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Knights Who Say 'Meh': The Dullest Honorary Knighthoods

  1. Jonathan Ive

    Jonathan Ive

    Former British Prime Minister Gordon Brown denied Steve Jobs an honorary knighthood in 2009, as reported in the Daily Mail. Still, Apple (AAPL) won royal recognition last week, when Design Chief Jonathan Ive was knighted for contributions to design and enterprise. Compared with the work of such knightly predecessors as actor Sean Connery, who played James Bond, Ive's job as a designer might not be that sexy. Measured against some others, including business figures, that have been honored, he's a veritable Galahad.

    Photograph by Rebecca Naden/Getty Images
  2. David Prosser

    David Prosser

    The then-group chief executive and director at financial services firm Legal & General (LGEN:LN) was knighted in the 2005 Queen's Birthday Honours for services to the insurance industry.

    Photograph by Rogan Macdonald/Bloomberg
  3.  Peter Sutherland

    Peter Sutherland

    The then-chairman of BP (BP) and current chairman of Goldman Sachs International (GS) was granted an honorary knighthood in 2003 for his services to British trade and international business, reported the Telegraph. Sutherland oversaw BP's merger with Amoco.

    Photograph by Simon Dawson/Bloomberg
  4. Carlos Ghosn

    Carlos Ghosn

    The chief executive of Nissan Motor (7201:JP) and Renault (RNO:FP) received an honorary knighthood in 2006 for his “contribution to economic ties between Japan and Britain,” reported the Guardian. Nissan’s U.K. operations improved under his watch.

    Photograph by Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg
  5.  Andrew Witty

    Andrew Witty

    The GlaxoSmithKline (GSK) chief executive officer received knighthood in the 2012 New Year Honours List for his services to the economy and the U.K. pharmaceutical industry. The company’s revenues fell in 2011 and it agreed to pay $3 billion to settle U.S. government investigations into its sales practices. Still, it is working on a promising malaria vaccine, reported BBC.

    Photograph by Kiyoshi Ota/Bloomberg
  6. Nick Faldo

    Nick Faldo

    The golfer was knighted in the Queen’s 2009 Birthday Honours List for his services to the sport, making him the second golfer to receive knighthood, after Henry Cotton.

    Photograph by Ray Chua/AP Photo
  7. Michael Rake

    Michael Rake

    As chair of KPMG International, Rake was knighted in 2007 for his services to the accountancy profession.

    Photograph by C.Bibby/Financial Times-REA/Redux
  8. Fred Goodwin

    Fred Goodwin

    The former chief executive of the Royal Bank of Scotland (RBS:LN) was awarded knighthood in the 2004 Birthday Honours List for his services to the banking industry, only to have it annulled in 2012 for his role in the bank's near-collapse in 2008, reported the BBC.

    Photograph by David Dyson/Camera Press/Redux
  9. Jack Lyons

    Jack Lyons

    The late financier and philanthropist was knighted for services to the arts in 1973. He was stripped of his knighthood in 1991 after his conviction for involvement in the Guinness share-trading scandal, which included arranging stock purchases to sustain the share price.

    Photograph by Miquel Gonzalez/laif/Redux
  10. Nils Olav (a penguin)

    Nils Olav (a penguin)

    In Norway, even birds can qualify. This penguin, an honorary member and mascot of the Norwegian King's Guard since 1972, was granted Norwegian knighthood in 2008, reported the BBC.

    Photograph by Pamela Grigg/Camera Press/TSPL/Redux