Karren Brady is one of the most influential, high profile and respected female business leaders in the UK.
As Lord Sugar's assistant on The Apprentice, Baroness Karren Brady of Knightsbridge CBE is probably best known as 'the first woman in football' after becoming Managing Director of Birmingham City FC at only 23 years old and turning the club's fortunes around.
Born in Edmonton, North London, Karren began her career in advertising sales straight after leaving school. In 1993 she was appointed Managing Director of Birmingham City Football Club when the club was in administration. In her first year at the helm, the club recorded a financial trading profit. In 1996 the Club made an overall profit for the first time in modern history and in February 1997 the Club launched on the Stock Market valued at the time of float at £25M; she was the youngest Managing Director of a PLC in the UK.
During her tenure at Birmingham City Karren Brady increased the average gate of the Club from 6,000 to a sell-out capacity of over 30,000 and, having turned Birmingham City around, Karren sold the club in 2009 for £82M. She joined the board of West Ham United in January 2010, and negotiated a successful bid for the club's move to London's iconic 60,000-seat Olympic Stadium. Under her leadership, West Ham has become one of the five fastest-growing brands in world football.
Karren has written five books; a factual account of her first season at Birmingham City, two novels, 'Playing to Win' about successful women in business and her own Sunday Times best-selling autobiography 'Strong Woman'. She is a regular contributor to The Sun and Guardian newspapers. Karren is also a judge of the Cosmopolitan Women of Achievement Awards and the Sports Industry Awards. She is on the business Board of Scope, and is Ambassador for Birmingham Women's Aid. She has been a Board Director of Mothercare PLC, Channel 4 Television, Sport England and Arcadia. She was voted by Cosmopolitan as one of the 100 Most Powerful Women in the World in 2004 and again in 2006 when she attended The Queen's lunch for Women Achievers and Business Leaders.
In addition to her role as CEO of West Ham United Football Club, one of the leading London Premier League football clubs, currently valued at £800M, Karren Brady is also a Senior Non-Executive Director of Syco Entertainment — a company jointly owned by Simon Cowell and Sony — and the leading retail multinational Taveta Investments, owner of global brands including Topshop.
Voted Business Woman of the Year, Ultimate Entrepreneur and rated among the 50 most inspirational people in the world, Karren is passionate about business and the promotion of women in business in the UK.
Karren Brady's wealth of experience and passion for supporting entrepreneurs led to her appointment as the Government's Business Ambassador by then Prime Minister, David Cameron, in 2013. In December that year, she was awarded a CBE for services to women in business and entrepreneurship; the following August, she was elevated to the House of Lords by the Prime Minister, taking the title Baroness Karren Brady of Knightsbridge CBE.
Karren Brady is one of the most sought after speakers in the world and has worked in over 30 countries, motivating and advising global businesses through her award-winning speeches.