Rosaleen Blair CBE, founder and chair of Alexander Mann Solutions (AMS) – which has featured on Fast Track’s league tables many times – spoke about overseas expansion and diversity in the workforce at our International Track 200 alumni roundtable and networking lunch for female founders and senior directors in London yesterday.
The lunch was hosted by Frances Howell, Managing Director and Head of Corporate Banking, Midlands Region at HSBC, together with Fast Track’s associate director Lucy Stock.
Guests included Alexia Inge, co-founder and co-chief executive of online beauty retailer Cult Beauty; Mary Homer, chief executive of The White Company; and Amanda Dickinson, finance director of Mountain Warehouse, the outdoor clothing retailer.
Rosaleen set up AMS, the talent outsourcing and advisory business, in 1996. She has led its expansion into 100 countries and through four rounds of private equity investment, the latest in 2018 when it was acquired by OMERS, the Canadian pension fund, for £820m. International sales hit £120m that year, on total sales of £269m, with operating profits of £38.5m. Its blue-chip clients include Rolls-Royce and Nike.
Women account for 72% of the 4,500 staff employed by AMS. Talking about the challenges of recruiting diverse talent for both her business and her clients, Rosaleen said: “you have to focus on the whole funnel, not just on the top of the organisation.”
Since stepping down as chief executive in November 2019, Rosaleen has become involved in projects that focus on female-led businesses, telling guests: “I’ve been backing females and helping them build up their own businesses, because often women struggle to get private equity investment.”
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Guests were welcomed by HSBC’s Frances Howell, Managing Director and Head of Corporate Banking, Midlands Region (pictured above), who talked about the importance of building networks. She added that female leaders have a responsibility to keep the drawbridge down for more women to enter the boardroom.
More information on International Track 200
For more information about the International Track 200 league table and events programme, see: https://www.fasttrack.co.uk/league-tables/international-track-200/
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