WELCOME to the 2011 edition of The Most Influential People in the North East.
This year sees the biggest change to our much-anticipated annual publication since its launch back in 2008, with the number of entries halved from the usual 500.
The prime motivation for the change is to home in on those individuals who really have the capacity to shape the future of the North East. And, this year, we are particularly focusing on those who have are especially influential in this region's economy.
So in the pages that follow, you won't find many of the familiar faces who have been mainstays of the Most Influential magazine in the past. Gone, for example, are most of the celebrities and sports stars, who may be very influential in many ways but have a limited impact on our region's economy. More controversially, you'll find a much smaller range of people from the public sector and politics represented this year after the decision was taken to focus primarily on those in the private sector. At a time when this region is looking to champion the role of private enterprise in driving the economy recovery, we just felt it was the right thing to do.
Those who shared that opinion were the influential panel of experts whom we called on to advise on who should make this year’s list. And this year we called exclusively upon senior representatives from the private sector to help identify those making a really important contribution to the North East economy - as well as those in other areas of public life who have a key role to play.
We anticipate that this year's list will prove our most controversial yet but make no apology for that. As ever, it's intended to be a talking point and everyone will have their own thoughts about who should or shouldn’t have been included. It doesn’t pretend to be an exhaustive list, either, but we think that the 250 people featured can certainly be considered to be among the key movers and shakers in the region.
The entries are not intended to be exhaustive biographies and will not cover all of the person’s roles and responsibilities.
With the economy still enduring some of its most challenging times in living memory, rarely has the role of this region's most influential individuals been more important.