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25 Marigay McKee (69)

Group fashion and beauty director, Harrods

Beautiful and charming, with a top job and wardrobe to match, Marigay McKee is probably the envy of every female retailer, except you can’t help but warm to her.

Never taking her achievements for granted, McKee is an astute businesswoman with her feet on the ground, just as happy to mix with middle-market retailers as she is with high-end designers or celebrities. In fact, McKee is a serial networker, often spotted at industry events or having a discrete, early morning business breakfast at the suitably classy Claridge’s in London.

It’s her dedication, not to mention her razor-sharp buying skills, that helped department store Harrods record a 40% surge in profits to £78m for the year to January 31, thanks to McKee’s backing of the super brands. While some premium indies say the super brands have had their day, McKee clearly understands the needs of her customers, who have traded up to pieces that transcend seasons.

As a result, Harrods increased the space devoted to super brands including Louis Vuitton, Chanel and Dior. But McKee is also a strong supporter of emerging British designers, giving two paid internships to graduates through a partnership with the British Fashion Council this year. Let’s hope Harrods knows just how good it has it.

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