LONDON — Karren Brady, one of the UK’s most high-profile business women, is taking over as chair of billionaire Sir Philip Green’s retail empire.
Baroness Brady of Knightsbridge will chair Taveta Investments, the holding company that controls chains like Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, and Burton through its ownership of Arcadia. Sir Philip Green’s wife Tina owns Taveta, where Brady has been on the board since 2010.
Brady rose to prominence as the youngest CEO of a listed British company after taking Birmingham City Football Club public in 1997. She is currently the CEO of West Ham United football club and is a regular on the UK version of The Apprentice.
Brady says in an emailed statement: “It is a privilege to have been invited to chair the board and I look forward to working with my colleagues as we concentrate on driving the Arcadia brands forward on their global expansion.”
Brady replaces Lord Anthony Grabiner as chair at Taveta. The barrister chaired the private company for 15 years but was heavily criticised last year by MPs over his role in the sale of BHS, which Taveta sold for £1 in 2015. It subsequently collapsed last year.
A report by MPs into the collapse of BHS said Lord Grabiner was “the apogee of weak corporate governance” and then-Business Select Committee chair Ian Wright called Lord Grabiner “truly hopeless” in the House of Commons.
Sir Philip Green says in an emailed statement: “On behalf of the Taveta Board, I would like to thank Lord Grabiner for his fifteen years’ service and to wish him well for the future.”
Brady’s appointment comes at a difficult time of Taveta. Operating profit fell by 16% to £211 million last year and revenue was flat at £2 billion, as the retail giant struggles with the rise of online shopping and the fall-out from the BHS scandal.