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Sunday, October 24, 1999 Published at 05:08 GMT 06:08 UK


Web tycoons move up power list

Number two meets number one at No 10

Green activists, scientists, web entrepreneurs and retail tycoons have shot up the rankings in a list of the most powerful 300 people in the UK.

The second annual Power List, published by Channel 4 and The Observer, shows Microsoft magnate Bill Gates displacing media boss Rupert Murdoch at number two.

Prime Minister Tony Blair remains unchallenged at number one, with his press secretary Alastair Campbell leaping 19 places, from 23 to four.

Peter Mandelson's spell in the wilderness meant he dropped from number four to 25th. This ranking was before his recent appointment as Northern Ireland Secretary.

[ image: David Beckham more influential than wife Victoria Adams]
David Beckham more influential than wife Victoria Adams
Intel chairman Dr Andy Grove is at number 41, Amazon boss Jeff Bezos at 55, and Yahoo! chief executive Tim Koogle is a new entry at number 62.

Tim Berners-Lee, the British architect of the world wide web, is at number 81.

The GM foods row has made a significant impact on the list, pushing Greenpeace executive director Lord Peter Melchett from 215 to 17.

Robert Shapiro, chairman of the GM food company Monsanto, enters at 57.

The Prince of Wales is promoted to top royal at 14, up from 55, largely on the basis of his opposition to GM foods, while the Queen descends to 51 from 30.

Dr John Sulston, the British scientist mapping the human genome in Cambridge, is at number 67.

Retail tycoons feature thanks to the rapid growth of their businesses and philosophy rather than their industrial clout.

They include Carphone Warehouse managing director Charles Dunstone at 105, Julian Metcalfe and Sinclair Beecham, the co-founders of sandwich chain Pret Á Manger, at 161, and Belgo restaurateur Luke Johnson at 204.

Thirty-three showbusiness artists make the rankings, with Posh Spice Victoria Adams at 117 and her footballer husband David Beckham at 69, in recognition of his strength as a role model for young people.

The panel of judges consisted of Observer editor-in-chief Will Hutton, Lambeth council chief executive Heather Rabbatts, journalist Kate Thornton, social commentator Peter York, businesswoman Sara Morrison, scientist Professor Lewis Wolpert and former private secretary to the Prime Minister Sir Charles Powell.

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