A strong administrator and technocrat, Wen Jiabao is in charge of overseeing China's economic reforms.
Once seen as self-effacing and uncharismatic, Mr Wen's fortunes have risen quickly in the last decade, and he is now seen as one of the country's most popular leaders.
During a political career stretching back to 1965, Mr Wen served three Party leaders - from Hu Yaobang to Zhao Ziyang to Jiang Zemin.
Former Premier Zhu Rongji showed his esteem for Mr Wen by entrusting him with the task of overseeing agriculture, finance and environment policies.
These were considered crucial as China prepared to enter the World Trade Organisation.
Things have not always been easy for Wen Jiabao, but he has always managed to bounce back.
Perhaps his most significant recovery was after 1989, when Mr Wen accompanied the then Party Secretary Zhao Ziyang to Tiananmen Square to visit the students on hunger strike.
Mr Zhao was purged from the party days later and has lived under house arrest in Beijing ever since.
Mr Wen, on the other hand, weathered the storm.
The former geologist is said to be a good communicator and a "man of the people".
During a visit to Britain in June 2000 he even found time to attend the Royal Highland Show and stop off at the Glenkinchie Distillery.