The former BUPA boss Val Gooding is taking on the chairmanship of engineering services group Premier Farnell, supporting chief executive Harriet Green and with her becoming that rare thing in the corporate world – an all-female chair and chief executive team.
Premier Farnell, a FTSE 250 company with a £1bn turnover, is only the second leading British public company to have women as both chairman and chief executive. The first was Alliance Trust, with Lesley Knox as chairman and Katherine Garrett-Cox as chief executive.
Gooding is an acknowledged power player in the corporate world, with directorships at J Sainsbury (which she now relinquishes), Standard Chartered and the Home Office.
Her career started unexceptionally as a reservations agent for British Airways and moved at a gentle pace for more than 20 years to her position as the airline’s head of cabin services, in charge of 10,000 crew. It was after she moved to BUPA in 1996 that Gooding’s career really took off, propelling her within two years to the post of chief executive. Her 10-year tenure at the healthcare group established her leadership credentials. She made BUPA the number one provider in the UK and expanded its operations overseas.
Harriet Green has received plenty of plaudits for transforming the electronics components group since she became chief executive in 2006. However, having capitalised on the growth markets of Asia and the Far East, she now faces significant challenges to the supply chain following the earthquake in Japan.