Power500 2023_Header

There are few events significant enough to stop a publication from going to press.

Not hours after Business News’ second Power 500 publication had been sent to the printers, Premier Mark McGowan – then the most powerful man in WA – announced his shock resignation, ending a 26-year career in politics.

Although Mr McGowan’s successor at the time of writing was not known, what became clear in reviewing these pages after the printing was put on hold was how many people appear because of their connection to one person.

It demonstrated the clout a single link can bring and offered a stark and serendipitous reminder of the fleeting nature of power and influence; a dynamic Power 500 strives to capture. 

This publication represents the culmination of a six-month research effort to refine the list of individuals walking the corridors of power in politics, commerce and culture in WA, using the inaugural Power 500 as a springboard. 

Naturally, the context underpinning such a list is an important factor and the WA of today is not the same as it was this time last year. 

The end of the COVID pandemic has led to a broader economic shift. Rising inflation triggered a raft of rate hikes from the Reserve Bank of Australia, auguring a potential slowdown in economic growth.

In the world of politics, Labor maintained a commanding mandate in the state – albeit with a slightly refashioned cabinet – and, largely out of sight in this edition, the Liberal Party will be seeking to sow seeds for the 2025 state election, its next opportunity to claw back power in WA.

Mining magnates hold more than celebrity status, as readers might expect in a state dominated by resources. In the Power 500, the importance of individual wealth as a means of influence cannot be understated. 

This year, stalwarts of industry sit alongside up-and-comers. More than 130 names make their Power 500 debut following an exhaustive review by our editorial team of the 19 categories featured in this edition. We examined each contender, carefully weighing legacy against future prospects. 

Women represent one quarter of those featured in the Power 500 this year. While this reflects the continued dominance of men in many industries, it is a promising sign of greater representation in others. Significantly, four of the top 10 are female, as was the case last year.

For 2023, we have sought to provide narrative and context as to why a person could be considered powerful or influential. 

Taking things a step further, this year’s Power 500 introduces rankings.

Each category features the top 10 individuals within their respective spheres in a list that strives to balance past achievements, visibility in the present and likely standing for the future.

Those outside of the top 10 are in no particular order; the first after the top 10 is not in 11th place. 

For everyone across the 500, we asked what changed in their industry, business or personal development that enhanced, or diminished, their standing within the WA community over the past 12 months. 

That sometimes looked like an obvious change, but in other cases there may have been a slower natural progression. Factors may have materialised, such as a promotion or a surge in interest in their industry, or they may have played a role in a pivotal event or a decision.

For some, influence is inadvertent, be it through legacy or established reputation. For others, it is simply by virtue of the organisation they represent.

We considered where they may be heading and why that makes a difference to WA to ultimately deliver a publication we believe captures the very top of business and politics in the state in 2023. 


Enquire about the 2023 edition