Charles Douglas

At 35, Charles Douglas, partner and director at renowned law firm Bowman Gilfillan, is relatively young for his title but says it’s of little importance: “You just have to lead by example and demonstrate that you can do it yourself.”

And that he certainly can. Douglas, who was also admitted as a lawyer of the Supreme Court of New South Wales in Australia, is making his mark in many areas of law, including exciting growth areas such as the energy sector and broad-based black economic empowerment. One transaction, a R7.3- billion empowerment initiative for SABMiller, received the 2009 DealMakers Deal of the Year award. The pioneering transaction addressed an industry concern — that 80% of liquor retailers aren’t licenced — by allowing only licenced vendors to take part in the share scheme. Douglas originally started a fine arts degree, which he never completed, but still pursues this passion and is currently working towards a solo exhibition.

— Lisa Steyn