Around 700 new entries are included in Who’s Who 2020, a selection of which appear here.
Credit for photograph of Tony Adams, MBE: Stuart Macfarlane
Tony Adams is a former football player and manager, having played for Arsenal and England and leading both teams as Captain. He has published two books, Addicted and Sober, sharing his troubles with addiction, and became the Founder and President of the Sporting Chance Charity Clinic, a charity dedicated to helping other struggling sports professionals.
Credit for photograph of Rashmi Becker: Mickael Marso Riviere
Rashmi Becker enjoyed a varied career in communications, including postings with the European Parliament and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, before founding Step Change Studios in 2017. She was Director of the English Federation of Disability Sport from 2013¬ until 2016, and is a Trustee of Sport England. She has run four marathons, most recently New York in 2015.
Born in Poland in 1929, Sir Ben Helfgott is a Holocaust concentration camp survivor who went on to compete as a weightlifter in the Olympics, World Championships and the Commonwealth Games. He was knighted in 2018 and has won several lifetime awards for his achievements and devotion to helping fellow Jews affected by the Holocaust.
Josette Simon is a British actor who has been performing across stage, television, film and radio since 1980. She has appeared in cult television series such as Casualty, Skins and Broadchurch; acted in blockbusters like Wonder Woman and Pokémon Detective Pikachu and is an Associate Artist of the Royal Shakespeare Company. Simon is also a patron of various deafness charities. Her recreations include yoga and swing dancing.
A celebrated musical theatre choreographer and dancer, Anthony Van Laast spent several years performing with London Contemporary Dance Theatre. He then choreographed the first ever production of Mamma Mia! in 1999, followed by Jesus Christ Superstar and Sister Act. He has also worked on films such as Beauty and the Beast (2017) and is a patron of The Place. His recreations include ‘collecting art’ and ‘white goods shopping’.
Anne-Marie Imafidon is the Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer of Stemettes. Born in Barking, she studied Maths and Computer Science at Keble College, Oxford where she became an Honorary Fellow in 2017. She is a Member of the Council of the British Library and Royal College of Art and was awarded an MBE in 2017. In her spare time she enjoys eating, cooking and watching TV.
Who’s Who contains biographies of all kinds of people from all parts of the world and from all walks of life: the arts, business and finance, the church, the civil service, education, entertainment, sport, government, the law, local government, the media, medicine, professional institutions, science and the trade unions.
Each edition of Who’s Who now contains over 35,000 entries, with approximately one thousand new names appearing for the first time each year.
Uniquely among biographical reference works, entries in Who’s Who are retained for the life of the biographee (being transferred on his or her death to Who Was Who). Who’s Who therefore has an unrivalled historical perspective, listing those who lead and influence the world today, side by side with their living predecessors.
How Are People Chosen for Inclusion?
An invitation to appear in Who’s Who recognises distinction and influence.
‘What is it that really puts the stamp of eminence on a modern British life? Two things count today: having an entry in Who’s Who and being asked to choose your eight favourite records on BBC’s Desert Island Discs.’ – The Wall Street Journal
The editor of the 1897 edition wrote in his preface that Who’s Who seeks to recognise people whose “prominence is inherited, or depending on office, or the result of ability which singles them out from their fellows”. In essence, this continues to be the policy for selection into Who’s Who today.
The majority of Who’s Who biographees are included in recognition of the distinction they have attained in their professional lives, and the influence they exert on British society, ranging from politicians and academics to musicians and film directors. Whilst the majority of entrants are British, notable individuals from across the world are included due to their presence and importance in British and international life.
The holders of some posts, such as MPs, senior judges and high-ranking civil servants, are invited to have an entry as a matter of course, when the appointment itself is of general public interest. For those who do not fit into these categories, a Selection Board meets regularly during the preparation for each edition of Who’s Who to discuss potential entrants. The Selection Board reviews those people whose professions are less rigidly structured, such as artists, actors and sportsmen, as well as professors, scientists and businesspeople. Prominent figures in numerous fields are considered by the Board on the basis of their continuing achievements, and ultimately selected due to their exceptional pre-eminence. Where necessary, the Selection Board consults those with specialist knowledge.
Who’s Who also includes a comprehensive listing of the holders of UK hereditary titles, from Duke to baronet, who are invited automatically. These entries make up approximately 10% of the total listings.
If you would like to nominate yourself or a colleague for consideration by the Selection Board, please send a brief CV to firstname.lastname@example.org or post it to the Office of Who’s Who, 50 Bedford Square, London WC1B 3DP.