What’s on a Chairman’s mind? | September 24, 2019

For our first WACL NED session after the summer break, we want to explore the plethora of current topical issues that are exercising Chairman’s minds.  

What are the key considerations that are currently setting the agenda’s for board level discussions and strategic work for the executive teams?   How do businesses evolve to ensure they are listening to their clients and make sure their employees are happy? What about Brexit, the potential of a new Prime Minister or even another General Election?  Alongside MeToo Moments, the spectre of Climate Change, activist shareholders, and the future of the high street – well, we are going to put all these questions and more to our two phenomenal guest speakers – Allan Leighton, Chairman of Entertainment One, Matalan and the Co-op ( Biog Below) and Anna Jones, Founder and CEO of the Allbright Club ( also Biog below).

This event is generously hosted by Anna Jones in the wonderful Allbright Mayfair Club located on 24-26 Maddox Street, London W1S 1PP  (closest Tube station : Green Park) on Tuesday the 23rd of September 2019 from 12:15 to 14:00.

Speaker Biographies

Anna Jones

Anna Jones is the Co-Founder of the AllBright the members’ clubs and digital network that connects smart-thinking women.

Anna is the former CEO of Hearst UK, where she lead a period of transformation in the business. She expanded the reach of the world-famous magazine group through strategic diversification, growing digital audiences, and developing events and licensing divisions.

Anna is on the board of the Creative Industries Federation and was a NED at Telecom Italia.  She has been shortlisted Media Pioneer of the Year award at the British Media Awards.

Anna graduated with a BA in International Business Management from Newcastle University’s Business School.

Allan Leighton

Allan started his career in Mars Confectionery as a Salesman in 1974.  He worked his way up through the company before leaving in 1991.  He then joined Pedigree Petfoods, where he was Sales Director until his appointment in 1992 to Asda Stores Ltd.  He began his career in Asda as Group Marketing Director and was appointed Chief Executive in September 1996. Allan was credited with turning what was once described as a ‘basket case’ into a highly profitable, successful business and in November 1999 he sold Asda to American giant Wal-Mart for £6.7billion. Following the sale, Allan was appointed the President and CEO of Wal-Mart Europe.

In November 2000 he left Asda Wal-Mart and developed a new work ethic – ‘Going Plural’ – as he took on non-executive director and non-executive chairman positions in a number of companies including Lastminute.com, Scottish Power, Dyson Ltd, Cannons Group Ltd, Bhs Ltd, BSkyB Group plc, Selfridges & Co, PACE plc and the shoe retailer Office.

Allan joined the Royal Mail as company Chairman in 2002, whilst in post he drove a period of modernisation that has transformed Royal Mail from loss making into a profitable business. Allan stepped down from his role in March 2009 making him the Royal Mail’s longest serving Chairman.

Allan was President of Loblaw Companies ltd from April 2008 and was Deputy Chairman at George Weston Ltd (Holding company of Loblaw) from 2000.  In February 2011, Allan announced that he was stepping aside as President and Deputy Chairman of Loblaw.

In August 2010, Allan was appointed Chairman of the Danish jewellery company Pandora and took over as Chief Executive in July 2013. Allan stepped down as Chief Executive in February 2015 and from the Board in March 2018.

In February 2015 Allan took on the role as the first independent non-executive Chairman of the Co-operative Group, Allan’s appointment marks a key point in the turnaround strategy of the group.

As well as his position at the Co-operative Group Allan is currently, Trustee at Canal and River Trust, Chairman at Entertainment One Ltd, global leaders in film, music and television, Chairman of Element Materials Technology, Chairman of Allbright, Chairman of Simba and NED of The Restaurant Group.

Allan has also been the Chairman at Race for Opportunity and Business in the community, as well as Business Ambassador for HRH the Prince of Wales as he is passionate about people, diversity and the responsibility that businesses have within their wider environments.

He has an Honorary Degree from Cranfield University, an Honorary Fellowship from the University of Lancashire in recognition of his outstanding achievements in Business and A Doctor of Business Administration from the York St John University, as well as attending the Advanced Management Programme (AMP) at Harvard University

Allan is a Patron of Breast Cancer Care and all proceeds from his books ‘On Leadership: Practical Wisdom from the People Who Know’ and ‘Tough Calls’ go to this charity as part of his pledge to raise £1million for this fantastic cause.

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