After a year of discovering who really runs Australia, The Power Index is finally set to reveal the country's fifty most powerful people.
Throughout July, Paul Barry and The Power Index team will be counting down the most influential people in the nation from business, media, politics, sport and culture.
The Power 50 / 2012
Home Town: Melbourne
Mike Smith is the banker other bankers want to be. Smart, strategic and to the point: the ANZ chief's got the confidence to tell customers, the government and the Reserve Bank how things should be done.
His bank's not the largest financial institution in the country, but Smith packs a harder hitting punch than his rivals at the Commonwealth Bank, NAB and Westpac.
Smith's driving the most ambitious regional expansion of any of the big four bankers, and was the first to tell RBA governor Glenn Stevens his bank would no longer be beholden to the RBA's interest rate timetable.
It's no stretch to call Smith the James Bond of the sector, and not just because of his soft spot for Aston Martins. He may not resemble Ian Fleming's creation, but he does boast 007's scars: Smith took a bullet to the thigh while heading up HSBC in Argentina during the country's economic crisis in 2001.
The Brit with the blonde comb-over, cheeky grin and larger than life appearance revels in his outsider image, informing The Power Index that he and his fellow big four CEOs "don't have much to do with each other".
"On big issues, we can't agree what day of the week it is," he says.