By Kate Madley
Wales is lucky to have an abundance of entrepreneurial and senior management talent whose work has had an impact across the globe.
Some, such as Sir Terry Matthews and Sir Howard Stringer, have won wide recognition. Others are less well known – or are not known to be Welsh.
Wales World Wide is looking to celebrate the achievements of all Welsh men and women who have made a major contribution to business internationally, whether based in Wales or overseas, and whether already well known or not.
We will celebrate those who are no longer with us, but we are starting with people who are currently playing a role that enhances Wales’s business reputation in overseas markets.
And we hope you will help us compile a definitive list of Welsh achievers by submitting your suggestions and comments through our dedicated discussion forum.
Feel free to nominate anyone who has played a big part in business in a way that has an international dimension.
It may be as a successful entrepreneur or as a world class business executive. They should either be born in Wales or have a strong Welsh connection through ancestry or by having built a business in Wales.
We have already had some suggestions from our members, so here are just a few names to get you thinking about who should be on the WWW list of ‘Welsh International Business Achievers.’
Dame Mary Perkins, co- founder of Specsavers in 1984 with her husband Doug, she is continuing to build the company into an international brand through expansion in Australia and New Zealand. Specsavers now has more than 1,390 stores worldwide.
Another outstanding female entrepreneur is Hayley Parsons, who launched Newport-based Gocompare.com in 2006 and built it into one of the most comprehensive insurance comparison services in the UK. She remains its chief executive and majority shareholder.
Sir Terry Matthews, Wales’s first billionaire and owner of the 2010 Ryder Cup venue, The Celtic Manor Resort in Newport. The term serial entrepreneur is often over-used, but Sir Terry definitely fits the bill after building a succession of high-tech global ventures, such as Mitel and Newbridge Networks.
While Sir Terry went to North America to make his business name, Henry Engelhardt travelled in the opposite direction and helped launch Cardiff-headquartered Admiral Group in 1991, leading it to become a FTSE 100 business. Though a US citizen, Engelhardt meets our criteria as someone who has built an international business from a Welsh base.
Other transatlantic operators are Sir Howard Stringer and Peter Swinburn. Cardiff-born Sir Howard is chairman and former chief executive of Sony and has spent most of his career working in New York and Japan. Peter Swinburn, a University of Wales graduate, is chief executive of international brewer Molson Coors and has spent 37 years working in the beer industry in the US, Canada and UK.
The above are just for starters. Why don’t you add your own recommendations in our ‘Welsh International Business Achievers’ forum?
Once we have compiled a comprehensive list, we will conduct a poll for our members to decide who should be the top ten ‘Welsh International Business Achievers.’