After a successful outing last year it’s back – the definitive list of the industry’s 50 most influential people

We were jubilant, the culmination of uncountable hours of planning, hard work and preparation. Far more than a simple re-brand and redesign of our former fleet magazine selves, we had undergone an editorial and philosophical overhaul. We awaited BusinessCar’s launch and reception with anticipation and with some trepidation.

From an industry as vocal as ours we expected feedback, but nothing prepared us for what was to come.

We were overwhelmed, the phone rang off the hook, our inbox bulged and our elderly post boy moaned louder than ever.

Issue ’01’, however, gave birth to not one, but two, industry titans.

Controversy doesn’t even begin to describe the reception the Power List received. PRs and PAs and, sometimes the very person themselves, scrabbled desperately to find out where they ranked and whether they beat Bush or sunk behind a fugitive Saudi terrorist, or worse still whether they featured at all.

Our list was an overnight sensation that helped thrust BusinessCar to the attention of boardrooms everywhere on its very first issue.

To this day the Power List remains the only one of its type, a ‘who’s who’ of the industry’s most influential folk. People who, one way or another, for better or worse, affect the way you manage your fleet and do business.

So here, once again, in reverse order, is BusinessCar‘s list of the most powerful people in the industry.

50. Hu Jintao, China, President

China’s seemingly unstoppable economic growth, means it’s using up the world’s resources at an increasingly rapid rate.

49. Clara Martinez Alberola, EC, environment boss

Alberola will have an increasingly important role setting vehicle emissions targets.

48. Arnold Schwarzenegger, California, governor

Began his political life as a joke but has blossomed into a world-renowned environmental campaigner of what, if independent, would count as the world’s sixth-largest economy.

47. Nigel Walker, Citroen Contract Motoring, national sales manager

Walker runs a 20,000-strong fleet.

46. Ed Slattery, Peugeot Contract Hire, head

Slattery has overseen a push to get more smaller fleets on board this year.

45. Trevor Finn, Pendragon, chief executive

Pendragon has consistently made the BusinessCar headlines since we first published the Power List. Unfortunately for Finn, down five places on 2006, it’s been for the unsuccessful launch of the marque Cadillac. However, with that concern finally in the hands of General Motors UK, Finn can carry on doing what he does best – spearheading the UK and Europe’s largest car retailer.

44. Tim Copland, Toyota, general manager fleet

The strongest of the Japanese brands has seen steady growth.

43. Prof Julia King, The King Review of Low Carbon Cars, author

Expect this upcoming report to have a big influence on future taxation of cars.

42. Dr Susan Sharland, Transport Research Laboratory, chief executive

TRL does sterling work in the field of safety, but a drop of 14 places can be attributed to the environment overtaking safety issues for fleets

41. Adrian Hobbs, Euro NCAP, secretary general

On the eve of retirement this autumn following four years at the helm, Adrian Hobbs’ colleagues have already began to mourn his professional passing and have praised his accomplishments.

“Adrian Hobbs has helped Euro NCAP elevate car safety to a level no one could have anticipated 10 years ago. Adrian has been one of the world leaders in vehicle safety,” says NCAP chairman Claes Tingvall.

Mandatory ABS on all new cars and the kudos manufacturers receive for being awarded five stars in NCAP crash tests means that drivers, passengers and increasingly pedestrians are now safer from an injury when the worst happens.

40. Terry Bartlett, Inchcape Fleet Solutions, MD

Inchcape quashed rumours of its sale earlier this year while the size of its fleet has remained static.

39. Chris Brownridge, BMW, corporate sales manager

Business sales are down this year, but new eco-tech could drive a comeback.

38. Peter Roberts, Thatcham, chief exec

Thatcham is a leading researcher in road safety that exerts the commercial force on car makers to build safer more secure cars. But it’s down 11 places because environment is more of an issue than safety these days.

37. David Cameron, Conservative Party, leader

Until he’s given a mandate to lead the country his direct influence is limited.

36. Ken Livingstone, Mayor of London and TfL chairman

Who would have thought it? London’s Mayor, who seems to enjoy basking in controversy, has actually become a visionary with the most controversial of his ideas – road charging. Pioneering the congestion charge in 2003, he single-handedly foresaw a pay-as-you-drive culture as the only way to cut emissions and make people think about the way they rely on the car. Despite accusations the scheme has only been a limited success, it has become the model to which almost every city in the UK aspires to. The recent consultation, aimed at making the C-charge emissions-based, is another example of how Ken is revolutionising how we travel.

35. Iain Carmichael, Audi, head of fleet sales

Audi has overtaken BMW to become the most popular prestige fleet brand.

34. Peter Fanning, Office of Government Commerce, acting chief exec

Fanning oversees the ‘Better value for fleet’ initiative that controls a massive 100,000-plus car deal.

33. Keith Hawes, Renault, director fleet and CV operations

One of the most outspoken people on the car maker side of the auto industry.

32. Richard Schooling, Alphabet, commercial director

BusinessCar blogger and Alphabet boss with a sound grasp of the industry

31. Steve Harris, Peugeot, director, fleet and leasing

The 308 should make Harris’s job easier.

30. Hugh Wallace, Arnold Clark, MD

Arnold Clark is the highest-placed dealer group fleet firm.

29. Ian Tilbrook, ING Car Lease, MD

ING has spent the past year integrating the Appleyard business, which has more than doubled its size.

28. Steve Durrant, DCFM, MD

Durrant was appointed around 12 months’ ago and so just missed out on an entry last year.

27. Janet Entwistle, BT Fleet, MD

A quiet year for BT Fleet. Still one of a kind.

26. Paul Gray, HMRC, chairman

This week marks a year at Her Majesty’s Revenue and Custom’s helm for Gray, who leaps from 37 to number 26 in our list. Why? Well, not only does the chairman of the HMRC have the Chancellor’s ear, if there are any ‘revolutions’ concerning how we’re taxed for our company cars, expect the HMRC to be at the forefront.