About a year ago we had an idea for an exhibition that would present the face of business for the new century, as captured in the faces of those who look set to be the business leaders of the future. Its aim was to identify the new breed, whose management style and spirit will shape the new economy. It would celebrate their success as well as the photographic tradition of Management Today.
That vision comes to fruition in an exhibition this month at the National Portrait Gallery in London - Management Today Management Tomorrow, 21 leaders for the 21st century. It is a unique opportunity to see one of the country's leading galleries recognise our contemporary business leaders.
Seldom do the worlds of art and business combine in this extraordinary way. Selection did not follow a precise formula, but we consulted widely, notably with our sponsor, Spencer Stuart, the executive search consultants, and after many discussions and negotiations we think we have it right.
All of the people in the exhibition are outstanding in their fields. Despite their achievement, every one is under 40. Some are in their twenties.
It can be said of each that he or she has more of a future than a past.
From Elisabeth Murdoch, who is on our cover this month, to John Pluthero, Martha Lane Fox and Charles Dunstone, these are some of the people who will help shape the future world of work and beyond. They will help to decide the way we communicate and spend our leisure time, as well as contributing to the nation's economic health. Everyone on the list has worked hard for their place. What links them all is a level of talent, industry and drive that is helping to create and develop some of Britain's top businesses. Some have made enormous wealth for themselves, others make it for their companies.
Some, such as Hugh Osmond, were so busy closing deals it was difficult to pin them down for a sitting.
Youth and the future also took their places on the other side of the camera, where four young high-achieving photographers added to the concept of the exhibit. Their portfolios cover the range from pop to politics.
Some already have work hanging in the National Portrait Gallery. Harry Borden, for example, will be familiar to MT readers for his portraits, which accompany Andrew Davidson's interviews.
As with any viewing, there comes a point when one steps back to take it all in - and in this case the face of the future reflects the changes in business and commerce that have come with the digital age. One in every three of the 21 young business leaders operates in that digital economy.
Coincidentally, this month we find ourselves launching a new section of the magazine that also reflects these changes. We call it section e. It will be with us on a regular basis. We hope you like it and hope it helps. Let us know.