Position last year: 23
2015 was a tough year for footwear giant Clarks, which led to the shock exit of Potter from the business and is reflected in her tumble down the Top 100 list.
The retailer, which has more than 1,000 stores worldwide, blamed discounting on the high street and problems with its US business for a fall in sales. In its most recent results sales fell 3.2% to £1.49bn in year ended in January 2015, although lower pension and interest costs helped pre-tax profits rise 1.4% to £121.5m. Sales in the US fell 10.6% and profits by 22.9%. Warm weather and Black Friday 2014 promotions hit UK sales.
It was this poor trading that led to the surprise exits of both Potter and chief financial officer Robin Beacham in September. Potter left after 27 years with the family-owned retailer, while Beacham had worked there for nine. Thomas O’Neill will lead the business as executive chairman until a replacement for Potter is appointed. Her next move is not yet known.