Our weekly guide to healthcare's most influential people

Name: Professor Ian Kennedy Job: Chair, Bristol inquiry Style: 'Cerebral'academic who 'doesn't talk down to people', whose insistence on an 'open, accessible and inclusive'inquiry set the standard for others to follow.

Hi-tech screens, dedicated expert witnesses and a playroom featured in the biggest public inquiry ever.The prof steers clear of personal publicity, but his incisive remarks have marked the hearings.'One of the features of our taking evidence is that no matter whom we have spoken to... they have always found someone else to be responsible, 'he noted, as the Department of Health passed the buck back to doctors.And he 'loves sport', watches rugby at Twickenham and is 'devoted to his family'.

Background: Heavy hitter in the medical ethics and law field.Now a professor at University College London and chair of the Nuffield council on bioethics, he has a long transatlantic academic record and has been a member of the British Medical Association ethics committee, the General Medical Council, the BBC's general advisory council, the medicines commission and the DoH expert advisory group on AIDS.And a few more.Was called to the Bar in 1974 and is a member of the Garrick Club.

But the man whose 1980 Reith lectures became the book Unmasking Medicine has a track record of taking on vested interests, with his early advocacy of 'professional audit', provoking doctors'ire.

Future prospects: A holiday, perhaps, after the three-year inquiry.But top-level advisory and inquiry committees on all the vexed questions of the 21st century will be eyeing him up already.And his Bristol report will mark a watershed.