Knighthood for British Airways boss

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British Airways chairman Martin Broughton has been honoured with a knighthood

British Airways chairman Martin Broughton has been knighted in the New Year Honours List – capping a busy 12 months in which the airline returned to profit and he oversaw the sale of Liverpool Football Club.

Sir Martin rose from humble beginnings to become one of the most respected men in the business world, making a name for himself during his 33 years at British American Tobacco (BAT) when he worked his way up from auditor to chief executive.

The knighthood follows a remarkable year for the former CBI president, in which troubled airline BA returned to half-year profits for the first time in two years despite the disruption caused by the Icelandic ash cloud.

This year, Sir Martin also took on the role of chairman of Liverpool FC when he won the love of its fans by engineering the sale of the debt-ridden club to new owners.

Sir Martin, who is married with two children, is a fan of football, and Chelsea in particular, but horseracing is his real love.

He is credited with helping to safeguard the future of the horseracing industry during his stint as chairman of the British Horseracing Board (BHB) between 2004 and 2007.

Sir Martin was born and raised in Fulham where his disabled father was a coach-trimmer, replacing the seats and trimmings on old cars. An average student, he discovered a talent for figures when he joined a small accountancy firm at the age of 18.

This led to him joining BAT six years later as an auditor which was the start he needed to work his way up to the position of chief executive in 1993, before becoming chairman in 1998. During his time at the firm, he was no stranger to controversy and once famously admitted that he would not like his two children to smoke.

By the time Sir Martin left the company to be chairman of BA in 2004, it had recorded five successive years of increased profit margins.

There were also knighthoods for Richard Lambert, the outgoing director-general of the CBI, and Roger Carr, chairman of energy giant Centrica. This year Sir Roger, 64, has presided over a huge increase in profits at Centrica-owned British Gas and the hotly-disputed sale of Cadbury to US food giant Kraft.

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