Karren Brady is one of the most influential, high profile and respected female business leaders in the UK.
As Lord Sugar's aide 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 £82million.
In January 2010, Karren was appointed Vice Chairman of West Ham United FC. Following her first twelve months at West Ham, the Club made a trading profit for the first time in its recent history. Karren has since grown all revenue streams at the Club exponentially. Under her leadership, West Ham has seen an overall income growth of 300%, now valued at £1billion - propelling it to the 15th most Valuable club in the world, and 7th most valuable in the Premier League.
In January 2013 she secured a move for the Club to the former Olympic Stadium in London. The stadium was named winner of Stadium of the Year (2017) and its sold out capacity of 60,000 boasts the highest number of season ticket holders in the capital.
Karren Brady has led the West Ham United brand to become one of the fastest growing brands in global football, and in the top 20 of all leading football brands in the world, with an AA brand rating and a brand value of $616 million (Forbes, 2019). Karren has successfully led West Ham to be recognised throughout the world as the Premier League's rising star.
As an author, she 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 also a regular contributor to The Sun and Guardian newspapers and 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, Baroness 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.
Passionate about business and the promotion of women in business in the UK, Karren Brady has been voted:
• Cosmopolitan magazine's Woman of the Year, and named in the category of 'Woman Who Has Changed The World';
• NatWest Spirit of Everywoman Award for services to women in business;
• 100 Most Powerful Women in Britain;
• London's 1000 Most Influential People;
• Britain's Most Inspirational Women by the Breakthrough for Breast Cancer Inspiration Awards;
• CEO of the Year Award at the Football Business Awards;
• BBC Women’s Hour: One of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom and
• Top 500 most influential and inspiration people in Britain.
Her wealth of experience and passion for supporting entrepreneurs led to Karren 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 keynote speakers in the world and has worked in over 30 countries, motivating and advising global businesses through her award-winning speeches.