Great business leaders tend to possess similar traits such as intelligence, tenacity, ingenuity and guile. But their routes to the top vary wildly and that is usually a story worth telling before you can predict what they will do next. It’s great fun examining their careers and motivations, and trying to whether their next step will confer similar success.
As an analyst, perhaps you’re looking to move into a different occupation by picking up a job from a site such as Jobstoday, perhaps you’re halfway through a career and wish to seek inspiration, or perhaps you’re just interested in people at the top of their game.
Here, then, are three leaders from very different backgrounds and sectors to keep an eye on throughout 2015:
If anyone was ever going to bet on themselves to make it big it was probably Denise Coates CBE, the founder and joint Chief executive of Bet365.
From a background in the typically macho world of football and betting – her father is the chairman of Stoke and formerly ran a betting shop himself – Coates was a visionary in the world of online gambling. Coates runs the company with her brother John and has amassed an estimated fortune of $1.6 bn after putting her cash behind her ideas, picking up the Bet365.com domain name and launching her own business, which later became a pioneer in ‘in-play’ betting.
The company has paid out dividends of around £225 m in the past six years, half of which has gone to Coates herself and placed her in the Forbes billionaires list. But if you’re feeling aggrieved at losing your stakes over the years through bad results on the pitch, turf and ring, this fact may console you somewhat: the recently launched Bet365 Foundation has given away at least £100m to charities, and scholarships, and might be worth watching next year.
The company continues to thrive with pre-tax profits of £319m, but otherwise very little is known about the company, other than the fact that it has a steady hand at the helm with the ability to foresee the future better than most of its users.
A chef as an inspirational leader? Definitely. When Noma restaurant in Copenhagen unexpectedly lost its crown as the best restaurant in the world in 2013, having won the accolade for the previous three years, a stoic but hurt Redzipi stated that the laws of awards were written by Newton: ‘What goes up must come down’.
Sometimes inspiration is simply a case of not panicking, and the duo retained the services of their crew from across the world, while upholding their belief of innovation, perfection and perseverance as the keys to success.
They continued to experiment with flavours and ingredients from across the planet and the steady approach paid off with the reclamation of their crown in 2014 from main rivals, Spanish restaurant El Celler de Can Roja, as reported by The Telegraph.
With a 20-serving taster menu including beef tartare and ants (yes you read that correctly), reindeer moss and ceps and cucumber and scallop fudge, Redzipi is a creative, dynamic chef who clearly refuses to let the (lemon) grass grow under his feet.
Noma is expanding into Japan for a brief period at the Tokyo Mandarin hotel in early 2015 (bookings started being taken in June) – and its head chef is finally on Facebook, in his own words ‘a decade late’.
Disappointingly Khan walked away from his part in a business accelerator for start-up companies in the US last month, having pumped just over $1m into the enterprise before falling out with management.
But never let it be said that the manufacturing magnate, worth an estimated $4.5bn, isn’t a believer that one can emerge from the bottom. In his own words, “I felt the American dream in my first 24 hours here.”
Kahn’s story – from arriving in the US at the age of 16 from Pakistan and studying at the University of Illinois while earning $1.20 an hour washing dishes to the ownership of auto-parts company Flex-n-Gate now operating in 48 countries – is the classic dishrags to riches story.
He may be known to UK football fans as the owner of Fulham and, rarely for a club owner, actually listened to supporters in taking on Kit Symons as full-time manager, after the haphazard reigns of the two previous incumbents.
But Khan’s real passion lies in the other type of football, having became the first ethnic minority owner of an NFL team in 2011 in the Jacksonville Jaguars. He is helping the NFL strengthen its brand in the UK by bringing the Jaguars over for four games in London.
Meanwhile Flex-n-Gate continues to innovate, working with Ford and OSRAM to develop the first full LED forward lighting system for a truck earlier this year, and was recently apparently spotted bringing his 308ft Kismet super yacht along the Thames – yours to borrow for a week for £940,000, according to the Daily Mail. Life certainly is not dull.