Leading women in British business, including the chief executive of Lloyd’s of London, Inga Beale, have been recognised in the New Year honours list.
Beale has been made a dame, while there are CBEs for the designer Anya Hindmarch, Rosaleen Blair, the founder of headhunting company Alexander Mann Solutions, and Justine Roberts, the co-founder of Mumsnet.
Beale, 53, said she was “incredibly proud of the work that we [Lloyd’s] are doing to encourage diversity”.
She became chief executive of the insurance market in 2014, becoming the first woman to hold the position in Lloyd’s 328-year history. In 2015, Beale became the first woman and bisexual person to top the annual power list of the world’s leading 100 LGBT executives.
“Lloyd’s represents so much of what is good about British business and the insurance sector in particular,” Beale said. “This honour is a reflection of the work and commitment of everyone who works within the Lloyd’s market, enabling others to take risks that enable society to progress.
“I am also incredibly proud of the work that we are doing to encourage diversity. When I think back to what the workplace was like 30 years ago, we have come a long way on our journey to become a truly modern, global and inclusive sector.”
Robert said the honour was recognition for Mumsnet, the parenting website she co-founded in 2000, as a whole. “It’s a lovely thing to get a gong, and I’m chuffed to bits,” she said.
“But in truth it’s recognition of the energy and commitment that very many people, from our users to our staff, have put into making the rather simple idea of a forum where parents can swap information and advice into a living, breathing community that’s still very much alive and kicking 17 years after its inception.”
Other business leaders to be honoured include Ian Powell, the former chairman of the PwC accountancy firm, who receives a knighthood. Powell stepped down from the post in the summer and will become chairman of outsourcing group Capita on 1 January. There is also a knighthood for John Campbell, the co-founder of egg producer Glenrath Farms.
The former chairman of House of Fraser Don McCarthy has been awarded a CBE for services to business and philanthropy, while Jeremy Sinclair, the chairman of ad agency M&C Saatchi, is recognised for services to advertising.
Simon Walker, the outgoing director general of the Institute of Directors, collects a CBE. Walker described Sports Direct as a “scar on British business” after a Guardian investigation exposed working practices at the company.
Barbara Judge, the chairman of the Institute of Directors, praised Walker and the women who received honours.
“Simon deserves warm congratulations for this well-deserved honour. He has been a tireless champion of good businesses, but has also not been afraid to call out poor practice and corporate governance failings where he sees them,” she said.
“It has been a privilege to work alongside him. He has shown the type of business leadership that we are going to need more of over the next few years, as the UK’s relationship with the rest of the world shifts.
“I am very pleased that some outstanding women are being recognised for their achievements. Seeing female entrepreneurs like Anya Hindmarch awarded honours will act as a spur to other women to set up their own companies. Inga Beale also deserves congratulations for rising to the top of such a historically male-dominated industry.”
Figures linked to industry and the economy make up 11% of the new honours list, with women comprising just over 50% of the total list.
Hazel Moore, the chairman and co-founder of investment bank First Capital, gets an OBE, and Nick Jones, the founder of private members’ clubs group Soho House, receives an MBE.
There is also an MBE for the entrepreneur who set up a successful sandwich chain that helps homeless people.
Josh Littlejohn, the co-founder of Social Bite, said: “I’m honoured to receive this award in recognition for my work with Social Bite.
“I would like to dedicate it to the hundreds of homeless people Social Bite works with in Scotland who are marginalised from society and have no stake in the economic system.
“I’m relatively young, but I hope to dedicate the rest of my working life to helping people who have been excluded from the system.
“By working alongside the amazing Social Bite team – and other charities – I hope I can play my part in eradicating homelessness from Scotland and spread the social enterprise business model further afield.”
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