Having covered the city’s most famous and influential citizens over the century, we now turn to present-day London. There are many men and women who help make Greater London what it is, the movers and shakers who control the wealth, power, and adoration of the masses. Of course, there are plenty of powerful people in London, but for the purposes of this article, we omit most of those who have national significance, such as Prime Minister Theresa May or Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, as well as any actors, musicians, athletes, etc. Additionally, this is by no means a limited list, so let us know some of your suggestions in the comments.
Sadiq Khan – Mayor of London
The current mayor of London, Sadiq Khan takes over the still relatively new position of the most powerful municipal official in the city, a post held previously by Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson. Born in Tooting and having been a solicitor before going into politics, Khan represented the constituency as a member of the Labour Party beginning in 2005. As mayor, his authority is over planning, housing, transportation, emergency planning, police, fire, and more. He presides over the Greater London Council and has authority over each borough, each of which has a mayor who acts in a more ceremonial capacity.
Mike Brown – Transport for London Commissioner
If you’ve taken public transport, you have been under the power of Mike Brown. As the Commissioner for Transport for London, Brown oversees the London Underground, Overground, Docklands Light Railway, TfL Rail, trams, buses, taxis, bicycling, and more. He’s had a long history moving people about, having been COO of the London Underground as well as Heathrow Airport. He is now responsible for “the largest integrated Transport Authority in the world.”
António Horta Osório – CEO, Lloyds Banking Group
The city’s top banker, António Horta Osório has been in charge of the city’s (and the country’s) largest bank since 2011. He’s had a long history in executive management with CitiBank Portugul, Santander, and others, bringing his golden touch to each company for whom he’s worked. He’s also proven to be a progressive thinker, promising to bring 1,000 women into top jobs at Lloyds. Controlling one of the largest banks puts him squarely on the list.
Joanne McCartney – Deputy Mayor of London
Of course, London’s mayor can’t do it all himself. Joanne McCartney was a barrister and later commissioner in the London Assembly for the district of Enfield and Heringey, beginning in 2004. She was appointed as Deputy Mayor by Mayor Khan after his election in 2016 and is at the forefront of keeping London safe from a legislative standpoint as well as tackling issues of public health. As Deputy Mayor, she is the second-most powerful person in the city and would act as mayor in case of emergency when Mayor Khan is unavailable.
John Hall – Dean of Westminster Abbey
While Archbishop of Canterbury lives in London and has responsibility over the whole of the Church of England, John Hall, Dean of Westminster, is perhaps the most important religious minister for London. The Church’s proximity to the Palace of Westminster has cemented its importance for centuries. It is the site of kings’ and queens’ coronations, important trials, and the funerals for important British figures. As the Abbey is a Royal Peculiar, Reverend Hall is responsible to the Queen as her personal chaplain. He also has responsibility for the spiritual health of his parishioners and the greater Westminster community.
Bernard Hogan-Howe – Commissioner of the Police of the Metropolis
The title may seem a bit long-winded, but it means that Bernard Hogan-Howe is the present head of the Metropolitan Police. As Commissioner, Hogan-Howe is responsible for police all over Greater London (with the exception of the City of London, which has its own service). With the resignation of Sir Paul Stephenson, Hogan-Howe became Acting Commissioner and won the position himself in 2011. The position is one that has existed since Sir Robert Peel created the Met and Hogan-Howe is the most powerful police officer in the United Kingdom, even though his authority is limited to Greater London.
Jeffrey Evans – Lord Mayor of the City of London
Though an honorary title, Jeffrey Evans, Fourth Baron Mountevans, is the current Mayor for the City of London, a position elected amongst the City Aldermen. The position of Lord Mayor was created in 1189, and though made ceremonial with the creation of the Greater London Authority, there is still a great deal of influence. The Lord Mayor presides over both the City Aldermen and the Court of Common Council as well as hosting a number of important officials from the UK and around the world. He also serves as the city’s Chief Magistrate, Admiral of the Port of London, Chancellor of City University, Trustee of St. Paul’s Cathedral, and several other positions. The Lord Mayor serves for a period of only one year.
Nick Jones – Entrepreneur
Cities never really sleep, they only become different animals at nighttime. Businessman Nick Jones knows that better than most, being responsible has opened some of the best-known and most successful restaurants, cinemas, spas, night clubs, hotels, and health clubs as the CEO of Soho House UK Ltd. Jones is a man who knows how to take care of people after they leave work and give them what they want to relax and have a good time. His hotels are not just the trendiest place in London, but the most happening spots in any country where they open.
Mark Carney – Governor of the Bank of England
While António Horta Osório may control the largest bank in the UK, the Bank of England is one of the most important institutions and its Governor is perhaps one of the highest civil positions in Britain. The position goes back to the 17th Century and is at the centre of the country’s finances. It is the Governor who is responsible for helping to keep the economy afloat and interest rates low, while overseeing every other bank in the UK.
James Harding – BBC Director of News and Current Affairs
When one lives in the capital city, you are at the heart of the news and it’s an important job to keep the public informed. Harding spent much of his career at the Financial Times where he rose to the post of Editor before leaving in 2013 and joining the BBC. Harding was brought in partly to help the BBC gets its teeth back when it came to investigative journalism. With a worldwide audience of 250 million, Harding oversees all the news that comes out of London concerning the city, the country, and the world.
andrew pattenden says
I would suggest Iain Sinclair, a writer who has done much to reveal the hidden mysteries of the city to a wider audience. An honourable mention should also go to Peter Ackroyd as well.
Edward_YYJ (@Edward_YYJ) says
When I read the bio for Mike Brown, towards the end all I could hear was Sir Humphrey saying to Jim Hacker, “Generalisamo for transport,” in Yes, Minister!