Cynthia Bower, chief executive, Care Quality Commission

Last year HSJ’s top 50 tipped Cynthia Bower as a strategic health authority chief executive (of NHS West Midlands) who was going places. This year she emerged as the first chief executive of the Care Quality Commission, which has taken over the regulatory role of the Healthcare Commission, the Commission for Social Care Inspection and the Mental Health Act Commission.

Ms Bower is considered ideal for the role because of her background in both health and social care and her appointment was warmly welcomed by many in both sectors. She began her career in social care, becoming assistant director of social services at Birmingham city council in 1992.