Top 50: the ones to watch

1. Dave Hartnett
HMRC director general
Hartnett saw his star rise in 2005 ­ the clampdown on anti-avoidance
being the primary reason. He has, by most estimations, overtaken his boss David
Varney by quite some distance. A persistent critic of advisers over tax
avoidance, Hartnett shocked many when he unveiled a plan to make avoidance ‘not
worthwhile’ by 2008. But a recent climbdown over historic issues relating to
City bonuses suggests the HM Revenue & Customs may not be as powerful as it

2. Mervyn King
Governor of the Bank of England
For a man who reportedly played tennis with former grand slam champion
Martina Hingis and shares his name with a darts player, the Bank of England
governor must be happy with his new ranking just one short of the top spot. The
past year has been generally quieter for the Bank with interest rate rises on
hold for several months, although the most recent vote for no change missed the
bullseye for some hoping for a cut to stimulate a sluggish economy ahead of

3. Philip Broadley
New chairman of the Hundred Group

One of the most respected FDs in the business, Broadley has seen his stock rise
considerably in 2005. Taking on the role of chairman of the Hundred Group of
Finance Directors, he has filled the considerable shoes of AstraZeneca FD Jon
Symonds. Broadley has already outlined plans to raise the profile of the Hundred
Group in Europe, as well as increasing dialogue with the institutional
investment community. Expect to hear more from the Prudential FD in the next 12

4. Mark Otty
Incoming UK chairman of Ernst & Young

At 41, Otty will be the youngest-ever chairman at the Big Four firm. From the
start of July he will take over from Nick Land, this year’s winner of the
Accountancy Age Outstanding Achievement Award. The South African may have to
battle hard to impose himself in the position having only recently joined the
executive board. A fitness fanatic, who enjoys distance running and triathlons,
Otty will be tasked with growing the business in what could be a tough year for
the profession.

FD of Standard Life

Alison Reed is no stranger to controversy. Less than six months into her role,
as finance director of Standard Life, she is the driving force behind sweeping
changes,including the departure of investors relations director Amanda Forsyth,
just months before its planned flotation on the London Stock Exchange.The former
Marks & Spencer FD, will now take on the dual role of rallying support in
the City and ensuring financial reporting systems are of a plc standard, until a
successor is found.

6.Gordon Brown
Chancellor of the Exchequer
This could be another big year for the prime-minister-in-waiting, with
constant speculation that Tony Blair will be forced to stand aside earlier than
he intends. Brown may now face a big battle at the next general election if new
Tory star David Cameron fulfils his promise. An Accountancy Age poll at the end
of last year showed that FDs will be willing the big Conservative hope on with
64% saying they would prefer Cameron to Brown as the next prime minister.

7. Suzzane Wood
Head of CFO practice, Heidrick and Struggles

If you are looking to build the perfect finance team, headhunters are
and if you play in the top league, Heidrick & Struggles is one name that is
guaranteed to get pulses racing. It takes on some of the biggest contracts on
the market. But it is Wood ­ armed with an address book to die for ­ who is the
woman that any finance director worth his or her salt will be hoping to get a
call from over the next 12 months.

8. Sir David Tweedie
Chairman of the IASB

With a road map to convergence of IFRS and US GAAP established, Sir David will
spend most of 2006 working on joint projects to develop standards with the US
Financial Accounting Standards Board. Already the plans to produce new standards
on business combinations have hit trouble, with companies and the profession
worried about the level of change being proposed and the European Commission
warning that such revolutionary standards are unlikely to be adopted.

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