General merchandise director, Marks & Spencer
While Marks & Spencer chief executive Marc Bolland and chairman Sir Stuart Rose have been preoccupied with talking strategy for most of the year, Kate Bostock has kept her head down and focused on what she does best: product. As such, Bostock storms into this year’s Top 100, ahead of Rose and Bolland, who doesn’t even feature in our rankings this year as he has yet to prove himself.
Bostock has driven dramatic improvements in M&S’s womenswear collections, injecting a bit more trend and backing key items with conviction to ensure market share and sales gains. Clothing sales actually soared 7.8% for the 13 weeks to October 2 and total clothing market share climbed 70 basis points by value to 10.3% for the 12 weeks to August 15. The UK’s biggest clothing retailer had a record season for women’s footwear, with boot sales up 50%, while some 2,000 military coats, as modelled by TV personality Lisa Snowdon in its impressive autumn 10 ad campaign, have been sold.
With a never-say-die attitude, Bostock is just as tenacious in her personal life - she broke her leg doing a parachute jump to raise money for charity Breakthrough Cancer.