5th October 2017

FTSE 100 hospitality CEO Alison Brittain announced 2017 winner of the Award

Arts and culture leader Jude Kelly named winner of first Veuve Clicquot Social Purpose Award

Entrepreneurial trailblazer Alice Bentinck announced winner of the New Generation Award

Alison Brittain, CEO of Whitbread, has been announced as the winner of the 44th Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award. She follows in the footsteps of some of the UK’s most prolific female business leaders — from Anita Roddick, founder of The Body Shop, to Marjorie Scardino, the first female CEO of a FTSE 100 business.

Jude Kelly CBE, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre, is awarded the inaugural Veuve Clicquot Social Purpose Award, which honours businesswomen and other female leaders whose organisations are championing social purpose. Alice Bentinck, Founder of Entrepreneur First, which aims to be the biggest creator of start-ups in the world, has been announced as the winner of the entrepreneurial, Veuve Clicquot New Generation Award.

Alison Brittain, CEO, Whitbread

As one of just seven female CEOs in the FTSE 100, Alison heads up Whitbread, the UK’s largest hospitality company, owning seven brands including Costa Coffee and Premier Inn.

The judging panel cited Alison as exhibiting the core values of the Business Woman Award, as a role model for women striving to reach the top of large organisations and working across a range of traditionally male-dominated sectors. Starting out as a graduate trainee at Barclays, Alison worked her way up to the head of retail banking at Lloyds Banking Group before becoming CEO of Whitbread, now responsible for the UK’s largest hotel brand and the world’s second largest international coffee shop chain.

Alison strongly advocates the need for more women in executive level positions and is committed to Whitbread’s initiatives to develop people’s skills, careers and employment opportunities.  She has laid out a clear strategy to drive Whitbread’s future growth through expansion and innovation in its core UK business, as well as focusing on building brand presence in key international markets and investing in infrastructure and capabilities to support these ambitious growth plans.

On receiving the award, Alison Brittain commented: “This award has such an amazing heritage. Madame Clicquot was an incredible and inspirational woman, she set the quality standard for an entire industry and was a passionate and spirited pioneer and innovator.  I am both honoured and humbled to receive this award and I’m delighted to be following in the footsteps of so many outstanding women.”

Sophi Tranchell, CEO of Divine Chocolate, was announced as the runner-up for the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award.

Jude Kelly CBE, Artistic Director of Southbank Centre

As the Artistic Director of Britain’s largest cultural institution, Jude Kelly embodies the values of the first Social Purpose Award, in championing a social purpose beyond her core business case, while maintaining strong leadership and business acumen.

Jude’s vision for Southbank Centre is focused on art being available to all, bringing artists and audiences from across the world together to celebrate different cultures and inspire learning through an innovative festival model. The wealth of festivals that Jude has launched include the Women of the World festival (WOW), which has created a platform for debate and discussion that celebrates women and young girls around the world and identifies the barriers to them achieving their potential. Founded by Jude in 2010, WOW has seen global growth with international WOW festivals now in twenty cities across five continents.

Collaborating with communities across the UK and internationally, Jude and Southbank Centre now provide learning and participation experiences for over 57,000 children and young people every year, and half of its artistic programme available for free, to reduce the barriers to people being able to access arts and culture. Jude has also taken Southbank Centre’s festivals, exhibitions and productions worldwide, reaching locations as diverse as Somaliland and Karachi.

The judging panel also recognised Jude’s leadership and business acumen in transforming Southbank Centre from a receiving house for touring companies and a venue space for other organisations, into staging up to 17 major festivals every year, across classical and contemporary music, dance, performance, visual art, literature, spoken word and heritage.

Jude Kelly CBE said “Southbank Centre was founded on the principle that great arts and culture are for everyone, not a privileged few, and living and working by this maxim has been at the heart of my role at the organisation over the past decade. I passionately believe that art can change lives and it is such an honour to be recognised for this today, alongside such an extraordinary group of finalists. As a leader in the arts – an industry still largely dominated at the top by men – I know how significant it is to have female role models for the next generation of leaders, and to learn from the diversity of stories and passions of people from all backgrounds.

“I founded WOW to ensure girls and women from every walk of life have a shared place to celebrate progress and confront barriers. There is still much to do to challenge the status quo, but through recognition of women’s achievements, in the spirit of Madame Clicquot, we can continue to build this movement for change.”

Shauneen Lambe, Founder and Executive Director of Just For Kids Law, was named the runner-up for the Veuve Clicquot Social Purpose Award.

Alice Bentinck, Founder of Entrepreneur First

In her mid-twenties, Alice left McKinsey and turned down a coveted job to found Entrepreneur First, which is now the most successful early stage investment programme in Europe. Alice and her co-founder, Matt Clifford, pioneered a new model of startup creation by focusing on investing in individuals with unique technical skills, helping them to find their co-founder on the EF Programme, and build their idea from scratch into a product.

The judging panel acknowledged Alice’s demonstration of key aspects of the New Generation Award, in being fearless in optimising a gap in the market and turning a creative vision into a tangible business. When Entrepreneur First was starting out, Alice was repeatedly told the model wouldn’t work. Today, it has the best results of any accelerator or early stage investor in Europe, having graduated over 100 companies with investors including Accel, Balderton, Index, Notion, Octopus Ventures, scaling the programme from 30 to 200 people a year in London, and opening their first international office in Singapore.

Alice is also committed to improving startup education in Universities to support and encourage graduates to launch their own companies and work in startups. She set up and delivered ‘Startups from Scratch’, a four-part course taken by over 1000 students in Universities in England and Switzerland, and also set up not-for-profit ‘Code First: Girls’, a free six-week coding course that 5,000 young women have completed.

Alice Bentinck on receiving her award said: “My Co-founder Matt and I created Entrepreneur First out of a desire to change career paths for the most ambitious technical individuals. It is brilliant to see that in just over five years, we’ve expanded the EF team, made our 100th investment and have now had 500 individuals go through the programmes and choose entrepreneurship as their career path in London and Singapore. I’m honoured to have been selected for the Veuve Clicquot New Generation Award out of so many innovative entrepreneurs and to have been shortlisted alongside Samantha Payne.”

Samantha Payne, Founder of Open Bionics, was announced as the runner-up for the Veuve Clicquot New Generation Award.

Julie Nollet, Marketing & Communication Director, Moët Hennessy UK, commented:

“We are delighted to celebrate three exceptional winners, from a range of diverse sectors yet shared in their commitment to strong leadership, an innovative approach to succeed, and remaining a role model to others through inspiring social initiatives. The attributes and values that Madame Clicquot maintained as one of the world’s first entrepreneurs are embodied by Alison, Jude and Alice, as all three lead their organisations and industries with the same courage, enterprising determination and commitment to social responsibility.”

The esteemed judging panel for the Awards is comprised of business leaders from various industries, including, Caroline Michel, CEO of Peters, Frasers & Dunlop, Ruth Rogers, Co-founder of River Café, Matthew Gwyther, Editor of Management Today, Stephen Quinn, Publishing Director of Vogue, and Moira Benigson, Founder of MBS Group.

About Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Awards

The Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award, now in its 44th year in the UK, celebrates entrepreneurial women who have made a significant contribution to business life in the UK. The Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award nomination criteria are those ideals epitomised by Madame Clicquot: Entrepreneurship, financial success, Corporate Social Responsibility and acting as a role model.

Created in 1972 in France and then introduced to the UK in 1974, as a tribute to Madame Clicquot and now operating in 27 countries, the annual Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award champions the success of business women worldwide who share the same qualities as Madame Clicquot; her enterprising spirit, her courage and the determination necessary to accomplish her aims.

Join us online: Facebook – Veuve Clicquot UK, Twitter – @VeuveClicquotUK #bwa2017

In addition to receiving a silver trophy shaped as a La Grande Dame bottle and a case of La Grande Dame 2004, the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award 2017 winner will take part in the International Business Woman Award Forum at the Veuve Clicquot Maison in Reims as well as a year’s membership to The Marque ( an online platform described by Forbes Magazine as ‘LinkedIn for the world’s most successful people’

Special thanks to Givenchy Fragrances & Beauty

For further information on the Veuve Clicquot Business Woman Award programme and Veuve Clicquot, please contact:

Anna Zabow

Antidote Communications


Telephone: 0203 740 4009

Katie Crawford

Senior PR and Communications Manager

Veuve Clicquot


Telephone: 0207 808 4492