Dame Helen Alexander, a former chairman of Incisive Media and the first female president of the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), has died following a long battle with cancer. She was 60.
She was chairman of Incisive Media between October 2009 and December 2014 and played a key role in the development of the business.
Dame Alexander held a number of influential business roles during her career including chief executive of The Economist Group between 1997 and 2008, and board roles at Rolls-Royce and Centrica. She also led the CBI between 2009 and 2011 in the wake of the financial crisis.
Throughout her career, Dame Alexander was seen as a trailblazer for women in business. Alongside Sir Philip Hampton, she headed the Hampton Alexander Review, which focused on boosting the role of women in senior business positions.
Among her many roles, Oxford-educated Dame Helen was a non-executive director of PA Group, parent company of the Press Association, and at BT Group and Huawei UK.
The Economist described her as “self-effacing but a world-class networker”, and said that business had “no better ambassador”.
“Her success owed much to a leadership style that lacked fireworks and did not seek fame, but deserved more recognition, for both its humanity and effectiveness,” the newspaper said in an article on its website.
The next quarter is full of economic promise, according to a report released by the Confederation of British Industry (CBI).
The CBI’s latest growth indicator said output rose and the UK’s economic recovery is under way.
Manufacturing output stayed solid, while there was continuing growth in the retail and service sectors, said the CBI.
“The outlook for the next three months is exceptionally strong and broad based, with growth expectations the strongest since the data began in 2003,” said the CBI.
Katja Hall, the CBI policy director, said that even though “consumer” spending formed most of GDP growth in 2013, “there are firm indications of growth becoming more broad based. It’s good see that business investment has consistently contributed to quarterly growth since 2013”.
Productivity and earning will recover this year, while general growth is fuelled by rising business and consumer confidence as well as “supportive monetary conditions”, said Hall.
July retail sales in Britain rose at their fastest pace since January, thanks to summer shopping and the unseasonal heatwave.
According to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), retail sales hit their six-month high in July. Retailers recorded strong demand for clothing, footwear and just anything related to tropical temperatures.
UK retail sales are down and it seems the slump is worse than economists had predicted. According to the Confederation of British Industry (CBI), retail sales will hit a five-month low in February.
Although volumes continued to strengthen in the first half of February, the pace of growth slowed down once again. CBI found that 37 percent of retailers saw an increase in their volume in early 2013, while 29 percent reported a decline.
The resulting balance of 8 percent was the lowest figure since September 2012. It was also the third consecutive month in which the pace of growth had slowed. Economists expected growth to drop to 16 percent, down from 17 in January. They also expected the volume of orders to remain flat, but they fell 19 percent, the lowest figure since November 2011.
However, it is not all doom and gloom. CBI reckons the business situation is actually improving. The business situation balance rose to +12, the best result since August 2011. Some retail sub-sectors also did quite well, such as clothing, furniture and none-store goods, which includes online and mail order sales. In fact, non-store sales were up 70 percent.
“We all know trading is tough, and the bad weather hasn’t exactly been encouraging shoppers to hit the high street lately,” said Barry Williams, Chairman of the CBI Distributive Trades Survey.
So, it appears that strong non-store sales had a lot to do with horrid weather, and the weather also contributed to the sharp decline in retail footfall last month.