The concept of elite must be related to the distribution of authority. Elites are social groups defined by hierarchies of authoritarian power. Such elites can be investigated in the sphere of politics and in the economic sphere. This paper clarifies the general concept of an elite and shows how this can be used to understand the formation of economic elites. This is applied to the British situation, where the restructuring of the British economic elite over the course of the twentieth century is traced. The economic elite is seen as having moved from an entrepreneurial and regional structure to a one whose intercorporate relations embed it, in an increasingly fragmented form, in a global economy.