Female chief execs bring higher returns for Endless

(L-R) Endless' Darren Forshaw and Garry Wilson
(L-R) Endless' Darren Forshaw and Garry Wilson
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Businesses led by women have outperformed those led by men in the past nine years, according to one of the region’s top private equity investors.

Garry Wilson, managing partner at Endless, said female-led businesses in the firm’s portfolio have produced annual returns eight per cent above those with men at the helm.

Speaking at the inaugural Barclays Women in Business Awards this week, Endless managing partner Garry Wilson stressed the importance of having the right management in place.

The need to bring diverse values, strengths, experience and abilities to the board is not simply a cultural matter - it feeds directly to the bottom line.

Mr Wilson, who served as a judge for the event, said: “One of the most important things we do as a private equity investor is choose the right people to lead our businesses.

“I don’t think there’s anything wrong with saying men and women are different, that’s a fact.

“What we know at Endless is in the last nine years, when we look at our investment returns in our businesses, our businesses that have been led by women have produced annual returns eight per cent ahead of the businesses that have been led by men.

“So we know female chief executives make sense, and so do our investors.”

Endless launched in 2005 and has invested in around 50 companies in this time. In December, it closed its fourth fundraising, taking total funds under management to £1bn.

Endless typically backs buyouts, non-core acquisitions and turnarounds.

More than 12,000 people are now employed by businesses within Endless’ portfolio.

One of its recent investments includes The Book People, led by chief executive Seni Glaister.

Endless backed a management buyout of the Surrey-based bookseller, which employs 450 people and has sales of £96m.

This week’s Barclays Women in Business Awards recognised the achievements and contributions of women in Yorkshire.

Keynote speaker Lindsey Rix, chief operating officer of Aviva UK General Insurance, said she is a passionate believer on the benefits of diversity.

While she initially was not struck by gender differences earlier in her career, Ms Rix said her progression into leadership saw her see “fewer and fewer” women around the board table.

She said: “I’m still the only female round the board table, which I am determined I will change. I’m equally determined that my team will have a good mix of skills and backgrounds and diversity.”

“I am a passionate believer that a rounded leadership team makes for a much better, much stronger business,” she added.

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Forward Ladies managing director Griselda Togobo encouraged women to be the driver for change in the region at an event marking International Women’s Day.

Ms Togobo stressed that “every woman can be the change they want to see in the world”.

Pennines Cycles director and Forward Ladies member Sandra Corcoran said: “As entrepreneurs there are more and more women working for themselves and being their own boss – they are the backbone of society.”

Baroness Warsi was a keynote speaker at the “inspiring” event, alongside Tricia Stewart, the woman behind the Women’s Institute alternative calendar that inspired the film Calendar Girls.