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Margaret Heffernan

Media-shy matriarch Margaret Heffernan (76) has steered her family's supermarket chain and clothing retailer upmarket in recent years, before taking a step back in late 2017 to leave it to the next generation to shoulder more of the responsibility of leading the business.

She's the second-largest shareholder in the firm, which is now increasingly led by daughter Anne and niece Sharon McMahon. The business is believed to have a turnover of about €3.6bn, and a 22pc share of the €9bn grocery market.

One of her sons, Bernard, has invested in agtech startup Cainthus, which provides facial recognition technology for cows and monitors their health. Another son, Andrew, a former banker with Goldman Sachs and graduate of Harvard Business School, has a US startup that makes $95 belts, earning favourable reviews in Vogue, The Wall Street Journal and Vanity Fair.

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