||This article uses bare URLs for citations. (April 2013)|
As guest speaker at the University of Wolverhampton, March 2008.
4 April 1969 |
Edmonton, London, England
|Occupation||Businesswoman, journalist, broadcaster, media personality, author, novelist|
|Known for||Former Managing director of
Birmingham City F.C.,
Advisor to Lord Sugar
on The Apprentice
West Ham United
|Spouse(s)||Paul Peschisolido (m. 1995)|
Karren Rita Brady (born 4 April 1969) is an English sporting executive, television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, author and novelist. She is the former managing director of Birmingham City Football Club and current vice-chairman of West Ham United. Her appointment with Birmingham City began in March 1993, when she was only 23 years old. In 2002 she became the first woman to hold such a post in the top flight of English football when the team was promoted. She was responsible for the company's flotation in 1997, thus becoming the youngest managing director of a UK plc. She left the club in October 2009 after it was sold for £82,000,000. In January 2010 she was appointed vice-chairman of West Ham United following a change of ownership of the club. She is currently Lord Sugar's aide on the BBC 1's TV show The Apprentice and writes regular columns for Woman & Home magazine and The Sun. She has also published four books including two novels.
Early life 
Brady was brought up in Edmonton, London, and the family house was near to the Tottenham Hotspur football ground. Her Irish  father, Terry Brady, was once chairman of Swindon Town and a director of Portsmouth. He made his fortune in printing and property development. Her mother, Rita, is Italian, and she has an older brother, Darren. She attended Salcombe Preparatory School in Southgate until she was 11, followed by Poles Convent, a boarding school in Ware, Hertfordshire and Aldenham School, Elstree, a boys' school which accepted girls in the sixth form.
Early career and Birmingham City 
Brady's first job was working at Saatchi & Saatchi the advertising agency as a graduate trainee, even though she did not have a degree. In a Sunday Times Business Section profile she admitted that she had lied in her job application by stating that she did have a degree. Although she had started a degree course after A levels, she left without completing the degree. She left that job to join the London Broadcasting Company (LBC) where she managed an account for radio advertising with several clients, who initially did not spend much money; one of the clients, publisher David Sullivan, encouraged by Brady, spent more than £2,000,000 on advertising in six months, which earned Brady more commission than the rest of the sales team put together. Sullivan offered her a job with Sport Newspapers, and she became one of the directors at the age of 20. While in Sullivan's employ, Brady spotted an advert for the sale of Birmingham City F.C. in the Financial Times, when the club was in receivership, and persuaded Sullivan to buy it and let her run it. Sullivan later commented that he agreed to the deal because such a young, female director would attract publicity to the club, and also because Brady was a "sacker". Brady was 23 when she started work as managing director of Birmingham City F.C. in March 1993. She is also chairman of Bauer's Kerrang!, and has a seat on the board of Sport England. She is a non-executive director of Channel 4 television. In September 2010 she joined the board of Arcadia with Sir Philip Green, resigning from a non-executive position with Mothercare where she had been for seven years.
In 2008, Sullivan and Brady were arrested by City of London Police, interviewed and released on bail, as part of the investigation into the 2006 allegations of corruption in English football, which also involved similar actions against players and officials from other clubs; club chairman David Gold was interviewed as a witness. the club stated that no charges had been brought, that Brady denied any wrongdoing. The investigation involved only tax and national insurance offences relating to two players. Gold said that it was "utterly wrong that this highly professional businesswoman has been made a victim in a witch-hunt against football". In August 2009 it was confirmed that no further action would be taken. She left Birmingham City two months later, after the club was taken over by Carson Yeung. The same month she was appointed Chairman to the England 2018 World Cup bid advisory board. 
West Ham United 
In January 2010 she was appointed vice-chairman of West Ham United by new joint chairmen, David Sullivan and David Gold. Writing in her newspaper column Brady said "To West Ham fans I'll make a single pledge – while we are on the board, we will hang in the Tower of London before your club again goes through the financial turmoil which so nearly brought it down". Brady said she liked the idea of changing the club's name to West Ham Olympic. David Gold subsequently said that the club shall always be West Ham United under his chairmanship but "What you might do is call the stadium West Ham Olympic stadium. I can make a case for that." Brady was responsible for negotiating a move on behalf of West Ham United from their Boleyn Ground to the Olympic Stadium in Stratford, East London. Initially the intention was for West Ham to take ownership of the stadium, this bid collapsing in October 2011 following a legal delay caused by a rival bid by Tottenham Hotspur. Investigators working on behalf of Tottenham were subsequently charged with fraud for obtaining illegally the private telephone records of Brady. In December 2012 West Ham were announced as the highest ranked bidder to become the anchor concessionaire and tenant of the Olympic Stadium. Of the move Brady said "We are ambitious for our great club and aim to set the bencemark for visiting away and neutral supporters from across the globe to come and enjoy the iconic Stadium and be part of our Premier League club experience".
The Apprentice 
In March 2007, Brady appeared as a celebrity contestant on Comic Relief Does The Apprentice and was team leader for the girls' team, winning £1,000,000 for Comic Relief. In June 2008, Brady was a guest interviewer in series four of The Apprentice – interviewing the final five. After the show, it was revealed that Brady had fulfilled a promise she made to Alan Sugar on screen, and offered a job to Claire Young, who finished as runner-up in the series, after being impressed by her interview. In 2009 she interviewed candidates again in The Apprentice Season 5, as seen on BBC 1. On 30 August 2009, she was revealed as Alan Sugar's new assistant in the sixth series of The Apprentice, replacing Margaret Mountford, who had left the series (and who returned in series 6, 7 and 8 as a guest interviewer, the same role that Brady had fulfilled in her first appearance in the main UK apprentice series).
Personal life 
In 1995 Brady married Canadian footballer Paul Peschisolido, who played for Birmingham City for two seasons, 1992–93 and 1993–94. About one year later, she had her first child, a girl named Sophia. She had around six weeks off work after the birth of her second child, a boy named Paolo. Brady lives in the village of Knowle (within the borough of Solihull) near Birmingham with her husband and children and they also have a property in the Knightsbridge area of London and a holiday home in Canada.
In 2006, Brady underwent a full-body MRI scan as part of a medical screen, which unexpectedly discovered a potentially fatal cerebral aneurysm. In February 2006, at the age of 36, at very short notice, she underwent neurosurgery to prevent the aneurysm from rupturing, and was back at work about one month later, fully recovered.
- In 1995, she was voted the 98th sexiest woman in the world by the readers of FHM magazine.
- In 2006 Brady was Cosmopolitan magazine's Woman of the Year, and named in the category of 'Woman Who Has Changed The World'.
- In 2006 when she attended The Queen’s lunch for Women Achievers and Business Leaders.
- Brady was named as Business Woman of the Year 2007.
- In December 2008 she won the NatWest Spirit of Everywoman Award for services to women in business.
- In November 2010 she was listed in the business category of The Sunday Telegraph's ‘100 Most Powerful Women in Britain’ and was included in the Evening Standard’s list of ‘London's 1000 Most Influential People 2010’.
- She was awarded an honorary doctorate in business from the University of Birmingham in December 2010.
- In 2011 she was awarded Britain's Most Inspirational Women by the Breakthrough for Breast Cancer Inspiration Awards.
- In 2012 she was awarded the prestigious fcbusiness Magazine CEO of the Year Award at the Football Business Awards.
- In February 2013 she was assessed as one of the 100 most powerful women in the United Kingdom by Woman's Hour on BBC Radio 4.
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