2011 Voting Panel

Ruby ParmarPartner – PwC

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Ruby Parmar is a senior partner at PwC and among her various roles, she leads the Private Business practice in London across all their lines of service.

She is an active client service partner spending the majority of her time in the market building relationships and advising on her specialist area of corporate and personal taxation.

Mike BalfourFounder - Fitness First

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In November 1992 Mike Balfour, a chartered accountant, purchased the Queens Park Health Club in Bournemouth, an old squash club that had gone into bankruptcy.

In early 1993 the club was re-opened as Fitness First and during the next 17 years Mike created an international chain of health clubs in the UK, Continental Europe, Asia and Australia. Fitness First floated on the London Stock Exchange in 1996 and was taken private in a £415m management buyout in 2003.

With 550 clubs, 1.5 million members operating in 21 countries worldwide and over 20,000 employees, Fitness First is now the largest chain of health clubs in the world. In November 2005 BC Partners, a private equity firm, acquired Fitness First for £835m in a management secondary buyout. After 17 years Mike left the Board in September 2009 to pursue his other interests.

Mike is Chairman of The Hideaways Club which is now Europes largest private residence owners' club.

Mike became PWC Entrepreneur of the year in 1999 and the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the year in 2001.

Married to Margaret Balfour for 31 years he has two children, Sarah 30 and James 27.

In 2008 James Balfour climbed Mount Everest and became the 5th youngest Britain to do so. James is now working with his father to develop a chain of health clubs in Eastern Europe.

His interests are as a seed capital investor in start up businesses, golf, travel and sailing.

In July 2008 Mike was awarded the OBE for services to business.

In August 2010 Mike was awarded a Lifetime Achievement Award by The American Fitness Industry, the first time the award was made to a non American.

Linda BennettFounder - LK Bennett

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After finishing a footwear design course at Cordwainers, the renowned shoe design college in Hackney, Linda Bennett learned her trade from the floor up, working at Robert Clergerie's studios in Paris followed by stints on the shop floors of Whistles and Josephs.

When she was 26, Linda spotted an opportunity:- she realised that there was a huge gap between the designer shoe market and what was available on the high street. Linda identified this area as being the "affordable luxury market" in beautifully made, well designed products at accessible prices. The idea for LK Bennett was born and she struck out on her own with £13,000 of her savings and a bank loan of £15,000, which she repaid within three months of opening her first shop; despite there being a recession on.

Now dubbed the 'Queen of the Kitten Heel', Linda spotted another niche in the market and LK Bennett launched a clothing and accessories range creating items for women that were a cross between mainstream high street and designer wear.

The combined successes of these enterprises has made Linda Bennett one of the most celebrated business women in Britain and winner of numerous accolades including Ernst and Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award (Consumer Product category) in 2002; Best Women's Footwear Retailer (UK Footwear Award) in 2003; Veuve Clicquot Businesswoman of the Year in 2004; and Entrepreneurs' Entrepreneur award in 2009. She is a trustee of the Hepworth Wakefield, a new art gallery in Yorkshire.

In 2006, Bennett was awarded an OBE for services to the fashion industry.

After running the company for 18 years, Linda sold the majority stake in her fashion chain in 2008. Ms Bennett is still very much involved however and L.K. Bennett continues to expand internationally with 120 locations across the UK, USA, and Europe including 66 stand alone stores and 54 concessions. Clientele includes Kate Middleton, now known as Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge, Penelope Cruz, Kate Moss and Gwen Stefani amongst others.

Neil BirdInternational Commercial Manager - HSBC Bank plc

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Neil Bird has over 20 years experience in delivering a range of International Banking Solutions for multinational corporate and commercial clients across a wide range of industries.

Charles DunstoneCEO & Co Founder - TalkTalk Telecom Group plc

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Brought up near Saffron Walden in Essex, Charles Dunstone attended Uppingham School. He had intended to do a business degree at Liverpool University but enjoyed his job as a computer salesman for NEC during his year off too much, and his plans to go to university were abandoned.

When Dunstone transferred from selling computers to mobile phones, he realised that corporate clients got good deals and were well looked after, but no one was catering for small businesses, the self-employed and Joe Public - for whom mobile phones would be the most useful. And that's where The Carphone Warehouse (CPW) came in.

Dunstone built the business on the premise that what the company stands for is more important than what it sells; in this case, a promise of great customer service and the ability to deliver 'simple, impartial advice' in the ever-complex world of mobile phone purchasing. In a sector where the product was all that customers cared about, The Carphone Warehouse was established to make customers realise that it is equally important to buy your phone from the right people.

With the same principles of impartial advice and unbeatable customer service, The Carphone Warehouse has expanded beyond the UK into nine countries in Europe and today has over 2,400 stores across Europe and is continuing to grow its distribution base.

In July 2000 the company floated on the London Stock Exchange and based on an issue price of 200p, the company was valued at approximately £1.7 billion.

In November 2002, The Carphone Warehouse Group acquired Opal Telecom, a corporate fixed line, voice telecommunications network provider. The acquisition provided the opportunity to launch a cost effective residential fixed line service to compete with BT. The company's landline service, TalkTalk was launched in February 2003 with the unique service proposition that all customers talk to each other for free, forever.

In April 2006, TalkTalk launched the UK's first ever free broadband service changing the broadband market place forever. Through both acquisition (Tele2's UK business and OneTel in 2005 and AOL in 2006) and organic growth, TalkTalk became the fastest growing telecoms business in the UK.

In May 2009, The Carphone Warehouse acquired Tiscali's UK operations for £236million making TalkTalk the UK's largest residential broadband provider in the UK with 4.1 million subscribers.

In November 2006 the company opened its first stores in North America as part of a joint venture with Best Buy Co., Inc under the Best Buy Mobile brand. The venture also brought a home computer service business to the UK under the Geek Squad brand in 2007. The group now has 1,070 Best Buy Mobile store within stores and 77 standalone stores in locations across North America.

In 2008, following a £1.1billion investment from Best Buy Inc, and the formal separation of the Telecoms division from CPW's Retail and Distribution business, The Carphone Warehouse created a new European consumer electronics company in partnership with the international retailer.

On March 29th, 2010 The Carphone Warehouse and TalkTalk separated to form two new holding companies, TalkTalk (which will be the holding company for the fixed line voice and broadband telecommunications business) and CPW plc (which will comprise a 50 per cent interest in the Best Buy Europe Group, a 47.5 per cent interest in Virgin Mobile France, a property portfolio consisting of four freehold properties, and a number of minority investments in other businesses).

Dunstone became Chairman of both TalkTalk and CPW PLC and remains actively involved in both businesses.

Dunstone remains passionate about his original aims; to put the customer first and to ensure that all employees share in the company's success. He is also Chairman of the Princes Trust. In December 2005, he was voted The Daily Telegraph's Business Person of the Year.

Miriam Gonzalez DurantezPartner - DLA Piper

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Miriam Gonzalez Durantez is a Partner at DLA Piper, an international law firm in London where she specialises in international trade law and also heads DLA's Trade Department.

She is married to Nick Clegg, the Deputy Prime Minister, and a mum to three young sons.

Miriam grew up in Olmedo, Spain, where she studied law at the University of Valladolid and then won a postgraduate scholarship to the College of Europe in Bruges, Belgium. In her career, Miriam has been a trade negotiator at the WTO and worked in Brussels as a senior member of the cabinet for EU External Relations Commissioners Chris Patten and Benita Ferrero-Waldner, where her main responsibility was advising on EU relations with the US, the Middle East, Mediterranean countries and Latin America. She was also a senior policy adviser to the UK presidency of the EU whilst at the UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office.

She is also a Non Executive Director of Acciona, Vice-President of Canning House and a member of the Trade Committee of the Confederation of British Industry.

Miriam is delighted to be taking part in the Private Business Awards sponsored by PWC.

Linda FenwichManaging Director - Ozone HR

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Linda Fenwick is founder and Managing Director of OzoneHR who are thought leaders in the field of Performance Management software.

After an early career in Banking, she moved to Hay Management Consultants, one of the world’s largest specialised HR and Change Management consultancies where she created new holistic approaches to managing and motivating the performance of people in organisations.

Always fascinated by the challenge of shaping and directing group behaviour and possibly one of the first in her field to recognise the potential of technology to create new business management paradigms, she set up OzoneHR in 2000.

Passionate about personal development, Linda has a special interest in mentoring and supporting young people, whether fledgling entrepreneurs, opera singers or youngsters from disadvantaged backgrounds, to help them achieve their potential. She is also active in helping young women navigate their way through the world of work.

Rupert HeseltineExecutive Chairman - Haymarket Media Group

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He began his publishing career in Australia in 1989, working for Peter Isaacson Publications. On his return to the UK he joined Maxwell Business Communications.

In 1994, Rupert joined Haymarket, first working on BBC Gardeners' World Live, then going on to Car Hi-Fi in the consumer magazines division. He followed the title to Wilmington where he went on to work with Wine & Spirit International before returning to Haymarket for the launch of SkySports.

He worked on the launch of Revolution and then became advertising director for PRWeek. He was one of the launch team for the US edition of the title, spending a year and a half in New York before returning to the UK as associate publisher of the newly acquired Gramophone.

Rupert was appointed publisher of What Hi-Fi? Sound & Vision and oversaw the launch of the Daily Telegraph's Your Money magazine.

In 2001, he became a director of Haymarket Group, the shareholders' company chaired by Lord Heseltine, and joined the boards of Haymarket Magazines and Haymarket Business.

In 2004, he was appointed deputy chairman of Haymarket Exhibitions. In 2005 he was made deputy chairman of Haymarket Group. He was appointed to the management board of the Federation of Periodical Publishers (FIPP) in 2009.

In recent years Rupert's primary focus has been the development of the Indian business and Haymarket's digital presence.

Charles HoffmanManaging Director - HSBC Private Bank (UK) Limited

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Charlie runs a team dedicated to the largest clients of HSBC Private Bank, advising individual clients and family offices on all aspects of their personal affairs, involving the appropriate specialists wherever necessary.

Charlie is a qualified lawyer, his background grounded in corporate finance at Freshfields, before moving to structured finance and then private wealth management. Charlie is an MBA, Member of the Securities Institute, nominated Private Banker of the Year (Spears 2008/Citywealth MagicCircle 2010); Winner of Spears Award 2010; Top10 Rising Stars in European Wealth Management/Top100 in European financial markets (Financial News).

Tim HughesIG Index

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Tim Hughes is the Managing Director of IG Index, the UK's largest financial spread betting company.

Having joined in 2000 when the company employed just 80 people, he has worked with IG through a CVC Capital Partners-backed MBO in 2003 and subsequent stock market relisting in 2005. The company now has in excess of 900 staff and a market capitalisation of £1.6bn. Tim graduated with an Executive MBA from the London Business School in 2010.

Sir John RitblatHonorary President - British Land

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Sir John Ritblat is the Honorary President of The British Land Company PLC having been Chairman and Managing Director from 1971-2006 where under his guidance the assets of the company grew from £6 million to some £20 billion.

He is currently the Chairman of Colliers International (UK) plc a development from his role as founder, Senior Partner and Chairman of Conrad Ritblat & Co. Consultant Surveyors & Valuers He is the Chairman of Delancey's Real Estate Advisory Board.

Other Board memberships include: Chairman of the Board of Governors and Honorary Fellow of The London Business School; Chairman of the Trustees of The Wallace Collection; Deputy Chairman, Governor and Honorary Fellow of The Royal Academy of Music; Honorary President of the British Ski & Snowboard Federation; Vice Chairman of International Students' House, Crown Estate Paving Commissioner; Member of the Board of Governors of The Weizmann Institute of Science; Vice President Seafarers UK (King George's Fund for Sailors); Vice President of the Tennis & Racquets Association, Vice President of The Royal Institution and President of London Festival of Architecture 2010.

He was named "Property Entrepreneur of the Year" at The Property Awards in 1996, awarded the Ernst & Young "Master Entrepreneur of the Year" Award in 1999 and presented with a "Lifetime Award", only the second time that this has been presented, at The Property Awards in 2002. He was given a "Lifetime Achievement Award" at the Variety Club's 15th Annual Property Awards in 2006 and most recently recognised as "Property Personality of the Year" at the Property Awards for 2007.

He sits on numerous other public and private boards and committees.

Christopher RodriguesChairman - Visit Britain

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Christopher Rodrigues became Chairman of VisitBritain on the 1st January 2007 and Chairman of International Personal Finance in July of the same year, having joined the Board of Provident Financial in January 2007 as Joint Deputy Chairman and Chairman of the International Division (later to become IPF) prior to demerger from Provident Financial plc on 16th July 2007.

He became Chairman of the Windsor Leadership Trust in 2007 and Chairman of The Almeida Theatre in 2008. He had been President and Chief Executive at Visa International from 2004-2006. Between 1996 and 2004 he was Group Chief Executive at Bradford and Bingley, leading the company towards its initial placement in 2000 and entry to the FTSE 100 list in 2002. Between 1988 and 1996 he was Chief Operating Officer and Group Chief Executive at Thomas Cook. Earlier in his career he was a Manager at McKinsey and Co, before spending nine years with American Express.

He was a founder non-Executive Director of the Financial Services Authority (1997-2003). He has been an independent non-Executive Director at Ladbrokes plc (formerly Hilton Group plc) since 2003, an Executive Committee Member of the World Travel and Tourism Council since 2006 and a National Trust Council Member since 2010.

Christopher is a graduate of Cambridge University and the Harvard Business School. He rowed for Cambridge in the 1970 and 1971 Boat Races, is a past-Chairman of Leander Club and is a Steward of Henley Royal Regatta.

Christopher became a Commander of the British Empire in the 2007 New Year Honours list for services to British business interests and charitable works in the UK and USA; a Visiting Professor at the University of Surrey (Tourism Subject Group) in 2009 and a Visiting Professor at the Cranfield School of Management in 2010.

Carla StentCOO - Virgin Management

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Described as a "transforming visionary", she excels at leveraging her technical financial expertise to drive real commercial benefits. She is an inspirational leader who consistently builds and develops high performing teams. She has lived and worked in a number of geographies in the banking, retail and leisure industries.

In her current role as Chief Operating Officer for Virgin Management Limited, Carla is responsible for delivering an efficient, robust and value adding professional services organisation. She has full and direct responsibility for finance, IT, procurement and facilities, as well as having oversight of the Regional Offices and operating companies.

Carla also serves as a UK Ambassador to Schools where her role is to guide and inspire the next generation to excel and succeed. She is a frequent speaker on career planning and gender diversity and is strongly committed to the development of business opportunities for women today.

In addition to directorships on various Virgin companies, Carla is also a Non Executive Director and Trustee of LSN, an independent, registered charity committed to making a difference to education and training.

Carla joined Barclays in July 2005 as Chief Operating Officer for Barclays Asset and Sales Finance where she led major transformation activity. She was rapidly promoted to Chief Administrative Officer for Barclays where she was responsible for the strategic and operational management of the Global Retail Bank's operational risk, governance, process improvement and acquisition/divestment activity. Her role also included management of the group wide Anti Money Laundering Programme and the Treating Customers Fairly / Customer Relations agenda.

Prior to joining Barclays, Carla held a number of senior positions in banking and retail industries. She has had direct responsibility for corporate finance & post-merger integration, strategy, business operations, brand development & management and business transformation. Carla has operated at Board level in several countries for organisations including NatWest Equity Markets, ING, Barclays and the Thomas Cook Group.

Carla is a qualified chartered accountant and she was born and educated in South Africa. She is married to Martin and enjoys long-distance cycling and travelling (and has just entered her first ever half marathon!).

Simon TurnerManaging Partner - Inflexion Private Equity Partners LLP

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Simon, together with John Hartz, co-founded Inflexion in 1999 and is also joint-chair of its Investment Committee. Simon sits on the Boards of Red Commerce and Jack Wills and also led our investments in Aspen, ACIS and Pims Group.

Simon was recruited to co-found Daiwa Europe's Private Equity group in 1998, before spinning it out, in partnership with John Hartz, to create Inflexion. His private equity career has been spent wholly within the UK mid-market since the early 1990s.

Simon holds an MA in Modern History from Oxford University.

Andrew WatesWates Group Limited

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Andrew Wates was formerly Chairman of Wates Family Holdings, the ownership forum that oversees all Wates family interests, but still remains an owner/shareholder.

Until April 2006, he was Chairman of Wates Group Limited, having originally joined the company in 1964. Wates Group is one of the largest privately-owned development and construction companies in the UK with 2,000 employees and an annual turnover of c. £1billion.

Currently, Andrew is Vice-Chairman of FBN International, but has also held the role of Chairman of the Institute for Family Business until December 2010. He is also Chairman of Gambado Ltd, Chairman of the Grants Committee of the Wates Family Enterprise Trust and is on the Board of Myriad Energy Solutions. In addition to this, Andrew is extensively involved in a number of Surrey-based charities.

Sean WhelanManaging Director - ECI Partners LLP

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Sean Whelan is a Managing Director and a member of ECI's Investment Committee. Sean graduated in economics from Cambridge University in 1990 and holds an MBA from Harvard Business School.

Prior to joining ECI in 1998, Sean worked as a strategy consultant for Gemini Consulting and Bain & Company. Based in London, Sean has overall responsibility for ECI's exit strategy across the portfolio and post-investment added value. He also heads ECI's Software and IT Services sector group. Sean's past investments include ClarityBlue, Bounty, Language Line and MM group; he is currently on the board of Clinisys and WCI Group.

Alastair WilsonChief Executive - School for Social Enterprise

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Having worked extensively in the private sector, Alastair became a student of the School for Social Entrepreneurs (SSE) in 1998. Having established and run his own project, he returned to SSE as Development Director and then CEO.

SSE's core service is a year-long 'action learning' based programme supporting early-stage social entrepreneurs from a wide range of backgrounds. SSE also offers specialist shorter programmes e.g. Social Franchising, Public sector spin outs and Trading for growth. Over 500 have completed SSE programmes, and there are now 10 SSE franchises in the UK and overseas.

Alastair is also a trustee of UnLtd (foundation for Social Entrepreneurs), London Funders, the Social Enterprise Coalition and the Sheila McKechnie Foundation.

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