London, United Kingdom – ClearlySo, Europe’s leading impact investment bank, announces today that it has appointed Gillian Wilmot as chairman. Gillian has a strong background in the consumer sector before she developed a wide range of corporate, non-profit and government experience in a variety of fields. She is also an experienced mentor and has helped coach many high growth businesses and their executive teams.
Gillian joins two other recent board additions. Tracy Lewis is chairman of Inspired Thinking Group, and a non-executive director of Staffline Group Plc and Bluebella Lingerie, following a successful career as an entrepreneur in the retail sector. Joseph Krant, currently an associate partner at Catalyst Advisors Netherlands, has previously spent nearly 30 years at Dutch merchant bank Kempen & Co., which was sold to Dexia for approximately Euro 1 billion. Chris Hulatt, co-founder of Octopus Investments, joined in 2016 and remains on the ClearlySo Board.
The new board appointments come at a time of tremendous growth for ClearlySo and impact investing more broadly. In 2018, ClearlySo helped enterprise and fund clients raise a record £72m versus £45m in 2017. The 20 clients assisted last year included HCT Group, Bulb Energy, Unity Trust Bank and Ecoffee Cups. In addition, ClearlySo marked its 10-year anniversary in September.
Commenting on the new board appointments, Rodney Schwartz, chief executive of ClearlySo, said:
“We are absolutely thrilled to have brought such extraordinary talent to ClearlySo’s board at such an exciting time for the company. The diverse set of skills and experience of our new Board will position us extremely well for the future. I am especially pleased that Gillian has joined, as she has the rare quality to both add value directly and galvanise others in a common endeavour.”
Further commenting, Gillian Wilmot said:
“ClearlySo is an inspirational organisation, whose determination to ensure that business is a force for good is something I greatly admire and support. As demand for impact investing continues to surge, I look forward to helping ClearlySo further capitalise and develop its market leading position.”
Notes to the Editors
ClearlySo is Europe’s leading impact investment bank, working exclusively with enterprises and funds delivering positive social, ethical, and/or environmental impact as well as financial return.
Originally founded in 2008, ClearlySo has helped more than 130 clients raise more than £248 million in impact investment from its extensive network of high-net-worth individual and institutional investors.
ClearlySo is headquartered in London.
Gillian Wilmot bio
Gillian has been at the forefront of British business, up to board level, for more than three decades. Her success led to her becoming a government adviser on trade and industrial strategy.
Now, as a recognised Chairman and award-winning Non-Executive Director – as well as a writer and speaker on leadership – she uses her vast experience to train, mentor and advise today’s business leaders and those of tomorrow.
She is the founder of Board Mentoring, the Chairman of UK Coaching, has been highlighted in the Sunday Times Non-Executive Director Awards for her business acumen and is a pioneer in advancing the role of women with business. She was recently appointed as Chair of the Senet group, working with CEOs to promote responsible gambling.
In the 1980s, Gillian launched the award-winning and highly profitable Next Directory. During the following decade, she transformed the brand and profitability of Avon Cosmetics. And as one of the MDs at Royal Mail in the early 2000’s, she helped to kick-start the transformation and culture change of the business and its return to profitability.
Gillian has also been a key executive in companies such as Marks & Spencer, Boots, Avon Cosmetics and Littlewoods, has completed two turnaround roles as a CEO, led buyout bids and is a highly experienced leader within corporates, private equity and founder-owned arenas.
Through her global work with Board Mentoring, Gillian matches experienced Directors with CEOs and CFOs, and helps executives navigate their career paths by ensuring they are board-ready.
At UK Coaching, Gillian has been instrumental in harnessing the power of sport and coaching to increase leadership diversity, drive social inclusion and transform performance through health and well-being.
Gillian utilises her board experience within retail, energy, technology, leisure and insurance to help leaders achieve their ambitions and transform their businesses. She is currently writing A Mentor’s Guide To Leadership Success on how women and under-represented groups can succeed in business.
Joseph Krant bio
Joseph started his career more than thirty years ago at Pierson Heldring & Pierson, followed by a move to Slater Walker Europe in 1972. In 1973 Slater Walker acquired Kempen & Co, the Dutch Investment Bank. 28 years later, after a very successful period characterised by strong growth and a high profit level, Kempen & Co was acquired in December 2001 for approximately € 1 billion by Dexia (the Franco-Belgian financial services group) and was merged with Labouchere (a retail bank already part of Dexia bank). At the end of 2002, after having continued to manage the two banks as CEO under the name Dexia Bank Nederland, he decided to resign.
However, always looking for new challenges Joseph decided to found Catalyst Advisors with (his former colleague and partner at Kempen & Co/Dexia) Herman van Everdingen. Apparently, there was/is a great need for independent advisors, with an extensive experience in deal making and familiar with the process of mergers and acquisitions. Over the past 12.5 years he has managed Catalyst Advisors with great pleasure and has completed many successful transactions.
Tracy Lewis bio
After a successful career in fashion retail, Tracy joined private lingerie business Eveden in 2003, bringing in minority PE backing in 2006 to support business expansion. She devised and led a highly successful brand and international expansion, culminating in a trade sale to Japanese lingerie giant Wacoal in 2012. Following this success, Tracy’s achievements were acknowledged both Nationally and in the Midlands by EY as a recipient of Entrepreneur of the Year awards and by the BVCA as CEO of the year and exit team for the Midlands.
The following four years saw Tracy continuing to head up the autonomous Wacoal Europe division, expanding the reach of the UK designed portfolio, launching the brand design of Wacoal lingerie for the western consumer, and becoming a female spokesperson for the business across the East. During this time Tracy also held Non-Executive positions in both the not for profit and PE backed beauty sectors.
Tracy continued as CEO until 2016 and after a period acting as a board advisor to support the transition, she left to focus on a cross sector plural career and to further her volunteering and mentoring interests.
Since 2016, Tracy has held the position of NED & Chairman of RemCo for AIM listed Staffline Group Plc, the UK’s leading outsourced workforce and skills provider. In 2017 Tracy moved from NED to Executive Chair of PE backed, ITG, the dynamic and highly respected leader in the Tech-led Marketing industry and also joined the board of the multi award winning, high growth lingerie brand, Bluebella.
In addition to her various Board responsibilities, Tracy is involved in several mentoring initiatives, primarily focused on women in business and she also enjoys volunteering in areas related to youth employability and business skills development.
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