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Faces of the week (Friday, 1 August, 2003)

Our regular look at some of the faces which have made the news this week, including Nicola Horlick (main picture) and, clockwise from top left, Mick Jagger, Felix Baumgartner, Chief Olo of Leono and Michael Vaughan.

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NICOLA HORLICK

Nicola Horlick is long celebrated for her ability to combine a high-octane City career with bringing up a large family and a host of charity work. Her legendary juggling powers have come under scrutiny again as Horlick decides to step down as her firm's chief executive.

Back at the height of "Cheriegate", Tony Blair's wife emotionally explained that, for a professional woman trying to be a good wife and mother, "sometimes some of the balls get dropped. There just aren't enough hours in the day". Until this week, Nicola Horlick proved her wrong.

All too much?

One of the City's highest-profile executives with asset management company SGAM, she has announced that she would be moving to the role of special adviser to the group president. Although undoubtedly taxing, her new job won't involve the long hours and motorway miles she currently chalks up.

I have no intention of retiring at 42
Nicola Horlick disputes her "quieter" future

This retreat from day-to-day market activity comes soon after an accusation by a major client that Horlick's fund management was becoming, perhaps, "too much for her", a claim she called "ridiculous".

Until now, Horlick has been responsible for the assets of a catalogue of blue chip clients, whizzing across the country, and overseeing £6.6bn of assets.

Once included on a list of the world's 100 most powerful women, her lock-in contract at SGAM, the company she co-founded, has secured her a rumoured personal purse of £20m.

Motherhood with money

Accruing these millions has not involved the sacrifice of a conventional family life. After her marriage to a fellow financial executive, Horlick never felt that material possessions "were more important than a baby. I was always a maternal person".

The couple have had six children but, five years ago, lost their eldest daughter to leukaemia. Ever since, Horlick has used her name, reputation and entrepreneurial efforts to raise money for specialist hospitals.

I couldn't do it without support
Horlick on her Superwoman tag

She also found an outlet for her grief by writing the book Can You Really Have It All? In it, she claimed the answer was a resounding "Yes" and that women made better managers than men.

The financial press were already interested in Horlick. Back in 1997, as the new managing director of Deutsche Morgan Grenfell and facing a possible suspension, the high-flying executive flew with a posse of journalists to Frankfurt, where she door-stepped her employers.

Political ambitions

By the time she set up her own firm a year later, Horlick didn't dispute the media's depiction of her as a glittering example of ball-breaking, jam-making, all-round achievement.

Friends say her role model is Lady Thatcher, and Horlick admits to having political ambitions she wishes to fulfil. Having once flirted with the Labour Party, she now sees the Conservatives as what one friend calls the "sort of failing business she could help to turn around".

With such prospects before her, Nicola Horlick is adamant that she has "no intention of retiring at 42". If life in the feminine fast lane is the juggling act described by Cherie, it seems this enduring high-flyer is only too happy to add another ball.


MICK JAGGER

At 29, he insisted, "When I'm 33, I'll quit. I don't want to be a rock star all my life." The thought of wiggling his backside at the audience aged 50 was abhorrent. But Sir Mick Jagger celebrated his 60th birthday by fronting the Stones at a concert in Prague, still jumping, stomping and pouting like the Jumpin' Jack Flash of old. The multimillionaire grandfather says he'll compose, sing and play "as long as I can".

 
FELIX BAUMGARTNER

Fancy jumping from a plane at 30,000 feet into freezing temperatures at 220mph, and discovering your leg is trapped in your parachute? All in a day's work for 34-year-old Austrian, Felix Baumgartner, as he found a new way to cross the English Channel. After Bleriot, swimmer Captain Matthew Webb and the Channel Tunnel, he glided across La Manche with his carbon fibre wing attached to his back. It took just seven minutes.


MICHAEL VAUGHAN

The gregarious Michael Vaughan took over as captain of the England Test team from the almost-reclusive Nasser Hussain and promptly plunged into a nightmare, as his team's wretched batting was punished by South Africa. No doubt Vaughan's the right man for maybe the toughest job in English sport, and he says he's leading a team "with a hell of a lot of talent". But a rhino skin could be handy.

 
CHIEF LETULI OLO MISILAGI

American Samoa mourned the passing of a paramount chief who helped put it on the map as the father of the fire knife dance. High Talking Chief Olo of Leone was a young man when he ordered his tap dance shoes and Fred Astaire instruction booklet from Sears Catalogue. Then he came up with the idea of fire knife dancing, "a fierce movement with flaming batons". He went on to appear in several Hollywood movies.

Profiles by Caroline Frost, BBC News profiles unit.