SpecialityManaging Directorm, Beaverbrooks
Anna Blackburn is managing director of Beaverbrooks, a family-owned jeweller with 72 stores nationwide, as well as an e-Commerce and Mail Order function. Anna joined Beaverbrooks as a graduate trainee in 1998, and after working her way up within the company, accepted the role of chief executive officer in 2013. This appointment was significant on two levels – Anna was the first female CEO, and the first non-family member to take up the role. In January 2018, Anna became the first ever non-family member to be promoted to the board of the company as managing director. In 2019 Beaverbrooks celebrated its centenary, which was the strongest year financially speaking in Beaverbrooks’ 102-year history, with the company achieving its sixth consecutive most profitable year to date. This has provided the retailer with a strong foothold to broach the challenges facing the industry during 2020 as result of the Covid-19 pandemic. By remaining agile during times of changing restrictions and remaining true to core values and company culture, the company remains in a strong position as it nears the end of its financial year, which falls at the end of February. Anna’s belief has always been that treating people well should play into the bottom line and, under her leadership, the focus on employee engagement and accountability has also contributed to the company to bucking the trend on the high street. The business has featured in The Sunday Times Best Companies to Work For list for 17 consecutive years, and has been recognised as the most consistently exceptional three-star accredited retailer in the UK. In 2020, Beaverbrooks was named the ninth Best Company to work for in the UK and also won Retail Week’s Best Place to Work award in 2019 and 2020. Thanks to her strong leadership of the company, Anna was awarded ‘UK’s Best Leader’ for the second year running last year, alongside Beaverbrooks’ chairman, Mark Adlestone OBE DL.