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Meet the Archetypal UK Boss – A 54-year-old Guy Called Andrew

Ever wondered what it takes to get to the top of the professional tree? A good education is a good start. So is a good work ethic. The right connections never hurt.

But your chances really improve if your name is Andrew…

UK Boss Archetype

Name: Andrew
Gender: Male
Ethnicity: White British
Age: 54 (almost 55)
Education: Nottingham University

UK boss archetype

Stormline revealed earlier in the year that running into patronising men at work is one of the big turn-offs for women thinking about entering male-dominated industries like fishing and engineering. Our research was well received. It was cited by top American lifestyle publication, The Telegraph and even the Sydney Morning Herald.

As a follow up, we’ve crunched some numbers on UK’s top* 100 companies, to reveal a UK boss archetype.

This boss archetype cuts a predictable figure. They’re male, white, went to a non-elite British university like Nottingham and are most likely to be aged 54. The most common name found among UK bosses is Andrew.

These seven names – Andrew or Andy, James, John, Peter, Ian, Mark or Marc or Richard – represent 32% of all UK bosses at top firms.

Female names constitute just 6% of the total variety of names currently occupying top positions within Britain’s biggest 100 firms, with bosses called Alison (Cooper, Imperial Tobacco), Melissa (Potter, Clarks Shoes), Lindsey (Pownall, Samworth Brothers) Theresa (T.J Morris), Anna (Stewart, Laing O’Rourke) and Veronique (Laury, Kingfisher PLC) representing female CEOs.

In fact the imbalance is so bad, there are 50% more Andrews than women running the UK’s top firms.

So if you’ve got plans of running one of Britain’s biggest companies, it might help if you’ve got a traditional Hebrew (John, Ian) Greek (Andrew, Peter) or Latin (James, Mark) name. Your odds will also increase to better than 9/1 if you are a man.

Of the names on display in the 100 top board rooms around the UK, more than half (53%) were one-offs; ranging from a Merlin, Jebb, Nicandro, Zameer and Pascal to Ralph, Jason, Nigel, Norman and Bob.

Want the top job? Change your name to Andrew…

Men called Andrew currently bossing it in the UK’s biggest firms

  • Andrew Witty – CEO, GlaxoSmithKline
  • Andy Hornby – chief executive, Gala Coral Group
  • Andy Harrison – CEO, Whitbread
  • Andy Parker – chief executive Capita
  • Andy Street – managing director John Lewis
  • Andy Long – CEO of Pentland Group (the chairman is Andy Rubin)
  • Andrew Goodsell – CEO, Acromas Holdings (Saga Group & The AA)
  • Andrew Mackenzie – CEO, BHP Billiton (Andrew went to the University of St. Andrews, obviously).

Zameer (Choudrey, boss of Bestway Group), Jebb (Kitchen, boss of Bibby Line), Merlin (Bingham Swire, boss of Swire Group) and Nicandro (Durante, boss of British American Tobacco) make up the pick of most original boy’s names.

Top boss names by volume
Name Volume
Andy/Andrew 8
James 4
John 4
Peter 4
Ian 4
Mark/Marc 4
Richard 4
Rob/Bob 3
David/Dave 3
William 3
Alex/Alexander 2
Martin 2
Paul 2
Simon 2
Antony 1
Mike 1
Adel 1
Alan 1
Albert 1
Alison 1
Anders 1
Antonio 1
Arnold 1
Ashley 1
Ben 1
Bernard 1
Chris 1
Dimitris 1
Douglas 1
Gavin 1
George 1
Howard 1
Ivan 1
Jason 1
Julian 1
Kate 1
Ken 1
Lindsey 1
Malcolm 1
Melissa 1
Nicandro 1
Nick 1
Nigel 1
Norman 1
Pascal 1
Philip 1
Rajesh 1
Ralph 1
Ranjit 1
Anna 1
Ross 1
Rupert 1
Sam 1
Sean 1
Stefano 1
Stuart 1
Theresa 1
Tom 1
Vittorio 1
Merlin 1
Zameer 1
Daniel 1
Veronique 1
Graeme 1
Jebb 1

Previous research from Stormline revealed that construction and engineering roles were among the least appealing to women, with 1 in 5 females saying they’d expect to encounter patronising male colleagues if they were to work in so-called ‘male-orientated’ industries.

Regan McMillan, boss of Stormline, said; “Despite the worryingly low percentage of women running the UK’s big firms, I’m glad to see females occupying the top roles at construction firm Laing O’Rourke and home improvement group Kingfisher PLC, as these are industries that our previous research suggests may be unattractive to women.”

*Based on top 50 private and top 50 public companies in UK, correct as of August 10th 2015.


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