John Williams, 46, EC Harris’ managing director for the Middle East

Another of our original 40 for whom sticking at the same firm was the right decision. Over the past 10 years Williams has risen through the ranks to head EC Harris’s operation in the Middle East. “I’m not surprised my job moved me overseas,” he says. “It was always a possible opportunity.”

Williams was a child performer with the Welsh National Opera, and back in 2000 he wanted to revisit singing or acting. He hasn’t quite got there yet: “It’s still on the list I’m afraid. I’m searching for a group to join in Abu Dhabi. But I suppose family and work commitments got the better of me on that front. I wouldn’t have changed how events panned out but I still love music - try me again in another 10 years.”

His main piece of advice to the next generation is that, despite such tough times, this is no bad place to be: “It’s still a great industry and I hope the new batch of 40 under 40 see that, and the huge spectrum of opportunity. And look at some of the people who have come through in the original 40 under 40 - people who show what a great grounding this industry can be.”