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Fru Hazlitt entertains at the Women of the Future Summit

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It’s a big day for Fru Hazlitt as it is the day after the acquisition of GCap, the radio business of which she is the CEO.

She admits to a feeling of having been let out, after spending a month in a room with bankers and lawyers.

And, she adds, this intense month of negotiation and meetings didn’t release her from looking after three children under five. "I wanted to say that at some times," she says. There were mornings when she felt that everyone else in the room should congratulate her for being there.

Fru says that she is not an entrepreneur and can’t claim to be. She asked her husband, who is an entrepreneur, what were the essential characteristics of such a beast. His reply: bravery, stupidity and recklessness. "Men are better at two of those," Fru says.

She argues that it is harder for women, whether or not you have children. "You are always juggling something. Men find it easy to delegate domestic issues. Women are always thinking about it."

She describes herself as an intrapreneur – an entrepreneur within a corporate structure. Her advice to others in this position: don’t hide your strengths as a woman. "It gets easier, the more senior you get, as you create your own schedule. I’m still not honest enough. I still get my PA to say that I am at a breakfast when I am actually taking my children to school so that the teaching staff remember who I am."

Women, she argues, come into organisations and don’t always look at the paths that have been followed.

Her unlikely figure of speech for the day: paved goat paths. It’s an expression that she picked up when working at Yahoo. It means that people tend to look at a large problem – how to get from a to b – and then, metaphorically, "look at the path that most of the goats have used and reckon that is the quickest way to get over the mountain".

However, it’s not something that she approves of. "Why does it have to be this way?" Asking that question is something that women are good at.

Fru says that she really fought to challenge assumptions in the radio business, which she portrays as being very conservative and full of people who have always acted in a regulated environment.

Even when digital technology emerged, the industry saw DAB as being just the same as before, only with multiplexes.

But radio, she observes, is being consumed in lots of different ways. Consumers like accessing it on the internet. "It is a huge change. You do have to be brave."

She is hugely entertaining about her baptism of fire as the CEO of a public company. On 18 December the offer for GCap was rejected. On 19 December she was offered – and accepted – the CEO job. On 20 December, her appointment was announced. On 27 December, it was leaked that GCap had rejected the offer.

Fru’s first discussion with shareholders was "interesting". On 4 January, they practically commanded her to make a major strategic presentation. Deadline: 11 February. But on 19 January, she was due to get married. Nobody mentioned the planned honeymoon.

Press criticism about her taking a honeymoon at that time saw the trip cancelled.

Fru is candid about the issue of being a woman running a medium-sized quoted company.

"It didn’t occur to me that there would be so much publicity about me. It is because I am a woman. It is very disturbing. Business journalists would ask me how much money I spend on clothes. How often do you see your children?"

She is in such great flow that Kirsty Wark has to interrupt her, in order to get the panel session going.



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