Wilson was our No1 in wholesale last year. But his place at the top this year is even stronger.

Last year Wilson was lauded for putting in place a recovery programme to turn round the fortunes of Booker for the second time. This year, as his recovery strategy began to bear fruit, he turned his attention to longer-term goals - and then some.

After announcing profits of £39m, last month Wilson stunned the wholesale sector and the City when he masterminded a return to the public market via a reverse takeover of Booker by struggling Blueheath.

The deal is not without personal appeal for Wilson. The new company has been valued between £350m and £400m and Wilson's 8.13% stake means that, with his expansion plans still in their infancy, he's already a richer man (on paper at least) than old chum Stuart Rose, whom he had abandoned, to the astonishment of all, in 2005 on the verge of M&S's triumphant recovery.

Not everyone is convinced about the deal. Blueheath has never made money and many rivals are less than enthusiastic about its technology platform or Booker's ability to deliver in delivered wholesale.

If anyone can do it, however, it's Wilson. His reputation for clear thinking, straight-talking and fast acting means he has gained the confidence of the industry.

"If it were anyone other than Charles doing this I wouldn't have great expectations," says one wholesaler. "I have no doubt he knows what he is doing and will make it work."

As well as a shrewd businessman, Wilson has shown he's not afraid to roll up his sleeves, either. As part of this month's National Independents' Week he has volunteered to work behind the counter at one of his customer's shops.