New Year Honours: Business - Accolade for the corner shop king

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The Independent Online
CLARE SPOTTISWOODE, former director of Ofgas, the industry regulator, is appointed CBE for services to the gas industry and its consumers.

Sir Alex Trotman is created a peer to mark his retirement as chairman, president and chief executive of Ford Motor Company, which he joined as a student trainee in 1955. He was born in Middlesex, served for four years in the Royal Air Force and took his degree at Michigan State University in America. He is also a director of ICI and the New York Stock Exchange.

Victor Blank, awarded a knighthood, has been deputy chairman of GUS since 1996 and became non-executive chairman of Mirror Group earlier this year. He became a partner of City bankers Charterhouse in 1969 and master-minded the buy-out of Woolworth from its American parent.

George Mathewson, also knighted, was chief executive of the Scottish Development Agency from 1981 to 1987 before joining the Royal Bank of Scotland. The SDA was credited with attracting US computer companies to invest in "silicon glen" and rebuild the Scottish economy at a time when its basic industries - steel, coal and shipbuilding - were in steep decline. Since he became chief executive of the RBS in 1992 its profits have risen from pounds 20m to pounds 1bn and it has successfuly diversified into financial services. John Kemp-Welch is made a knight. He has been chairman of the London Stock Exchange since July 1994. His career began in the City with private bankers Hoare & Co in 1954, moved to stockbrokers Cazenove in 1958 and became joint senior partner in 1980.

Mohammed Pervez, who is knighted in the New Year honours, was born in Pakistan and opened his first corner shop in 1963. He is the founder and chairman of Bestway, now the second biggest cash and carry group in the UK and a chain of convenience stores. Part of Bestway's profits go to the Bestway Foundation, which provides equipment for schools in needy areas and sponsors foreign students to study in the UK.