PAUL Thandi - chief executive of the NEC Group - has been named the most influential person in the West Midlands.
The businessman, who is also president of the Solihull Chamber of Commerce, has topped this year’s Power 50 - an annual list of the West Midland’s biggest hitters.
Mr Thandi, who was fifth in last year’s list, has knocked Government minister Liam Byrne off the top spot. In second place is Paul Kehoe - who became the chief executive of Birmingham International Airport last year.
Dermot Finch, who headed up the judging panel, said that the two men could be vital in leading the region out of the recession.
“This year’s Power 50 aims to capture the turning point in the city’s fortunes,” he said.
“It looks back, celebrating those familiar faces that have driven the city’s success so far. And it looks forward, recognising the new and emerging talent that the city will need to navigate the ups and downs of the global economy.”
Chelmsley Wood chef Glynn Purnell was among the many new entries. Shooting to fame on BBC’s The Great British Menu, the restauranteur has gone from strength to strength and was recently awarded a Michelin star for his city centre restaurant.
David Smith, Jaguar Land Rover boss, and Dorridge man Jerry Blackett, who leads the Birmingham Chamber of Commerce, also made the list - which is compiled by the Birmingham Post and Birmingham Future.