Boo are the heroes and villains of 2012?

THE Christmas panto season is in full swing — what better time for Sun City to roll out its Business Heroes and Villains of 2012!

HEROES

Hero | Diageo CEO Paul Walsh has been an inspirational figure in business during 2012. (Image | The Spirits Business)
Hero | Paul Walsh, CEO of Diageo, has been an inspirational figure in business during 2012. (Image | The Spirits Business)
Paul Walsh, CEO of Diageo

BRITAIN needs champions and in a turbulent year drinks giant DIAGEO has stood head and shoulders above its rivals in the world — luckily for us as it was one of our six Sun City stocks to follow for 2012.

Diageo sells Guinness to Africa and Johnnie Walker to the Chinese and is rather good at it, with annual profits up 32 per cent. Arise Sir Paul? A knighthood beckons.

Warren East, Arm

HE shies away from publicity, but Warren East is running a business famous in the boardrooms of APPLE, MICROSOFT and SAMSUNG for its microchips.

After huge success in the mobile phone market, ARM HOLDINGS is targeting areas such as fridges and the medical sector.

It is one of the firms turning the sleepy suburbs of Cambridge into “Silicon Fen”.

Ken McMeikan, Greggs

COMETH the hour, cometh the man.

When Chancellor George Osborne dared to tax the nation’s pasties, Ken stood shoulder to shoulder with British bakers and The Sun to force one of many memorable U-turns.

The alarm at his decision to join privately-owned food service giant BRAKES GROUP two weeks ago shows what an important job he has done.

Julie Deane, CSC

THE boss of CAMBRIDGE SATCHEL COMPANY is an inspiration for anyone wondering if they can make a go of it in business.

Julie started out designing satchels in 2007 to raise money to send her kids to private school.

They are now sold in 100 countries and the company was featured in ads for GOOGLE CHROME this year.

A five-star, feel-good story.

Justin King, Sainsbury’s

WE love our supermarkets on Sun City and this was a year when everything came together for long-standing SAINSBURY’S boss Justin King.

Fierce rival TESCO had an unprecedented profit warning — and for much of 2012 Paralympics sponsor Sainsbury’s was the fastest growing of the “Big Four” grocers.

Next year will be tough but for now, the King deserves his crown.

Mario Draghi, ECB

DURING a year in which Europe really did fiddle and do nothing while Rome and other southern capitals burned, “Super Mario” did at least try to pull the eurozone back from the brink.

The European Central Bank President flooded troubled banks with cut-price funding and cheap money.

It remains to be seen if all the effort he made was worth it.

VILLAINS

Villain | OpCapita's Henry Jackson has profited from the collapse of Comet and mass redundancies. (Image | Daily Mail)
Villain | OpCapita’s Henry Jackson has profited from the collapse of Comet and mass redundancies. (Image | Daily Mail)
Henry Jackson, OpCapita boss

HENRY Jackpot will forever be linked with COMET.

Given £50million to take on the chain in February, the private equity firm walked away from Comet’s collapse with another £50million.

OpCapita and its backers also shared £13million for interest and “monitoring fees” while Comet traded.

Nearly 7,000 jobs have gone and the scandal triggered a Parliamentary inquiry.

Nick Buckles, G4S

WHO could forget the huge fiasco before the Olympics? Nick Buckles of G4S probably wishes he could have his time all over again after the security cock-up that dragged the company’s name through the mud.

Three senior execs have quit G4S since the 2012 Games finished, yet the chief executive is managing to cling on — at least for now…

The UK banking sector

COULD it get any worse?

In a dire year, the PPI mis-selling bill hit £13billion and the Libor scandal shamed the City, sparking a clear-out at BARCLAYS, including the chief exec Bob Diamond.

HSBC and STANDARD CHARTERED breached money laundering rules and giants such as LLOYDS and the CO-OP were panned for pressuring staff to hit sales targets.

Kris Engskov, Starbucks UK

THE American turned from coffee king to laughing stock when a tax row rocked the famous chain. He insisted Starbucks contributed to the UK economy by buying up UK-produced cakes, sandwiches and milk.

That’s all right then… The row forced Starbucks into making a £20million donation to the Treasury to prevent a customer boycott.

Ivan Glasenberg, Glencore

AS chief exec of the global commodities giant, Ivan Glasenberg has to carry the can for one of best-remembered quotes of the year.

Glencore said the global food crisis — sparked by the “Dust Bowl” in the US and poor harvests in Russia — was GOOD for business.

It added: “High prices, lots of volatility. The environment is a good one.”

The taxman

IN the age of austerity, with a big squeeze on incomes, HM Revenue & Customs chases, harangues and threatens thousands of pensioners in a bid to recoup money IT wrongly paid out in the first place.

Nothing sums up the pain caused by automated mailouts and frustration with under-staffed call centres more than dealing with the Taxman.

Article written by Steve Hawkes, Sun City business editor, and sub edited by myself.


Originally published in The Sun on Saturday December 22 2012.

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