Shakespeare wrote: "He that hath a beard is more than a youth, and he that hath no beard is less than a man." With that in mind, here's our list of the top 10 beardos in business, with expert analysis from professional stylist Natalia Coleman.
This article first appeared on BusinessZone in 2009 and was updated recently.
Before anyone accuses us of discrimination against ladies, remember that they too can grow beards if they choose. However, those that do would probably not appreciate their inclusion in our hairy list of business beardies. Feel free to suggest anyone you think we've missed though.
Sir Richard Branson, founder of Virgin
"Branson without a beard…it would be unthinkable! He’s definitely got facial hair down to a fine art. His whole style is relaxed, friendly and quirky so the beard suits him perfectly."
Lord Sugar, founder of The Apprentice
"Lord Sugar shows how to wear a beard in business and still look professional. He keeps this neat and perfectly coiffed, what’s also great about his look is you can still see his face shape. Sir Alan’s beard suits his macho and unpretentious nature well."
Larry Ellison, executive chairman of Oracle Corporation
"It looks as though Larry has got into such a routine with it that he doesn’t even realise he’s got a beard any more. Luckily, he's pulling off the slick look with the hair and the moustache. This is a guy who means business."
The late Felix Dennis, publisher and entrepreneur
"My goodness, it’s hard to see where the beard ends and the man begins! Felix's beard says that he's been there and done it. He's got nothing to prove. He feels like growing a massive beard, so he jolly well will. Great beard!"
Steve Wozniak, founder of Apple
"Steve’s beard gives him a geeky look. It’s more Grizzly Adams than entrepreneur, but in a strange way he can carry it off. He looks like he’s too busy thinking up the next Apple gadget than worrying about giving his beard a trim. But Steve, you’re such a genius I forgive you!"
The late Steve Jobs, former chief executive of Apple
"I wonder if Steve grew his beard when his hair started to thin? The overall look suits him but I’d prefer to see a little bit more trimming going on around the cheek area to give this beard proper definition."
Richard Parsons, former CEO of Time Warner
"Men often grow beards to give definition to their face but in Richard Parsons’ case it actually makes his face look wider. The beard and sideburns often start greying sooner than the hair and this is the case with Richard. He’d look far younger and more suave if he shaved it off, but would he lose his super powers as well?"
Andrew Carnegie, major 20th century industrialist
"Andrew Carnegie looks like an elder statesman here, a man of real gravitas. This is a beard amongst beards and whilst I’m sure Andrew was a force to be reckoned with, it evens gives him a kindly, gentle look."
Jim French, former chief executive of Flybe
"Another case of a beard compensating for hair loss. I think Jim would look younger and more sophisticated without it.
James Caan, entrepreneur
"…And the winner of best beard wearer goes to James Caan. If you’re going to sport a beard then watch James Caan and learn. This neat, goatee style gives him a dashing and sultry look. He keeps it shaped beautifully to flatter his jaw line and the peppering of grey is actually very flattering. A beard amongst beards!
What is the state of facial hair amongst UK entrepreneurs in 2015, though? Do you or one of your colleagues sport an impressively manly beard? Comment below.