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Business

1. Michael Chaney

2. John Akehurst

3. John Roberts

4. Len Buckeridge

5. Peter Lalor

6. Bill Wyllie

7. Janet Holmes á Court

8. Tony Howarth

LIKE most other areas, business influence is not always cut and dried. However, starting with the heads of WA’s two biggest companies – according to the latest WA Business News Book of Lists – seems appropriate.

Both Wesfarmers and Woodside have a huge role in shaping the future of the State.

Michael Chaney is not just a darling of the stock market who has proved the branch office can be reversed in Perth’s favour.

As managing director of Wes-farmers he has turned what was often thought of as a dinosaur of a company into WA’s largest publicly- listed powerhouse. The conglomerate has interests in mining, transport, retail and energy.

He also wields huge influence over the arts scene.

John Akehurst, meanwhile, successfully convinced Canberra that Woodside should remain Australian.

He is soon to oversee one of the largest projects to come to WA for some time, when Wood-side begins constructing its fourth LNG train.

Builders are prominent in this list. Multiplex chief John Roberts has won many of WA’s biggest projects, despite the WA’s difficult industrial landscape, and has an inter-national presence.

Multiplex was responsible for the construction of Stadium Australia – the main venue of the 2000 Sydney Olympic Games.

It has also won the job to rebuild Wembley Stadium in London – an icon to soccer fans and concert goers.

Len Buckeridge’s hard-nosed attitude to business has led to claims that his company is responsible for WA housing construction prices being considerably lower than those in other States.

While the company is often seen as a mid-tier builder, it is starting to make inroads into the premium end of the construction market.

Peter Lalor is not just head of one of WA’s most successful mining houses, he is also president of the WA Chamber of Minerals and Energy, deputy chairman of the Australian Gold Council and a director of the World Gold Council.

Besides running Sons of Gwalia, Mr Lalor is also a director of Gold Corporation Australia.

Bill Wyllie is notable for his stakes in Burs-wood and the convention centre.

He is well regarded in the property scene, having been part of the major property boom in Hong Kong.

Janet Holmes á Court may well have divested much of her empire but she remains influential in the arts and politics.

She is also taking a greater role in charitable causes.

Tony Howarth is Westpac’s representative in WA, chairs AlintaGas and is president of the Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

While his role with Westpac may seem ceremonial to some, his contribution to WA business through his other business positions is noteworthy.

Others who could have easily held a place on this list include inventor and property developer Ralph Sarich, property developer Stan Perron, engineer Harold Clough and broker and business adviser John Poynton, who features in another list.

John Rothwell should also rate a mention.

He has shown that WA can produce internationally successful manufacture and is also very influential when it comes to industrial relations and training matters.

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