Greta Thunberg_crop

FEATURE23 December 2019

Review 2019: person of the year

Asia Pacific Europe Features Latin America Middle East and Africa North America People Trends UK

When your surname is superfluous, you know you’ve made it. And so it was with Greta…with notable mentions for several others.

Greta Thunberg

Ben Page, chief executive, Ipsos Mori
Greta Thunberg – this year saw climate change break through as an issue – first time it ever featured in the top five issues in a General Election, and highest ever level of concern around the world.

Jane Rudling, managing director, Walnut Unlimited
Greta Thunberg – she has shown that a young person with drive and passion can influence global thinking and encourage change for the better.

Laura Ratcliffe, managing director, Flamingo 
The Greta effect is undeniable. I am excited to see our children, particularly girls, speaking up, and adults starting to listen and take action. It is a challenge to us as researchers to ensure their voice is being heard in our work.  

Crawford Hollingworth, co-founder, The Behavioural Architects
Greta Thunberg; closely followed by Olivia Colman – a phenomenally talented woman who reminded the world that Brits are wonderful, intelligent quirky human beings.

Within the market research industry

Jane Frost, chief executive, Market Research Society
There are two people I would like to highlight this year – Michael Brown MMRS, head of insight, UM and his team for setting up MRS Pride – supported by our very own John Bizzell.

The other is Liz Nelsen OBE who is both an early pioneer for our sector as well as a female one. Founder and chair of Taylor Nelson Sofrès (TNS) from 1965 until 1992, Liz continues to drive standout work including helping to create an archive which captures the considerable contribution that research has made to social welfare in this country and beyond.

Nick Baker, UK chief executive, Savanta
Sir John Curtice…again showing how much what we do matters and how done properly it is so, so much better.

Ben Hogg, managing director EMEA and APAC, Lucid
Professionally – Qualtrics’ Ryan Smith (although the acquisition by SAP was announced in 2018, it only completed in 2019 ). Achieving a 20X multiple on revenue made a lot of people in our space re-evaluate their businesses and shone a spotlight onto our industry.

Personally – Ben Stokes. He turned my wife and young daughters into cricket fans on two occasions this year. He absolutely deserved BBC Sports Personality of the Year.

Emma Cooper, managing director, group operations, System1
It’s a tie between my System1 colleague, Orlando Wood for his contribution to advertising literature with Lemon. Alongside my WIRexec colleague, Shazia Ginai, for providing inspiration to women in the industry by becoming a young female CEO, while also doing great charity work for Endometriosis UK.

Notable others

Babita Earle, executive vice-president, strategic and industry partnerships, ZappiStore 
My person of the year is Jacinda Ardene, Prime Minister of New Zealand. She is someone that completely inspires as a leader. Her empathy and decisive no-nonsense approach to tragic events in New Zealand have been seriously impressive. You see her connect on a level with people that is rare among politicians today.

Joe Staton, client strategy director, GfK
Emily Maitlis. She’s taught me everything I need to know about improving my interview technique. Everyone who works in or with the media needs to watch the Prince Andrew interview – it should be compulsory viewing.

Deborah Mattinson, founding partner, BritainThinks
David Attenborough – he has championed the environment in a way that is engaging and persuasive. In BritainThinks’ latest leadership study he was the preferred leader of any party!

Paul Twite, managing director for Europe & MENA, ITWP
I heard Guyanese-British business owner and activist Gina Miller speak at event my daughter was attending and it was one of the most compelling and inspirational speeches on standing up for what you believe in.