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Elaine McPherson, Chief executive, Ethel Austin

In a year that has seen the value sector severely burnt, Elaine McPherson’s ability to dodge the flames has shone through.

The former chief executive of MK One bought value womenswear chain Ethel Austin for a reported £10 million – a bargain when you consider that ABN AMRO Capital shelled out £122.5m for the business in 2004.

McPherson’s strength and experience lies in her product and buying skills. Industry sources told Drapers that when she reunited her former MK One management team, consisting of David Thomson and John Ferguson, at Ethel Austin they were confident she could restore the chain to its former glory.

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