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INTERVIEW


“Bizarrely, I’m actually nobody! I’m not financial director, I’m not marketing director. They really ought to find me a title…”


You are the face of the company, or so it seems. Was that deliberate or did the media focus on you because you are a woman? I think the media picked up on my being a woman. To be honest, none of us wanted to be in the public eye but someone had to do it. A few years ago, we realised that people were becoming interested in how the company is run and what it stands for, and you can’t really say no to that kind of thing.


Of the companies in the FTSE 100, only five have female CEOs. Do you feel that women have a difficult job getting senior executive roles? I’m in two minds about it to be honest. I think a lot of women choose not to go up to that high level simply because it’s not what they want. Many look at it and think: ‘I could do that, but I really don’t want to, I like what I’m doing. I have a good lifestyle, a job I enjoy, a family…’ and so on. I don’t think that women hanker after those roles as men do. You are obviously going to get those who do want it and they do get there. But I think that, generally speaking, many women don’t have that mindset. I do, however, think that women need to


be treated equally in the job they are in – and I think there are a lot of inequalities between men and women doing the same job.


That said, you are probably still a role model, whether you want to be or not. You’re probably right. There are more and more women opening and growing their own companies now. A lot of women run small companies really successfully and profitably, and they’re heading them up because it belongs to them and they can make the rules


28 businesslife.co April/May 2011


rather than having to play by the rules in big publicly quoted companies. I can see this being the way things go.


When you sold your original company in 1980 and moved to Guernsey, had you intended to retire? My parents lived here and part of the agreement when I sold the business was that I was not allowed to go back into optics for three years. So when I came to Guernsey it wasn’t to retire – I was always intending to go back into work – but I thought I might have had a change of career. Obviously it didn’t happen that way!


Is it possible to calculate the impact Specsavers has had on the economy in Guernsey? I guess it must have an impact – after all when there are 60,000 or so people living on the island and you are employing 500... We contribute a fair amount of tax to the economy, that is for certain.


You quite clearly consider Guernsey your home now. Well, I’ve been here since 1980, although I’ll never be a ‘local’, of course! It is my only home – in fact I’m still in the same house I had when I moved here. As far as I’m concerned


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