managing director, Spirit (Punch Taverns) (13)
Why he is on the list:
Spirit runs 800 pubs across the UK as the managed arm of Britain's biggest operator Punch. It's a mixed estate that has seen heavy investment since Knight moved across from private equity-owned Spirit to become a Punch staffer when it was acquired. Chef & Brewer is its best-known brand, with value-driven Two For One gaining prominence.
What the past year has held:
Spirit has been busy slimming down its staffing numbers and launching several new concepts including a new Grill House format. It has also adopted the Good Night Inns moniker as part of concerted plans to establish a place in the growing budget letting room market. It has also ramped up its green credentials with a series of energy-reduction initiatives.
More retail innovation looks likely, particularly on food — a format that pushes Two for One into smaller pubs is being developed. Further energy-reduction measures are due, to cut the company's carbon footprint 17% by 2010. At least one senior analyst, Geof Collyer of Deutsche Bank, is still unimpressed by Spirit's performance under Punch auspices.