Robert Sandall, who reviews John Alderman's Sonic Boom this month, is Virgin Records' director of communications - a nebulous title that allows him to meddle in many areas of the company's business, as well as obliging him to stay in touch with some of the journalists he met in his 10-year tenure as rock critic of the Sunday Times. He denies being a poacher-turned-gamekeeper since, in the age of Napster and OFT inquiries, he gets shot at from all sides, rather than just one.
Sir Paul Judge is probably best known for his role in founding Cambridge University's Judge Institute. He is now chairman of the Council of the Association of MBAs, but has previously worked at Cadbury-Schweppes, where he led a record pounds 97 million management buyout in 1985. He went on to form Premier Brands, before spending three years as director general of the Conservative Party. In this issue, Sir Paul writes about the need for a dynamic Europe in an increasingly competitive world.
'Who's got the biggest package?' asks MT's features editor Andrew Saunders in this month's global salary survey. His conclusions? If you're chief executive material, move to the US. If lifestyle really matters more to you than cash, try Spain. But if you've a head for figures and a penchant for grey suits, stay put in dear old Blighty. Once again our survey shows that UK accountants are better endowed than any of their international counterparts.
Stephen Cook's latest book The Real Cracker, published earlier this year, is about the psychologists who tell the police what kind of person they should be looking for in criminal inquiries. He has been a freelance journalist for four years, specialising in travel writing and crime and business, and is working on a magazine story about the gun-happy crack cocaine gangs in London. The subject of work and divorce is a newish area for him. In the case of his own divorce, he says, 'just for the record, work was a real lifeline'.
As editorial director of CSQuest.com, Robert Peston assesses European blue-chips according to financial data. But the idea that judgments could be based on verifiable information came as a shock to MT's regular columnist, who for most of the 1990s had been political editor of the FT. 'With politics,' he says, 'you identify a single fact and out of it construct an elaborate argument; with businesses, there's a surfeit of information: the trick is to work out what's relevant.'
The man who illustrated this month's cover feature has been in the business only a couple of years, having graduated from Bath College in 1999; since then, Ben Kirchner has worked on publications ranging from Official Playstation to the Guardian. He claims to live in the noisiest flat in central Bath, with a succession of buskers performing beneath his window. These range from an impressively talented African dance troupe to a man who seems to be dedicating his life to coaxing beautiful music from a saw.