Katherine Garrett-Cox, CEO of Alliance Trust, picks up prestigious Veuve Clicquot award with Emily Brooke, founder and CEO of Blaze, winning Veuve Clicquot New Generation Award
There was one outcome of last week’s general election that has been met with universal approval: almost a third of MPs are now female. Coming at a time when close to a quarter of FTSE 100 board positions are being filled by women, things certainly seem to be heading in the right direction on the gender equality front. And one could argue that the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award 2015, the ceremony for which took place last night, was something of a fitting celebration.
The latest name to be added to its list of illustrious winners is that of Katherine Garrett-Cox, CEO of Alliance Trust, Britain’s biggest investment trust. Garrett-Cox took on the top job at the firm in August 2008 and has seen the combined assets of Alliance Trust and Alliance Trust Investments double to £5.6bn under her leadership. The company also has a strong record on corporate social responsibility and Garrett-Cox was last year given a CBE for charitable service as well as for services to the asset management industry.
This award comes shortly after Alliance Trust reached a last-minute deal with its largest investor, and renowned activist shareholder, Elliott Advisers, which had sought to add three new members to the board in light of what it perceived as poor company performance and inflated salaries.
“I was completely delighted to be considered, but to have won the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award is a massive honour,” said Garrett-Cox, who beat Mumset founder Justine Roberts and Serpentine Galleries co-director Julie Peyton-Jones to the crown. “So many exceptional women have been recognised over its 43-year history and I’m proud to be able to celebrate and shine a light on female success in financial services.”
Meanwhile, the Veuve Clicquot New Generation Award 2015 was won by Emily Brooke, founder and CEO of Blaze, which tackles the most common cause of cyclist fatality: being caught in the blind spot, or vehicles turning across an unseen bike. The company’s flagship product, the Laserlight, includes a green laser, which projects the symbol of a bike down onto the road, increasing the bike’s footprint and alerting drivers ahead of its presence. Following its initial Kickstarter campaign, Blaze has now raised money from the likes of Richard Branson and Index Ventures, with Laserlight shipping to 50 different countries around the world.
Brooke, who saw off competition from Jude Ower, founder of Playmob, and Smruti Sriram, director of Supreme Creations, said the award was “a very special, personal acknowledgement and moment to stop and celebrate.”