Haji-loannou and Lord Hanson, founder of the eponymous conglomerate.

However, the BBC's business team was unanimous in its view that these managers and their businesses still have to prove their lasting impact on UK industry.

Straight from The Office

Our audience put forward the names of only two women: Anita Roddick, founder of the body shop and green conscience of corporate Britain, and Edith Baxter, who did for soups what Victor Kiam did for electric razors.

But we were tempted to add one fictional character to the list.

Sally Bigwood nominated David Brent from the BBC programme The Office. "He is leading the current, long overdue re-assessment of UK management. Think of where business would be without the thousands of managers of this calibre."

Quite right too. Although on second thoughts, we may have to wait a bit longer to appreciate the true legacy of David's untiring efforts.

 WATCH/LISTEN
 ON THIS STORY
The BBC's Jeff Randall on Andrew Carnegie
"The greatest ever entrepreneur"
The BBC's Greg Wood on John Lewis
"A business can be both benevolent and successful"

Vote

Candidates
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