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Michelle Mone gives up lingerie board seats to focus on new government role

3 min read

18 August 2015

Former editor

Scottish entrepreneur Michelle Mone has stepped down from her board positions at MJM International and Ultimo Brands International, freeing her up to focus on what she has identified as “new business interests” and responsibility to promote entrepreneurship in disadvantaged areas.

Mone left her native Scotland in May, and relocated to London, after announcing she needed to give more attention to global business commitments – whilst also making a dig against the Scottish National Party (SNP).

At this stage, it is not clear what Mone’s new business interests are but the news will bring to a close a near 20-year association with lingerie brand Ultimo and MJM International, the holding company for the brand.

Having left school at 15, Mone bulit Ultimo up to be a multi-million pound business which used the likes of Kelly Brook, Helena Christensen and Abbey Clancy as models to market products.

The business was set up with her former husband but, after the duo divorced in 2013, a decision was made to transfer Ultimo to a joint venture company – Ultimo Brands International. Mone then took the decision, in November 2014, to sell her majority stake to Sri Lanka-based lingerie company MAS Holdings.

In a statement, Ultimo said it wished Mone “every success” in her new personal projects and public engagements, and thanked her for contributions in the past and for her future support of Ultimo’s growth.

One possible future avenue for Mone may be a jewellery line she has designed in association with shopping channel QVC UK. A maiden range is being launched at the beginning of September, with Mone having been filmed as part of an advertisement during the last week.

Her work for the government, having been appointed by prime minister David Cameron, will include compiling a review on how best to encourage startups and entrepreneurship in areas of high unemployment.

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Speaking at the time of the appointment on 11 August, work and pensions secretary Iain Duncan Smith said: “Entrepreneurship can play an important role in supporting economic growth and creating jobs in our most disadvantaged communities.

“However, people living in those areas face a range of additional barriers they need to overcome in starting and growing businesses.”

She now joins notable female business women such as Karren Brady and Tamara Mellon as individuals charged with tackling a particular issue with the British economy.