The influence of these once-dominant entrepreneurs faded during the course of the 20th century as family ownership was diluted by outside investors, and then subject to wholesale takeover. The Christian entrepreneur using his or her business to demonstrate religious commitment is no longer a dominant feature of British business, although something of the tradition can still be seen in America, where several founders and owners of large companies are very public not only about their personal faith but about its application to their management policies and business strategies. Among those linking Christianity to their managerial style and hence their commercial success are Rich Snyder, founder of fast-food retailer In-N-Out Burger, David Neelman, the founder of Jet Blue airlines and a committed Mormon, Neil Clark Warren, founder of dating website eHarmony, George Foreman, former boxer and producer of low-fat cooking grills, and Truett Cathy, founder of fast-food retailer Chick-fil-A (described later).
That is not to say the phenomenon has entirely died out in Britain. Brian Souter, founder and chairman of the Stagecoach Group transport operator, has spoken openly of his Christian faith, and spent £1 million of his own money in an unsuccessful campaign to retain laws that forbade the promotion of homosexuality by local authorities in Scotland in 2000. But he consciously keeps his faith and his campaigning work separate from his business, stating in a newspaper interview that “ethics are not irrelevant, but some are incompatible with what we have to do because capitalism is based on greed. We call it dichotomy, not hypocrisy”.
Alongside the growth of the Christian entrepreneur during the Victorian era came another faith-inspired innovation: the co-operative. Although the role of Christianity is mostly overlooked by economists and historians, the founders of what is widely regarded as the prototype co-operative enterprise were greatly influenced by their faith. The Rochdale Society of Equitable Pioneers was set up in 1844 by a pioneering collective of weavers and other workers in the Lancashire town, who were concerned by the social impact of industrialisation on their community. Though some histories make no mention of any faith heritage, they were greatly inspired by the English philanthropist and committed Christian William King (1786-1865), who published a short-lived journal called The Co-operator in 1828. The Christian Socialist movement became prominent during the middle of the 19th century, a group committed to the idea of a ‘new and better social order’.