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Keith Wilks

Finance director, Agent Provocateur, aged 39

Keith Wilks has gained his fair share of experience in the past two years, when he guided womenswear chain Whistles through the experience of both its bank, Glitnir, and major shareholder, Baugur, going bust.

“It was a huge learning curve but it was exceptionally good experience of crisis management,” he says of his time at Whistles, where he worked before moving to lingerie business Agent Provocateur.

Having graduated in law from Edinburgh University, Wilks began his career working on corporate strategy at oil firm Shell before making an unlikely move to plus-size chain Evans, owned by Arcadia. Wilks says he benefited from the support network within Arcadia, where he spent 10 years, which has done much to promote young executives within its ranks. Having left to join ex-Topshop boss Jane Shepherdson at Whistles, the team had to adapt to the private equity world in a tricky environment.

Agent Provocateur should be a breeze in comparison. “We have some very exciting plans for the business to expand over the next three years,” Wilks says.

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