Brady means Business
In 2014, Karren Brady was listed as one of the top 500 most influential inspirational people in Britain. Throw in a CBE in the New Year Honours list for services to entrepreneurship and women in business, and it’s clear that the 44-year-old has gone from strength to strength since launching herself into the corporate world at the tender age of 18.
Current Vice Chairman of West Ham United Football Club, Karren Brady infiltrated the football world some 20 years ago. She first hit the radar as the formidable Managing Director of Birmingham City Football Club, taking over the ailing West Midlands outfit at just 23 years of age. And the businesswoman, who charmed a team of rowdy footballers as well as manager Barry Fry, coaxed the club out of administration, recording a financial trading profit within the year.
Despite contention about a woman’s perceived place in the football hierarchy, Brady excelled in the male dominated sports world.
No wonder she was voted Business Woman of the Year in 2007 following on from being voted Cosmopolitan Woman of the Year in 2006 in the category of Women Who Have Changed the World. It was therefore with great pleasure that she was chosen to captain the team on BBC’s The Apprentice for Comic Relief, where she led her team of Trinny Woodall, Jo Brand, Cheryl Cole and Maureen Lipman to a resounding victory over the all-male team of Alistair Campbell, Piers Morgan, Rupert Everett, Danny Baker and Ross Kemp and raised over £1 million in the process.
Before joining Birmingham City, her career had begun as a graduate trainee with advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi. It didn’t take long for her to move on, applying an exacting touch over a wealth of sales and marketing projects at LBC, the London Broadcasting Company. Making more in commission than the rest of the sales team together, Brady rerouted to Sports Newspaper Ltd and just five years after leaving school, she had landed the Managing Director role at Birmingham City Football Club.
Brady went on to float the Blues on the stock market, making her the youngest Managing Director of a PLC in the UK and the business was valued at £82 million, when she sold it in October 2009. Not bad at all for a football club that only four years previously was in administration.