No 85

Sir Rodney Walker

Pocket profile

Straight-talking Yorkshire businessman who chaired Bradford Hospitals trust before chairing - and then becoming president of - the late NHS Trust Federation.

What is he famous for?

He was involved in a 1993 federation coup in which he was persuaded by a group of moderate trust chairs to stand against Central Middlesex trust chair Martin McNichol. Despite being almost unknown, he won - and dominated the organisation for two years.

Where is he now?

Probably en route to London, Leicester, Leeds, or Sydney.

He was recently appointed chair of the UK Sports Council (in London), the body tasked with developing British sporting expertise. He is chair of Leicester City football club. And he is chair of the Rugby Football League until the end of the season (It's twin homes are Leeds and Sydney).

Fond NHS memories?

Mixed. 'Those of us who were the 57 first-wave trusts chairs thought we were going to take the NHS into a new and different era... change things, reduce bureaucracy, get more money to the leading edge of healthcare... I actually wonder if we made any difference at all.'

How does the NHS compare with the Sports Council?

'Sport is more straightforward. With the NHS, I do feel that at times it was like wrestling with a marshmallow the size of a towerblock.'