CITY DIARY: The dastardly Mr Deedes reveals his heroes and zeros of 2018…
Emma Walmsley: To say the Classics graduate has put her own stamp on GSK since succeeding Sir Andrew Witty as chief executive would be an understatement.
Walmsley has embarked on a dizzying array of deals, three in the past month alone.
The blockbuster £10billion consumer healthcare tie-up with rival Pfizer now paves the way for the company’s consumer and pharma divisions to be split in two.
Brian Roberts: When it comes to battles, Rupert Murdoch doesn’t usually end up on the losing side.
CEO: Emma Walmsley has put her own stamp on GlaxoSmithKline since succeeding Sir Witty
But when Comcast mogul Roberts entered the bidding war for Sky this year he was determined to come out on top.
His £30billion valuation blew Fox’s offer for the broadcaster out of the water – resulting in a highly satisfactory outcome for shareholders.
Tim Steiner: The grocery man finally delivered. After years of procrastinating over his business model, the Ocado boss at last signed some long-promised international tie-ups, including a deal with Sweden’s ICA and Kroger in the US.
With his stake now worth £200million, Steiner also made his debut appearance in the Sunday Times Rich List. Perhaps he’ll now cheer up a bit.
Alison Brittain: Her £3.9billion sale of Costa Coffee to Coca-Cola, for which she will pocket £3.3million, was not only decisive but has also been delivered quickly and efficiently.
Today she also bags a CBE to boot. Now it’s time for the bubbly Whitbread boss to get its tired-looking Premier Inn chain up to snuff.
Judith McKenna: The former Asda bean-counter was named head of Walmart International, making her arguably the most powerful woman in global retail.
The position is widely seen as a stepping stone to the overall top job. A Brit in charge of Walmart? Quite a feat for someone who attended her local comprehensive in Middlesbrough.
Simon Wolfson: Retail isn’t much fun these days, but the Next boss was still able to report expected profits of £727million – that’s £10million more than the company predicted several months previously.
Lord Wolfson is a wise owl. His demand for a rethink on business rates is something the Government should be listening to.
Elon Musk, the Tesla boss, has squandered his public goodwill with his unhinged behaviour
Jeff Fairburn: Nothing quite summed up the arrogance of the Persimmon boss over his absurd, £100million share-based bonus (later reduced to £75million) like his decision to walk away from a BBC interview in October.
It proved the final straw for the housebuilder’s board, which decided it was best that Fairburn took his millions and left.
Luke Johnson: The fingers-in-every-pie entrepreneur’s reputation as one of Britain’s premier business gurus came crashing down after a £20million black hole was discovered in Patisserie Valerie’s accounts.
Johnson has injected £20million of his own funds to keep the company afloat, but his days of pontificating on matters financial are surely kaput.
Elon Musk: Where to start with the Tesla boss? The bizarre, not to say offensive, ‘pedo’ rant at Thai cave rescue diver Vernon Unsworth who has threatened to bring legal action over the false allegation? The reckless claim he was taking Tesla private?
No other entrepreneur enjoys as much public goodwill, yet Musk chooses to squander it with his unhinged behaviour. The South African needs reining in. Getting him off Twitter would be a start.
Carlos Ghosn: The former Nissan chairman spent the Christmas period in a Japanese detention centre following allegations that he has under-reported his pay.
With tales surfacing of hubris and corporate greed, the automotive titan’s downfall contains all the elements for an HBO docudrama. Spanish heart-throb Antonio Banderas could frump up to play the mercurial monsieur Ghosn.
Paul Pester: When TSB’s botched IT meltdown in April left 2million customers locked out of their accounts, the bank’s chief executive insisted that he would sort out the mess.
When account holders were still having problems five months later, the bank’s Spanish owners Sabadell decided it was time for fitness freak Pester to go and spend more time on his surf board.
Philip Green: No, not that one. After outsourcer Carillion collapsed in January, resulting in 20,000 job losses, a report by MPs deemed that its chairman, former P&O boss Green, had presided over a ‘rotten corporate culture’.
As the building firm tottered under the weight of massive debts, executive bonuses had been increased while pension obligations neglected. Green’s namesake had a year to forget too…