Our weekly guide to healthcare's most influential people

Name: Barry Hassell Job: Chief executive, Independent Healthcare Association Style:19th century explorer, whose ventures into uncharted territory include signing the concordat between the Labour government and the private healthcare sector.'He's got a beard - he's an out-in-thewilds kind of guy.'Also 'committed to good works'in the philanthropic tradition.But do not mess with him - he's a got a black belt in Aikido.A 'university of life'man, 'highly intelligent, by far the most intelligent person I've ever worked with'.Sense of humour has left government advisers, Tory and Labour, crying with laughter.HSJ has been advised that mention of black puddings can set him off.

Background: Has held the top job at the IHA since 1992 and is vice-president of the European Union of Private Hospitals.But the privateers'great advocate, whose words adorn the website of Conservative Way Forward (president: M Thatcher, vice-presidents C Parkinson, N Tebbit) actually has a background in the not-for-profit voluntary sector.Fought to save Tadworth Court children's hospital - at the time an offshoot of the NHS's Great Ormond Street, then turned it into a charitable trust.Was also project director of Project Bombay, which built a centre for young people with multiple disabilities in India, and before that worked for the Spastics Society (now SCOPE).

Future prospects: Watch that pen come out again for 'Concordat 2', on long-term care.Look out for him on the conference circuit, on the honours list - or white-water rafting, abseiling or trekking round the globe.Charities will line up for him as a patron.