It turns out 1990s German popsters Snap! were wrong when they proclaimed “I got the power.” But who does have it?
Plymouth Live has had a long hard think and come up with a list of 50 city figures that we think wield the most power.
The list includes politicians, business bosses – and, in this social media driven age, influencers.
Power has, after all, been defined as the ability to direct or influence others. So that is why you will find Instagram and Facebook powerbrokers on the list.
But, of course, real might, whether political or economic, still remains in the hands of the traditional political institutions and big businesses, and their leaders, those crown wearers whose heads lie uneasy, dominate here.
We have counted them down from 50 to 1, purely on the heft we think each possesses. But what do you think? Let us know if there is someone we have missed, or someone who should be higher up the list.
But though power may sometimes stem, as Mao famously put it, from the barrel of a gun, it is also worth remembering that power lies with the populace too.
All those on this list are there because we the people put them there. And we can remove them. As punk poet Patti Smith said: “People have the power to redeem the work of fools.”
Here is our list:
50 Stuart Elford – Devon and Plymouth Chamber of Commerce’s chief executive
The Devon and Plymouth Chamber’s new chief executive began his career pounding the beat as a police officer before leaving the force to run a successful PR and marketing business.
Well-known in Plymouth and regional business circles, Mr Elford was also a chamber director and chair of St Luke’s Hospice, a £10million turnover charity, for seven years.
He is a chartered manager and fellow of the Chartered Management Institute and has spent five years as director of operations and development at GA Solicitors. He took over at the chamber in 2018.
49 Gillian Nair – Plymouth Gossip Girls founder
Gillian Nair may not be a familiar name in the council chamber or at business networking events, but that may be because the people who frequent them are not on Facebook’s Gossip Girls.
Mrs Nair set up the Facebook group in 2016 as a place for women to “chat and talk about whatever they want (within reason)”. That may include such erudite subjects as Januhairy, Lamp Lovers and selling four 50p pieces for £1, but the group does have a mind-boggling 53,000 all-female members.
And it has raised a bank-full of cash for good causes, including more than £11,000 for Children in Need, Children’s Hospice South West, St Luke’s and the Derriford Hospital NICU, evidence of the power of social media. Gossip Girls also raised more than £7,000 for the families of Marshall Arnott, Trevor Gorman and Zachary Graham, who died in a crash on the A38.
Mum-of-two Mrs Nair, from Plympton, enlisted the help of two of her closest friends when Gossip Girls took off, now the group has 10 moderators.
48 Bishop Mark O’Toole – Roman Catholic Bishop of Plymouth
The 55-year-old Roman Catholic Bishop of Plymouth was actually born in London and ordained a priest in 1990 by Basil Hume for the Archdiocese of Westminster.
Between 2002 and 2008 he served as private secretary to Cormac Murphy-O’Connor before his appointment as the Rector of Allen Hall Seminary.
In November 2013, he was appointed the ninth Bishop of Plymouth. He received his episcopal consecration in January 2014.
47 David Wynne – Mc-Donald’s franshisee
David Wynne’s White Rose UK Ltd company has 12 McDonald’s restaurants in Devon and Cornwall, turning over £31million in 2017, and employing nearly 1,000 people, half of whom are full-time.
Mr Wynne has been associated with McDonald’s for 30 years, beginning as a burger-flipper and at 21 becoming the chain’s youngest UK restaurant manager.
He progressed to area manager for the South West and Wales, and then for the larger West Midlands patch.
After 19 years with the firm he asked to become a franchisee – 70 per cent of McDonald’s UK outlets are franchises – leading his Birmingham business to become top performer among 185 franchises.
He sold up and bought the five Plymouth venues in 2008, moving his family to the city for lifestyle reasons. Mr Wynne is a fan of the great Two-tone ska bands, such as the Specials and Madness, of the early 1980s.
46 Christophe Mathieu – Brittany Ferries’ chief executive
In 2016 Christophe Mathieu took over as chief executive at Britanny Ferries after Martine Jourdren stepped down following 42 years’ service with the company.
Mr Mathieu, aged 50, assumed command as the firm, which sails in and out of Plymouth’s Millbay docks, enjoyed a surge in passenger and freight volumes.
But in late 2018 he said an unsatisfactory or no-deal Brexit will have a serious negative effect on the economies of France’s north-western coastal regions. It came after a “worrying downward trend” in family bookings with the company for summer 2019.
45 Jess Hunt – Instagram influencer
Jess Hunt’s Instagram account JessHunt2 has an eye-watering 442,000 followers making her an “influencer”.
The model’s page shows her posing about in some of the world’s most glamorous locations, including Dubai’s opulent Burj Al Arab hotel, sun-kissed beaches and outside Plymouth’s Money Centre.
Ms Hunt is usually depicted in chic clothing, swimming costumes or lingerie, showcasing many top online fashion and makeup brands. Ms Hunt, also often snapped at the Royal William Yard and Barbican, hangs about with celebrities too, posting photos at parties and with close pals including Love Island star Jessica Shears and pneumatic blonde make-up artist Polly Marchant, who likes to boast: “I’m always getting asked about my lips.”
Because, as renowned commentator on the nature and morality of power Nicole Scherzinger, from the Pussycat Dolls, once said: “Girl power is about loving yourself and having confidence and strength from within, so even if you’re not wearing a sexy outfit, you feel sexy.” Exactly.
44 The Hajiyianni Family – Leisure business magnates
The Hajiyianni clan celebrated 30 years of ownership of the New Continental Hotel, in Millbay Road, in 2015. The building was built in 1865 but bought by Steve and Persefoni Hajiyianni in 1984.
The couple, Cypriots who came to Plymouth in 1953, started a city business dynasty which continues two generations down the line. Steve died in 1996, but he was survived by his wife, and their children Mario, Bobbie, Chris, Tina and Alexandra. Another son, Costas, was general manager at the hotel, but died in 2006.
And those family members, working together under the New Continental Group moniker, have become involved with other businesses throughout the city too.
Today the family has control of the well-known Mission and Kuku restaurants, and The Dock, at Millbay’s King Point Marina. They also run Strathmore House Apartments, on Elliot Street, The Hoe, a block containing 18 serviced units. And they have an interest in Cafe Curva, in Drake Circus Shopping Centre, along with members of the extended family.
Meanwhile Stella Hajiyianni has run the Barbican’s Blues Bar and Grill for 12 years but in 2018 and decided it was time to call it a day.
43 Dr Adam Morris – Livewell South West chief executive
Dr Adam Morris took over as chief executive at Livewell Southwest, the Plymouth health and adult social care provider, in 2018 with a pledge to build on the improvements to the care and support of the city’s population.
His appointment followed the retirement of Professor Steve Waite who held the post since the organisation was formed in 2012 and who saw the community interest company take over provision of adult social care in Plymouth as well as all its health services.
Dr Morris joined Livewell Southwest in 2016 as medical director, moving from Torbay and South Devon NHS Foundation Trust. He came to live in Devon in 2004 to become a GP partner in Dartmouth.
42 Andrew Clarke – Mars Wrigley Confectionery president
In 2018 Mars promoted its chief marketing and customer officer Andrew Clarke to the role of global president of Mars Wrigley Confectionery. The Brit succeeded Martin Radvan, who is retired after 32 years with the company.
Mr Clarke joined Mars in the UK in 2000 in category and sales leadership, becoming sales director in 2003. In 2007 he became general manager of Mars Ireland, then general manager for care and treats at Mars Petcare Europe in 2009, and regional president for Mars Petcare South America in 2011. In 2015 he moved back to the UK and became chief customer officer, adding marketing to his remit the following year.
With 532 employees in Plymouth, it’s UK headquarters being in Estover, the firm turns over £247.6million. A family-owned business for more than a century, Wrigley became a subsidiary of manufacturing powerhouse, Mars in 2008 and produces 34 brands across its global portfolio. Wrigley UK produces more than a dozen of these, including Extra, Airwaves, Hubba Bubba, Tunes, Lockets, Starburst and Skittles.
41 Phil Beinhaker – Sutton Harbour Holdings owner
Canadian Phil Beinhaker splashed £20million on shares in Plymouth’s waterside development company Sutton Harbour Holdings PLC to take a controlling interest in 2018.
It means he is in control of a company that wants to build two large skyscrapers on the waterfront at Sutton Harbour, and still holds the long lease on the former Plymouth City Airport site.
Before touching down in Plymouth, Mr Beinhaker set up the world’s fourth biggest architecture practice and was involved in building major sports arenas, hospitals, office blocks, restaurants and housing estates in North America and Europe.
The 77-year-old grew IBI Group, in Toronto, Canada, into one of the largest architecture or architecture/engineering firms in the world – in fourth place according to some rankings, with more than 2,500 employees and 60 offices throughout North America, Europe, Asia, and the Middle East.
Mr Beinhaker now lives in the UK where he has founded Beinhaker Design Services.
More on Plymouth’s top people
40 Dr Ruth Harrell – director of public health
Dr Ruth Harrell, who was previously acting as interim director for a year, took over her role a director of public health in 2017, having worked in Plymouth as a consultant in public health for two and a half years, leading on disease prevention and health protection.
As director, Dr Harrell is responsible for key areas including public health, environmental health, trading standards, civil protection, licensing and bereavement services. She took over from Professor Kelechi Nnoaham who left the council in 2016.
39 Steve Hughes – Plymouth City Centre Company chief executive
Steve Hughes joined the City Centre Company in 2017 fresh from leading the Bournemouth Town Centre Business Improvement District (BID) to an overwhelming “yes” vote in its ballot, giving it another five years of life. Mr Hughes was instrumental in creating a new vision and five-year business plan for the Bournemouth BID.
Mr Hughes took over in Plymouth from Jon Walton, who was headhunted to do the same job in Southampton, and left in May 2017, but has since left that job for a position in Scotland.
Mr Hughes, who lives in Cornwall, is a former newspaper journalist, who also has business experience, mostly in the media and communications industry, where he has worked as an editor and managing director.
Before running the Bournemouth BID, Mr Hughes led a project in York to set up one of the UK’s biggest BIDS with almost 1,000 businesses involved.
38 Sarah Gibson – Plymouth Waterfront Partnership chief executive
Also Waterfront Manager, Sarah Gibson has been instrumental in creating and delivering a highly successful Waterfront Business Improvement District in Plymouth’s heritage quarter.
She has also driven delivery to 93% of a f42-project, five-year business plan (2012-2017) targeting £6.2million of investment. Now delivering a 36-project business plan (2017-2022) targeting an additional £10.4million of investment to benefit Plymouth’s Waterfront, Mrs Gibson, who at one-time worked in regional newspapers, now heads a body representing more than 700 businesses across seven sectors.
She is a keen advocate for animal welfare too.
37 Iain Silvester and Dr Keith Strickland – Plessey Semiconductors joint chief executives
When Michael LeGoff suddenly quit as chief executive of Plessey Semiconductors in the summer of 2018, he was replaced by Iain Silvester, chief financial officer, and Dr Keith Strickland, chief technology officer.
Their mission was to continue to follow the current business plan of building LED engines for the emerging Augmented Reality (AR), Virtual Reality (VR) and Head Mounted Display (HMD) markets with the company’s proprietary micro-LED display technologies and processes.
Mr Silvester was previously CFO of picoChip and finance director of Motion Media.
36 Ian Bowyer – Plymouth City Council opposition leader
The Eggbuckland Tory ward councillor was council leader until losing the 2018 election to Labour.
He took over control of the Tory group, succeeding Ted Fry, in 2014 and led them into the 2015 election, after which he took over a hung council with the backing of three UKIP members.
His wife, Lynda Bowyer, is also a Eggbuckland ward councillor for the Conservatives.
35 James Brent – Pavilions boss
James Brent stepped down as chairman of Plymouth Argyle in 2018 but still has a string of directorships including Hawksmoor Investment Management and South West Ticketing Solutions.
But of most interest to the public is his involvement with Plymouth Pavilion, which he still controls. The Old Etonian, who made his name in the hotel industry, has earmarked ambitious plans for the site, where he has already sold the car park for development.
In August 2018, the Plymouth and Exeter branches of fashion chain Saltrock Surfwear closed with staff losing their jobs after the firm, run by Mr Brent at the time, went into administration and was taken over by another brand.
34 Carol Burgoyne – Plymouth City Council’s strategic director for people
Carole Burgoyne was awarded an MBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours List in 2017 for services to children and young people after serving nearly 40 years of service in local government.
As strategic director for people she is responsible for a department that oversees Integrated commissioning and adult social care, children, young people and families, education, participation and skills and community connections.
She was born in Plymouth and has stayed in the city throughout her career. Mrs Burgoyne attended Oxford Street Primary (now Pilgrim) and Plymouth High School for Girls, where she was head girl.
She worked for more than 15 years as a voluntary youth worker and leader in youth clubs. Her first job from school was in the DHSS’ Durley House working on supplementary benefits. After qualifying as a social worker at Plymouth Polytechnic, she worked in Plymouth for Devon County Council and then in senior management positions at the City Council. She was senior officer responsible for the development of the £46million Plymouth Life Centre.
33 Louise Pasterfield – Sponge founder
American-born entrepreneur Louise Pasterfield founded Sponge in 2004 and the chief executive has won a string of awards including being named the Herald’s entrepreneur of the year in 2017.
Plymouth e-learning business Sponge opened a new UK office in 2017 after another successful year which saw turnover jump by nearly 60%
Now one of Britain’s fastest growing digital learning companies, the business creates innovative workplace learning solutions for global organisations.
In 2018 Sponge opened offices in Bristol and Dublin – its first EU base – as well as expanding its London office and growing headcount at its Plymouth headquarters.
Within the next three years, the company plans to grow its UK presence, open another office in Europe – this time on the continent – as well as expanding into the USA.
32 Nick McKinnel – Anglican bishop of Plymouth
Nick McKinnel has been the Bishop of Plymouth. A suffragan bishopric in the Diocese of Exeter, since 2015. He was the suffragan Bishop of Crediton in the same diocese from 2012.
The 64-year-old studied at Queen’s College, Cambride, graduating with a bachelor of arts degree which was later bumped up to master of arts, as is the Oxbridge tradition. He then trained for ordination at Wycliffe Hall, Oxford, an evangelical theological college. He was awarded an honorary doctorate of theology from the University of Plymouth in 2013.
Dr McKinnel was ordained in the Church of England in 1980 and served his curacy in the Diocese of London from 1980 to 1983. He served as a chaplain at the University of Liverpool from 1983 to 1987. From 1994 to 2012, he was rector of the Minster Church of St Andrew, Plymouth. From 2002 to 2012, he was also a prebendary of Exeter Cathedral.
31 Peter and Nick Vosper – Vospers bosses
Father-and-son Peter and Nick Vosper run Plymouth-headquartered Vospers car dealership which was founded by Peter’s father in 1946.
Peter joined the firm in 1966 and became managing director in 1974. Nick joined his father in the business in 1996, after completing his studies at university and following extensive training with Ford in London.
Nick, who obtained an MBA at Exeter University, was appointed as managing director in 2011. The company, which has 700 employees, saw turnover hit £232million in 2017.
30 Sir Gary Streeter – South West Devon Tory MP
Knighted in the 2019 new year’s honours, Sir Gary has, since 1997, been MP for South West Devon. He was previously MP for Plymouth Sutton between 1992 and 1997.
He attended Tiverton Grammar School, where he was head boy from 1972 to 1973, then King’s College London, where he gained a first class honours Law degree.
From 1984 to 1998 he was a solicitor and partner at Foot and Bowden (now Foot Anstey) in Plymouth, where he specialised in company and employment law.
He was a councillor, initially for the now defunct Social Democratic Party (SDP) before becoming a blue, on Plymouth City Council from 1986 to 1992.
He is a committed Christian who believes in faith healing.
29 Charles Hackett – Mayflower 400 chief executive
Before his appointment as mastermind for the Mayflower 400 celebrations, Charles Hackett was vice president of medicines commercialisation for pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline.
He was appointed chief executive of Mayflower 400 in late 2016 to lead the national and international programme to commemorate the voyage of the Pilgrim Fathers to the New World.
His current role makes him the principal ambassador for Mayflower 400 at the most senior levels of government and commerce and he is the key point of contact for national and international stakeholders and partners in Plymouth.
Mr Hackett was also named in the Plymouth Live 2018 Sexy List.
28 Anita Hemsi – Devonport High School for Girls headteacher
As head of the top rated state-funded school in Plymouth, listed by the Real Schools Guide, Devonport High School for Girls’ (DHSG) Anita Hemsi makes the list, though, of course, all headteachers, and indeed all teachers, do wield power to shape next generation.
Named as one of the UK’s 216 Specialist Language Colleges, DHSG has gained a reputation for its strong international links, as well as academic excellence, which help to launch its students on their chosen career paths.
As a state grammar school, DHSG dates back to 1908. It has won the British Council’s International School Award four times, forging links with 17 countries around the world. The school has developed its entire curriculum around a global outlook and students and teachers participate in a number of enterprising projects that encourage cross-country discussion and collaboration.
DHSG has a reputation for all-round academic excellence and has been recognised by The Daily Telegraph’s school league tables and The Good Schools Guide as one of the best-performing schools in the country. There is an emphasis on providing strong female role models in the form of teachers and guest speakers, particularly in STEM subjects.
27 Professor Andrew Brewerton – Plymouth College of Art chief executive
Professor Andrew Brewerton is principal and chief executive of Plymouth College of Art, and founding chair of the governors of Plymouth School of Creative Arts.
He is a member of the Steering Group, the Cultural Learning Alliance, and the Craft Council’s Education Advisory Group.
He has given lectures and seminars internationally, and is a poet and author of more than 60 journal and catalogue essays and books on contemporary art and education, and has read his verse at Plymouth’s premier poetry showcase: the Language Club.
26 Tom Daley – diver and celebrity
There are few people in Plymouth who are not familiar with medal-winning diver, TV celebrity and all-round influencer Tom Daley. The sportsman specialises in diving’s 10-meter platform event snd is a double world champion having won the 2009 FINA Wold Championship in the individual event at the tender age of 15, before regaining it in 2017. He was the 2012 Olympic bronze medalist.
Mr Daley also competes in synchronised and team events. In 2015, he partnered Rebecca Gallantree to the inaugural mixed team World title, and in 2016 he won a second Olympic bronze in the men’s synchronised 10-metre platform, with Daniel Goodfellow. In 2017 he won world silver with Grace Reid in the mixed three-metre springboard synchronised event.
He started diving at the age of seven and is a member of Plymouth Diving Club. He represented Great Britain the 2008 Olympics where he was Britain’s youngest competitor, aged just 14.
He won two gold medals for England at the 2010 Commonwealth Games, and the bronze medal for in the individual competition at the 2012 London Olympics. At the 2016 Olympics, he won bronze in the synchronised 10m platform with Mr Goodfellow.
But away from sport Mr Daly is a true media celebrity with two million Instagram followers. He’s also found time to present TV show Splash and write a cookery book. He married screenwriter Dustin Black at Bovey Castle in 2017 and the following year announced the birth of their child Robert Ray Black-Daley, who was born via surrogacy.
Tom Daley news
25 Amanda Lumley – Destination Plymouth chief executive
For nearly six years Amanda Lumley has led Destination Plymouth, the public/private sector partnership, leading on marketing, events and development of the city as a destination.
The organisation provides a range of services including itinerary planning, familiarisation visits for trade and media as well as support for conference and venue planning.
Mrs Lumley previously worked at Visit Essex, Kent County Council and Visit Kent. She is a director and vice president of the Tourism Management Institute.
24 Anthony Payne – Plymouth City Council’s strategic director for place
Anthony Payne’s job title may sound a little new age, but essentially being strategic director for place means he’s key to Plymouth’s economic and physical development.
Mr Payne’s remit covers planning, transport and infrastructure, plus economic development and regenerations, and culture, tourism, heritage, events, waste collection, parks and green spaces, and even parking. It’s a job Mr Payne has done since 2011.
Previously, and briefly, he was director of regeneration at the authority, having arrived from East Midlands Development Agency, where he had worked for four years.
After receiving a MPhil in city/urban, community and regional planning at Reading University, Mr Payne worked as campaign co-ordinator for the European Sustainable Cities and Towns Campain, from 1995 to 2003, based in Brussels, Belgium, epicentre of the EU.
23 Adrian Vinken – Theatre Royal Plymouth’s chief executive
In 2007 Adrian Vinken, chief executive of the Theatre Royal, was awarded an OBE in recognition of his record in innovation and successful leadership in the arts and urban Regeneration. Six years later he topped that by receiving the lifetime achievement award at The Herald’s Business Awards.
And what a lifetime of achievement it has been. In the early 1980s Mr Vinken led the development of the pioneering Leadmill music venue and arts centre in a derelict flour mill in Sheffield.
The success of the project catalysed the creation of Sheffield’s ‘Cultural Industries Quarter’ and the regeneration of a large area of its city centre. The Leadmill was named the best arts project in the UK.
After more projects developing derelict historic buildings for community uses, Mr Vinken moved to Plymouth in 1991 to manage the Theatre Royal at a time of financial crisis. He reversed the Theatre’s fortunes and then masterminded construction of TR2, the £8million production and education centre at Cattedown. It was named the UK’s 2003 Building of the Year.
22 John Clark – Plymouth Community Homes’ chief executive
John Clark has been chief executive of Plymouth Community Homes since 2016, when he took over from Clive Turner. Prior to this he was director of housing at the Borough of Greenwich, in London, and chief executive of housing and regeneration companies in Leeds, Sheffield and the North East of England.replacing cladding on three Devonport tower blocks, following the devastating Grenfell Tower fire in London, in 2017.
21 Simon Hallett – Plymouth Argyle’s vice-chairman
United States-based businessman Simon Hallett took control of Plymouth Argyle FC in late 2018, ending James Brent’s tenure. The 62-year-old is the club’s majority shareholder after a £3.25million investment, on top of an initial £500,000 injection.
He lives in New Hope, Pennsylvania, with his wife of 41 years, Jane, who he met at Oxford University. The couple, who have three daughters and two grandchildren, moved to New Jersey in 1991 and took up US citizenship in 2003. He works in the investment management business for Harding Loevner where he is co-chief investment officer and has been a key figure for 27 years.
Mr Hallett was born near Bristol. In 1966 his family moved to Plymouth where his father, a mechanical engineer, worked at RNEC Manadon. Mr Hallett went to school at Plymouth College, where he had a council scholarship.
His first job was at the Midland Bank, but in 1981 he moved to Hong Kong and met David Loevner, who ended up founding Harding Loevner.
The House of Fraser – the complete saga
20 Mike Ashley – House of Fraser and Sports Direct owner
Mike Ashley doesn’t live in Plymouth, but he is fast becoming a key figure in its future. The billionaire retail magnate entered the department store industry when he bought House of Fraser, following its administration in 2018, and saved the Plymouth store from closure.
The 54-year-old, who began his rise to prominence with a single sports shop, is also the owner of the huge Sports Direct chain, which has a cavernous outlet in New George Street, and had a large stake in another embattled department store firm, Debenhams, which is also prominent in Plymouth City Centre.
Mr Ashley also rode to the rescue of Evans Cycles, another Plymouth city centre denizen, and has mulled taking HMV out of administration.
He is also owner of Newcastle United FC after paying about £135million to buy the club, much to the consternation of many fans. He is also known to prefer casual dress, sometimes donning a track suit, rather than a business suit, and carries his mobile phone in a carrier bag.
19 Richard Stevens – Citybus managing director
North Devon born Richard Stevens was appointed as managing director of Plymouth Citybus in May 2012. With an annual turnover of more than £27million, Citybus serves more than 17 million passengers a year and is the biggest public transport provider in Plymouth, employing 520 people and running a fleet of 185 buses.
Mr Stevens has 20 years of senior management experience in the bus industry under his seatbelt. Previously he served as an operations and commercial director for Stagecoach South West and before that was operations director for First Devon and Cornwall. And all this after his career was jump started in 1990 – as a bus driver in Penzance.
Mr Stevens is also chair of Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce, joint chair of the Plymouth Area Business Council, chair of the Plymouth Growth Board. Richard sits on the Devonport Task Force, One Plymouth, the Mayflower 400 Leadership group and the Peninsular Rail Task Force.
He is a director of Destination Plymouth and a Heart of the South West LEP board member.
In his spare time he enjoys sailing and has been known to wear a kilt at business functions.
18 Lindsey Hall – RIO’s chief executive
Lindsey Hall is co-founder and chief executive officer of the Real Ideas Organisation (RIO) group. RIO was formed Ms Hall and Matt Little who had worked for the Arts Council England run Creative Partnerships and had seen social enterprises in action in Canada.
The community interest company “went live” in September 2007 primarily as an educational organisation, working with schools nationally and internationally. But a few months later the prospect of taking on Devonport Guildhall came into view. RIO took over the Victorian Guildhall and its neighbouring column, on a 25-year lease via a community asset transfer from the council, in 2011 and set about masterminding a £1.75million one-year renovation.
RIO launched its own business, Column Bakehouse, in 2013 and it now has five ovens and supplies leading Plymouth restaurants, with a second cafe in Ocean Studios, at Royal William Yard, which it also now runs.
The social enterprise is also progressing with ambitious plans to create a world-class digital technology hub and 3D immersive cinema in the disused Devonport Market Hall after landing a £1million windfall from the Government. RIO also works with hundreds of schools and has developed a range of nationally-recognised social enterprise qualifications.
Ms Hall is a fellow of the Royal Society of Arts and a trustee of many organisations including Kernow Education Arts Partnership and Plymouth Culture Board and a governor of Devonport High School for Boys.
17 Brigadier Gwyn Jenkins – 3 Commando Brigade’s commanding officer
Brigadier Gwyn Jenkins OBE is the Royal Marine in charge of 3 Commando Brigade, based at Stonehouse Barracks. He took over from Brigadier Jim Morris in 2017.
The brigade is a commando formation of the British Armed Forces and the main manoeuvre formation of the Royal Marines. Its personnel are predominantly Royal Marines, supported by units of Royal Engineer, Royal Artillery, and the Fleet Air Arm, together with other Commando qualified salilors, soldiers and airmen.
The brigade was involved in two major campaigns, including Operation Veritas, in Afghanistan, 2001 and 2002, and Operation Telic, during the 2003 invasion of Iraq.
In Afghanistan, there was no combat with enemy forces, but in Iraq the brigade saw heavy fighting in the early stages of the campaign, making an amphibious assault on the Al-Faw peninsula in south east Iraq. In 2006, the brigade returned to Afghanistan on Operation Herrick, where intense fighting occurred.
9 things you probably didn’t know about Stonehouse Barracks
1. The frame of a huge painting – which proudly hangs in the main dining room of the Officers Mess in Stonehouse Barracks – is made from the original timbers of HMS Victory which is famous for its role in the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805. About 3,600 marines were among the British fleet taking part in the conflict.
2. The trees which can still be seen around the outskirts of the parade ground today were planted in 1887.
3. Stonehouse Barracks’ former library later became St Christopher’s Chapel in the 1920s.
4. The large room still boasts the remains of four large circular vents which were used to vent cigarette smoke from the smoking servicemen.
5. The marines who would later be known as the ‘Cockleshell Heroes’ were recruited from Stonehouse Barracks by Blondie Hasler. Operation Frankton was a commando raid on shipping in the German occupied French port of Bordeaux in the Bay of Biscay during World War Two.
6. The term ‘bootneck’ or ‘leatherneck’ relates to a leather collar which was worn under a tunic collar to prevent a Royal Marine sentry from being strangled or garotted.
7. Royal Marines were tasked with security – among other roles – on Royal Navy ships.
8. They guarded the Royal Navy officers and there were instances of disgruntled sailors onboard the vessels attacking both the marines, and naval officers.
9. Royal Marines talk in ‘Jackspeak’ – a naval lingo which boasts literally thousands of words and phrases unknown to outsiders.
Examples include: “scran” = food; “icers” = cold; “redders” = hot; “wet” = drink; “hoofin” = very good/awesome; “gucci” = good or attractive item; “chad” = bad (or as one Royal Marine put it to me a few years ago ‘imagine seeing your dad in drag…’); “heads” = toilets; “essence” = good looking; “divs” = divine (better than essence); and “slug” = sleeping bag.
16 Penny Wycherley – City College Plymouth’s interim principal
Penny Wycherley is a 68-year-old grandmother and vastly experienced troubleshooter with a track record of rescuing financially strapped colleges and has been brought in to run City College Plymouth for about eight months from the start of 2019.
She was most recently principal of Waltham Forest College, in London, until she retired in March 2018. But she started her career in the NHS where she spent 10 years combining high-level management roles with bringing up her children. After a period working in business, she took to teaching at Chichester College.
In 2001, Ms Wycherley became an Ofsted inspector and in 2006 was named principal of the troubled South Kent College. In 2011 she became interim principal at Great Yarmouth College where, in just three-and-a-half years, she led its move from a grade four “inadequate” and financially weak college to a grade two “good” college and left it in good financial health.
Since retiring in 2014 she worked as an interim principal at Waltham Forest College, in Walthamstow, also improving its financial position and quality.
In 2018 CCP governors asked the Association of Colleges to find an interim who could steer the ship through choppy waters. The Association approached Ms Wycherley, who had turned down recent offers from two other colleges.
15 Tom Bloxham – Urban Splash’s chairman and co-founder
Tom Bloxham began his career selling fire extinguishers door-to-door before studying for a degree in politics, then selling records and posters and he even ran a market stall. He made more money sub-letting the space than selling his posters. That’s how his business empire started.
After setting up a pub business, nightclub and radio station, Mr Bloxham, along with Jonathan Falkingham, founded Urban Splash in 1993.
Urban Splash has developed over a billion pounds of regeneration projects across the country, including Plymouth’s Royal William Yard. The firm is also working on plans for the derelict Civic Centre too.
Mr Bloxham chairs the Manchester International Festival and is a trustee of The Tate, Manchester United Foundation. He was awarded an MBE for services to architecture and urban regeneration in 1999 at the age of 35.
14 Luke Pollard – Labour MP for Sutton and Devonport
Luke Pollard won the Sutton and Devonport seat, at the second attempt, in 2017, ousting Tory Oliver Colvile, and has since been appointed as Parliamentary Private Secretary to Labour’s Shadow Environment, food and Rural Affairs Secretary Sue Hayman.
Mr Pollard, aged 38, was educated at Christleton High School followed by the University of Exeter, graduating with first-class honours in 2001. He was elected campaigns officer for the students’ union in 2000 and president of the students’ union in 2001.
Mr Pollard worked as an advisor to George Foulkes before becoming account director at public relations and marketing firm Edelman.
He was Head of public affairs for the Association of British Travel Agents from 2009 to 2014, and as a director at Field Consulting from 2015 until his election in 2017. He is a member of the Unite and GMB trade unions.
13 Leo Devine – BBC’s South West region head
Head of BBC South West Region, Leo Devine says he is “expat Manchester, been living in Cornwall 23 years”.
He took over at Seymour Road, Plymouth, in 2010, succeeding Jane McCloskey. Mr Devine was the former head of programming for the South West, but has also had spells in the North West, South East, and West, based in Bristol.
He had been head of journalism production for the BBC Nations and Regions division in from 2006, and has – uniquely – run four of the 12 English regions for the BBC.
His broadcasting career began in the 1980s when he worked as a journalist and presenter for the BBC in the East Midlands and London.
12 Chris Gates – Princess Yachts’ managing director
He started as an engineering apprentice but today Chris Gates is in charge of a company which made a £7.9million profit after a record-breaking year in which its order book hit £750million.
The managing director of luxury boat maker Princess Yachts started his working life in 1981 learning on day-release and at night-school at what was then the College of Further Education, now named City College Plymouth.
Now Mr Gates presides over a global brand, one which sold a mouthwatering £30million of yachts in just one week in January 2018.
Princess Yachts stories
11 Bill Martin – Reach PLC’s editor-in-chief for Devon and Cornwall
Bill Martin is the editor-in-chief of the Reach PLC titles across Devon and Cornwall. He is responsible for the editorial content of three websites, two daily newspapers and seven weeklies across both counties.
Mr Martin is also the editor of the Western Morning News – where he has worked for more than six years.
He started his career at the Tiverton Gazette in 1989. He later became the editor of the Plymouth Herald, a position he held for seven years.
A cricket fan, he is another on the list with impeccable musical tastes being particularly fond of rockers AC/DC.
Find out more about Plymouth’s top businesses
10 Commodore Rob Bellfield – Devonport Flotilla commander
Commodore Rob Bellfield took over in 2017 as Commander Devonport Flotilla replacing Commodore Paul Halton.
Cdre Bellfield is a former commanding officer of the training establishment HMS Raleigh and captain of three frigates.
A surface warfare officer, with a specialisation in anti-submarine Operations, his career has spanned 30 years. Originally from Woodbridge in Suffolk, Cdre Bellfield, along with his wife and two daughters, currently lives near – yes, you guessed it – Portsmouth.
9 Johnny Mercer – Tory MP for Plymouth Moor View
Johnny Mercer has been MP for Plymouth Moot View since the 2015 general election, when he sensationally gained the seat from Labour’s Alison Seabeck. He grew his majority in Theresa May’s ill-fated 2017 election.
He is a former British Army officer and an author who was born in Dartford, the son of a banker and a nurse, with seven siblings. Mr Mercer was educated at Eastbourne College, a co-educational independent school and commissioned as a second lieutenant in the Royal Artillery after passing out from Royal Military Academy Sandhurst in June 2003.
He was promoted to lieutenant in April 2005, passed the All Arms Commando Course and served mostly with 29 Commando Regiment Royal Artillery.
He completed three tours of Afghanistan as a liaison and training officer with Afghan forces; attached to a Special Forces unit; and as a co-ordinator of artillery and air strikes in support of ground operations.
Mr Mercer retired from military service in December 2013 with the rank of captain and in 2017 published We Were Warriors: One Soldier’s Story of Brutal Combat.
On a summer boat trip in 2016, he saved the life of fellow Tory MP Scott Mann who could not swim. Mr Mercer has also been a male model and won TV Celebrity Hunted in 2018.
8 Chief Superintendent Dave Thorne – Plymouth police commander
In 2017, Chief Superintendent Dave Thorne was announced as the new Plymouth police commander, following a brief period in the role in a temporary capacity. Ch Supt Thorne had been a superintendent in the city for the previous 18 months.
The previous commander, Andy Boulting, was promoted to assistant chief constable, following the departure of Deputy Chief Constable Bill Skelly, who became the Chief Constable of Lincolnshire.
Ch Supt Thorne is a former secondary school teacher in science and outdoor education. He has been with Devon and Cornwall Police since 1999 and has spent much of his career working on child abuse investigations, critical incidents and later with major crime investigations.
7 Ann James – Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust’s chief executive
Ann James took over as chief executive at Plymouth Hospitals NHS Trust in September 2012. Prior to this, she held a number of important roles in the NHS in the South West, including being chief executive of Plymouth Teaching PCT, Cornwall and Isles of Scilly PCT, Devon PCT, Cluster of Devon Plymouth and Torbay.
Before joining the NHS as a national management trainee in 1989, Ms James worked as a marketing manager.
Ms James is also Health and Medical champion for the Plymouth Chamber of Commerce and sits as part of the Plymouth Area Business Council, and is a member of the Plymouth Growth Board.
In her chief executive role she is a Director of the South West Peninsula Academic Health Science Network, a member of One Plymouth, board member of Health Education South West Leadership Academy.
In 2014 she was awarded an honorary doctorate of health by the University of Plymouth.
6 Professor Judith Petts – the University of Plymouth’s vice-chancellor
Professor Judith Petts took over as vice-chancellor of the University of Plymouth February 2016.
After graduating with a degree in geography from Exeter University in 1975, Prof Petts worked in the commercial world, including in international banking for Barclays International, and at a retail planning consultancy company, returning to research posts at Nottingham University and then Loughborough University from 1980.
She completed her PhD at Loughborough University in 1996 and became a lecturer/senior lecturer in Centre for Hazard and Risk Management, Loughborough, from 1987, becoming centre director in 1997.
In 1999, Prof Petts became chair in environmental risk management at the University of Birmingham and head of the School of Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences in 2001.
In 2007 she was appointed pro-vice-chancellor, taking the research and knowledge transfer portfolio.
In 2010 she moved to the University of Southampton to become inaugural dean of the new Faculty of Social and Human Sciences and in January 2014 was appointed pro-vice-chancellor research and enterprise.
She was made a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in 2012 for services to scientific research.
5 Chris Grigg – British Land’s chief executive
Chris Grigg is chief executive of The British Land Company plc, the British property development and investment company which now owns what is probably the most significant part of Plymouth’s city centre.
British Land’s portfolio now includes Drake Circus Shopping Centre and is constructing the £53million Drake Circus Leisure development at nearby Bretonside. It also owns the huge block of Plymouth city centre buildings which include the House of Fraser and Debenhams department stores.
All this means that, as boss of British Land, Mr Grigg has a vital say in the future of the city centre.
Mr Grigg, aged 59, was educated at King Edward VI School in Southampton and graduated from Trinity Hall, University of Cambridge, with a first in economics.
He joined Morgan Grenfell as a graduate trainee in 1981, moved to another major bank, Goldman Sachs, in 1985, rising to partner, before he left in 2005 to become Treasurer of Barclays Bank, and chief executive of Barclays Commercial Bank from February 2007 to November 2008. Mr Grigg joined British Land as chief executive in January 2009.
British Land and Drake Circus stories
4 Chris Dawson – The Range’s founder and executive chairman
Shopping tycoon Chris Dawson saw his wallet bulge by an extra £60million in 2017-18 – and his retail empire continued to grow with another 100 stores set to open by 2021.
The founder and owner of The Range store chain, along with his wife Sarah, is now worth an astonishing £1.96billion.
The sum makes him the third most minted person in the South West according to the annual Sunday Times Rich List and one of the most powerful people in his native Plymouth, where his retail empire is centred.
Profits leapt by more than 18 per cent to nearly £68million on sales of £761.3million in 2016-17. Mr and Mrs Dawson paid themselves a £100million dividend in 2016.
The Range will open its new £25million superstore at Seaton Hill, the former Royal Marines barracks, in Derriford in February 2019 – 30 years after the firm was founded.
The Derriford store will be the third in Plymouth and joins the Plymstock (Billacombe Road) and Peverell (Montpelier Road) branches.
The Range will also be opening its new international headquarters on the site later in 2019 – a process which will involve relocating all its existing head office staff from the current base in Estover. It will enable the company to provide a training centre for the whole company.
Chris Dawson and The Range
3 Archie Bethel – Babcock International’s chief executive
In 2016 the man who headed the division of Babcock which controls its Plymouth operation was been made boss of the entire company.
Archie Bethel became chief executive of Babcock International Group plc having bossed the Marine and Technology division, which includes Babcock’s immense Devonport dockyard operation.
Mr Bethel joined Babcock in 2004 and has been credited with overseeing the successful development and growth of the marine and technology business. Under his overall leadership Babcock has seen profits surge to a record £391.1million.
However the company is slimming down its management structure in Plymouth, making 500 redundancies, and was jettisoned from the FTSE 100 in 2017 – to make way for takeaway app Just Eat.
But despite the uncertainty of potential defence cuts, the company, which employs thousands of workers in Plymouth, saw before tax profits jump eight per cent on revenues of £4.659billion, up by 2.5 per cent, in 2018.
Babcock in the news
2 Tracey Lee – Plymouth City Council’s chief executive
In 2012 Plymouth City Council named Tracey Lee as its new chief executive to replace Barry Keel who retired after seven years in the job.
She was previously managing director of Newport Council, in Wales. At the time of her appointment in Plymouth it was revealed she would earn £20,000 less than her predecessor in a bid to reduce the gap between top and bottom earners. Her salary was set at £150,000.
Ms Lee is the lead chief executive for the Peninsula Rail Taskforce and a member of the South West Adult Improvement Board.
She has also led on projects such as the development of a national procurement service for Wales and regional shared services including an education achievement service shared by five councils. She has a degree in biology and a PGCE from Nottingham University and an MBA.
1 Tudor Evans – Plymouth City Council’s leader
In 2018 Labour’s Tudor Evans became leader of Plymouth City Council for an astonishing fourth time in 20 years.
He originally took control the day after Labour won Plymouth’s new unitary authority in May 1998 and led the council until 2000, from 2003 to 2007 and from 2012 to 2016, and is in the hot seat again now.
Mr Evans, councillor for Ham ward since 1988, was born in Ebbw Vale, in Wales, moved to Plymouth as an undergraduate, studying environmental science at what was then Plymouth Polytechnic. He was a director of a co-operative printing company for 13 years and named Council Leader of the Year in 2015.
Mr Evans was made an Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for services to politics and local government in January 2016.
He is another list member with excellent musical tastes, known to enjoy rock music and pogo-ed to many famous punk bands, including The Clash, during his time as a student.
So, that’s our list for 2019. Is there someone who should be in it who isn’t? Or someone who shouldn’t be? Or should some me higher or lower? Email your thoughts and suggestions to [email protected]
- Vietnamese ASEAN Secretary General listed one of 500 most powerful people on planet
- Vietnamese people rank 63rd happiest people in the world.
- More than 50,000 people pay tribute to President Ho Chi Minh
- Over 50,000 people pay tribute to President Ho Chi Minh
- Over 50,000 people join in protecting child rights
- Coffee that’s been brewing for 50 years in south Vietnam
- City leaders send deepest condolences to New Zealand people
- Engineer gives free training to young people
- Vinamilk continues to lead Forbes Vietnam’s top 50 brands list
- J.D. Power: service initiation weakest link in customer experience