Skilful politicians of the corporate corridors know that company stars can rise and fall at lightning speed, which makes choosing the stars of tomorrow a hazardous enterprise. Even so, the people on our list already have a record of high achievement and are likely to find themselves in influential roles.
Carl Michel, for example, has already restructured and transformed the British Airways' German subsidiary, Deutsche BA, an airline that has helped promote a revolution in the staid German travel industry Michel's reward has been a seat on the main BA board and a job as its commercial director. Insiders reckon he will be a strong candidate to succeed Bob Ayling as chief executive. Andrew Bonfield is already the finance director of SmithKline Beecham, one of the world's biggest drug companies, and in a prime position to jump into another big job in British industry once the merger between SmithKline Beecham and Glaxo Wellcome is bedded in.
Also in a senior finance role is Ian Livingstone, the finance director of Dixons - one of the old-economy companies most switched on to the new economy as it has proved with its success with Freeserve. Pippa Wickes comes from a finance background; she was consultant with Bain before becoming finance director of Courtaulds, and she is now heading up Pearson's new management training business.
We think we are safe in assuming that Elisabeth Murdoch will have an important role to play within News Corp - assuming, that is, the younger generation manages to keep control of the empire and that it doesn't get snapped up by the acquisitive Vivendi, Yahoo! or one of the other internet giants hungry for content.
Carl Michel, 35 - British Airways
Michel stepped down as the head of Deutsche BA to join Bob Ayling's top management team.
Pippa Wickes, 37 - Pearson
Financial director of Courtaulds Textiles at just 30, Wickes is now MD of Pearson's new internet training team.
Nick Prettejohn, 39, Lloyd's of London
The head of Lloyd's of London, Prettejohn became chief executive in 1998.
Ian Livingstone, 35, Dixons
Livingstone joined the Dixons board in 1997 and a year later he was finance director; by far the youngest director the group has ever had.
Rowan Gormley, 37, Virgin Group
The former CEO of Virgin Direct, the group's financial services division, Gormley is now setting up Virgin Wine - a direct wine-sales arm.
Andrew Bonfield, 37, SmithKline Beecham
Appointed chief financial officer of the pharma giant on 1 January 1999, Bonfield became one of the youngest directors in the FTSE-100.