Businesswoman & British Fashion Queen
Kim Winser OBE was born on March 11th 1959 in Helensburgh, to a Welsh Mother and an English Father. Kim is the second of four siblings, brought up near Portsmouth – where her father was based with the Royal Navy after Faslane.
Her passion for selling began when she was 13, working on Saturdays in a shoe shop and on Sundays at a newsagent. She joined M&S in 1977 as a management trainee and during her time there held such senior positions as executive for menswear buying and divisional director of the womenswear group. Under her direction, the women’s business grew substantially in sales, market share and profit.
Winser left M&S for Pringle of Scotland and is now associated with the company’s turnaround.
Appointed to the role of Pringle’s CEO following its takeover in 2000, Winser “morphed one of the oldest fashion labels in the world from frumpy to fabulous in less than five years”.
Arriving at the heavily loss-making company, she immediately ended Nick Faldo’s £1.5m endorsement deal, pulled out of 100 stores – including Edinburgh Woollen Mill – and brought in Selfridges and Harvey Nichols instead. A new collection was designed, made and launched in only three months. Kim was appointed President and Chief Executive Officer of the British luxury fashion brand, Aquascutum, in April 2006 with a brief to significantly grow the business globally.
Kim is now listed number three in the Wall Street Journal Europe’s most successful business women; she is one of Business Week’s most innovative businesswomen in Britain; and Fortune Magazine and Management Today have both named Winser as one of the most powerful women in business.
She works with The Princes Trust and CHAS (the children’s hospice in Scotland) alongside Ewan McGregor. Winser was awarded a Doctorate by Heriot-Watt University in 2003 and an OBE for services to the fashion industry in the 2006 New Year’s honours list.
Kim announced her resignation from Aquascutum, in late May 2009 after her plans for a management buyout of the business from its owner Renown failed after protracted negotiations. In November 2009, Kim was appointed by 3i, whose assets include lingerie brand Agent Provocateur and womenswear chain Hobbs, to work with the group’s consumer goods team. In March 2010, Kim was named as Chairman of Agent Provocateur, a position she held for less than a year. Kim resigned as Chairman on the 22nd January 2011.
Kim had unveiled plans to plans to grow the luxury lingerie chain’s ecommerce and licensing divisions and double its store numbers within three years, taking the company’s total portfolio to 100 stores. Expansion was planned for international markets including Russia and the Far East.
In early summer 2011, Kim was appointed as a consultant, with a remit to aid international expansion in Asia and the United States, to French Sole, the retailer of ballet style fashion shoes. Kim has been tasked with tripling French Sole’s turnover in the next five years.
Kim lives with her son in Windsor, Hampshire.
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