Gaétan Caron, Age: 58
Hometown: Quebec City
Influential because: He’s guided the National Energy Board through a minefield

When Gaétan Caron took the job as chairman of the National Energy Board in 2007, he couldn’t possibly have imagined what was in store for him. Pipelines were about as controversial as popsicles, and the NEB was a sleepy government agency that went about its business largely under the radar and out of the public eye. No longer. When he finished his seven-year tenure this past June, Caron left behind a legacy that will shape the NEB for years to come. He oversaw the contentious approval of the Northern Gateway pipeline, set the conditions for the regulatory hearings into the proposed TransMountain expansion and managed to walk the increasingly fine line between technical and political questions through it all. His will be a difficult act to follow.