JOHN JENKINS - Chief Executive, GE Capital UK
GE Capital is the largest independent provider in Britain of commercial finance. It specialises in providing asset-based finance - essentially working capital or loans that are guaranteed against assets, such as machinery or property.www.gecapital.co.uk
GE Capital currently finances more than 90,000 businesses, most of them small and medium-sized firms, lending in total about £10 billion a year. In terms of market size, GE is far behind the banks, though it is growing quickly and is 'normally the biggest finance provider after the banks'.
GE have also helped to finance the like of Jaguar Land Rover, Triumph Motorcycles and car parts company IAC Group.
John Jenkins was educated in South Wales and subsequently moved to London where he trained in an accountancy practice, qualifying as a Chartered Certified Accountant in 1989.
In 1988 he had joined the TSB Group in their specialist commercial lending
business, TSB Commercial Finance. He progressed through risk and commercial
roles prior to being promoted to Business Development Director and joining the board in 1996.
In 1999 the business merged with Lloyds Bank and John was promoted to
Marketing Director of this larger business.
In 2002 he moved into the role of Sales Director and 2003 saw him expanding the business remit to include asset finance as it absorbed the former Black Horse business.
In mid 2005 John joined GE Commercial Finance as Commercial Director of its
Business Finance unit and was promoted to CEO later that same year.
In 2009 GE merged the lending and leasing elements of Commercial Finance
and John was promoted to CEO of the expanded GE Capital UK business,
focusing on providing specialist lending, leasing and fleet services to SME’s and larger corporates. He led the successful merger, established operating and management models and refined business strategy to drive growth in the post crisis market.
He lives in Hampton, South West London with his wife and two children. He is Chairman of Harlequin Amateurs RFC, still playing for their veterans team and also chairs the RGA, a non-profit organization providing gymnastics facilities to over 1600 children in the Richmond borough.
Dr HEATHER McGREGOR - Managing Partner, Taylor Bennett
Heather was placed in her first ever job in 1985 by the executive search firm Taylor Bennett; she was so impressed that 15 years later she went to work for them and then bought the company in 2004.www.taylorbennett.com
In between she worked in the biotechnology sector and also for many years in an investment bank. Her undergraduate degree is from Newcastle University, her MBA from the London Business School and her PhD from the University of Hong Kong.
Heather is also an experienced journalist and regularly contributes to national newspapers and magazines.
She chairs a major educational charity, Careers Academies UK (www.careeracademies.org.uk ) , and launched her own Foundation (www.taylorbennettfoundation.org) in 2008 to train black & ethnic minority graduates to work in the PR industry. She is a visiting professor at Cass Business School.
She is the co-author of Careers Advice for Ambitious Women to be published by Penguin in January 2012.
BEN DRURY - Chief Executive & Founder, 7digital
Ben began his career in 1996 as a founder of dotmusic.com, an internal venture at United News and Media which attracted over 1.8m unique users per month (in 1999).www.7digital.com
In 2000 Ben was recruited by BT Group to head up the broadband music efforts at their ISP BT Openworld where he successfully launched a major music channel.
Following the partnership between BT and Yahoo! to form BT Yahoo! in 2003, Ben engineered the sale of dotmusic to Yahoo! for approx. £3.3m.
Ben then founded 7digital with James Kane in 2004 with the vision of creating a digital media marketplace. 7digital operates services that bring together suppliers and consumers of digital media.
In September 2008 7digital.com was the first company in Europe to launch DRM-free MP3 downloads with all four major record labels.
In September 2009 HMV Group acquired a 50% equity stake in 7digital with an investment of £7.7m.
Ben was named by Growing Business magazine as a Young Gun 2006 – the award for leading entrepreneurs under 35.
In 2007, 7digital was awarded the prestigious Red Herring Top 100 Europe Award as one of the most promising technology companies in Europe.
In 2008, Ben was a finalist in the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur Of The Year awards.
Currently 7digital employs 68 people in London and has over 2.5 million registered customers.
Ben is also the Deputy Chairman and Director of the Entertainment Retailers Association (ERA) and is a board director of the Official UK Charts Company.
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