Ann Summers chief Jacqueline Gold dies after breast cancer battle
Jacqueline Gold, executive chair of lingerie and sex toy retailer Ann Summers, has died aged 62, after a seven-year battle with breast cancer.
Gold became CEO of the lingerie brand in 1987 and is credited with accelerating its transformation into a major UK intimates retailer and a multimillion-pound business with stores across the UK.
Her sister Vanessa Gold, who is the business’s CEO, described her as “a trailblazer, a visionary” in a tribute posted on the official Ann Summers Instagram page.
A statement from Gold’s family said: “It is with unspeakable sadness that Ann Summers confirm our amazing executive chair Jacqueline Gold CBE passed away yesterday evening with her husband Dan, daughter Scarlett, sister Vanessa, and brother-in-law Nick, by her side.
“Jacqueline is best-known for leading a business run by women, for women. She was also an activist for women in business, and championed female entrepreneurs with the ambition to better the working environment for women.
“Her determination and commitment to creating a unique retail offering led to the creation of a multi-channel retail chain, consisting of retail stores, direct sales ambassadors, and a fast growing online and third-party business.”
And Chris Brook-Carter, chief executive of the Retail Trust charity, said: “It’s with great sadness that today we heard of the passing of Jacqueline Gold CBE, pioneer, friend and beacon for the retail industry.
“Jacqueline was massively supportive of our work at the Retail Trust and inspired us all to do more around driving the agenda for diversity and inclusion, supporting those affected by domestic abuse and empowering women.
“Over many years, she was also a great inspiration personally – her warmth, passion for a more inclusive world and courage confronting inequality in the workplace played a significant role in my own views and actions around the fight for a fairer world.”
The Ann Summers brand was co-developed by her father David Gold, who died just a few weeks ago. He'd snapped up the retailer’s early business following liquidation in 1972.
In 1981, Jacqueline Gold first joined the business on an internship and went on to launch ‘Ann Summers Party’ events to grow the brand. Around a decade later, she was then made a director of the business before being named as its CEO.
She continued to co-lead the business, which has 91 stores and a successful international website, alongside her sister. She was made a CBE in 2016 for services to entrepreneurship, women in business and social enterprise.
The business, which endured a particularly tough pandemic, has starting to see the positive results of a three-year turnaround plan.
In early January, it said rising sales and a return to profit meant Ann Summers no longer has to operate under the shadow of a 13-month company voluntary arrangement (CVA).
It said at the time a strong online focus has given the retailer “a strong platform for growth, with Gold adding the business is now “a true multichannel business with powerful online capabilities combined with a rightsized store portfolio… and our unique army of direct sales ambassadors.”
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