Chair, National Institute for Health and Clinical Excellence (2010 ranking: 34)

One half of the team that has been at the top of NICE since its creation in 1999, Sir Michael was given special dispensation by the Appointments Commission to stay on beyond the usual 10-year tenure. A professor of clinical pharmacology and a practising consultant in the field for more than 30 years, Sir Michael’s background won him respect and lends weight to the tough decisions NICE has to make. It is no doubt a measure of his effectiveness that he has been given further dispensation to stay on until 2013 when NICE takes on responsibility for social care as well.