One of the more unusual Christmas presents for the successful businessman last year was the gift of a hair transplant. A full head of hair on men has long been associated with virility and we apparently want our leaders to be strong and virile.

But in some parts of the world a full head of hair alone is not masculine enough. To be taken seriously men must also have abundant facial hair. Ali Mezdegi is a cosmetic surgeon, part of a booming health tourism industry in Turkey, where over the last couple of years beard and moustache implants have become very popular.

‘Could a lack of facial hair be a disadvantage for the NHS leaders of tomorrow?’

Irfan Atik is general manager of a Turkish tourism agency that specialises in hair transplants for men. He estimates that 50 foreign tourists a day visit Istanbul for the facial hair transplant procedure, which costs around £1,400, including medical and hotel fees for the four-day trip.

To date, most of the customers have been from the Middle East. As the West seeks to revive its faltering economy by doing more business with wealthy Middle Eastern countries, will 2013 see the growth of facial hair among the business community here in the UK?

As the public sector is encouraged to copy the private sector, will we see thick moustaches appearing on the upper lips of ambitious male chief executives? Could a lack of facial hair become a social disadvantage for the would be NHS leaders of tomorrow? In Turkish there is a word for it “kose” − baldness of the face.