Michelle Mone, Baroness Mone
|The Right Honourable
The Baroness Mone
|Born||Michelle Georgina Allan
8 October 1971
|Spouse(s)||Michael Mone (divorced)|
|Known for||Founder of Ultimo|
On 27 August 2015, Downing Street announced her elevation to the peerage, and she was introduced in the House of Lords on 15 October by fellow Conservative peers Lord Freud and Baroness Morris of Bolton. She was appointed to conduct a 2 part government review for the PM David Cameron on business start-ups in deprived areas.
Born on 8 October 1971, Michelle Allan grew up in Glasgow's East End. She left school aged 15 to help support her mother and father after her father was confined to a wheelchair. Mone is an only child after losing her younger brother to Spina Bifida. Michelle Allan went on to marry Michael Mone aged 19 and 20 years later got divorced after having 3 children, Rebecca, Declan and Bethany.[better source needed]
Mone strived to return to employment and obtained a marketing job with the Labatt brewing company. Within two years she had risen to become its head of marketing in Scotland. Michelle Mone was made redundant by Labatt prompting her to set up her own business. She has since admitted that she exaggerated qualifications on her CV in order to get the job. While wearing a very uncomfortable cleavage enhancing brassière at a dinner dance, Mone realised she could improve the design. Her stated aims were to create a brassière that was both more comfortable and better looking, whilst enhancing more cleavage. Mone had read about a new silicone product while on holiday in Florida, and approached the company to obtain its European licence to produce bras.
In November 1996 with her husband Michael she founded MJM International, and three years of research, design, and development resulted in the Ultimo bra. In August 1999, Mone launched Ultimo at Selfridges department store in London. The couple built up MJM firm into a £39m business. Mone ranks among the UK's most successful businesswomen and her designs can still be found in department stores worldwide.
Following the breakdown of her relationship with her husband, Mone left the company briefly in 2013. She then bought her husband out of MJM International. The business was transferred to a new joint venture company Ultimo Brands International Ltd, in a 49/51% partnership with Sri Lankan-based MAS Holdings. MJM International was then wound up. In November 2014, Mone sold down her stake in Ultimo Brands International to 20% to partner MAS Holdings, and established fake-tan company UTan & Tone.
In August 2015, Lady Mone resigned her directorships of both MJM International Ltd and Ultimo Brands International Ltd citing that she had "Hung up her bra and sold 80% of Ultimo”. Mone described her 17 years of building up the Ultimo brand as a "roller coaster ride" and that she was looking forward to a "New Chapter".
Mone is one of the highest paid business speakers in the UK seeking up to £25,000 per speech within the UK. Mone is speaking around the globe with Success Resources, the speaking company who tour with Tony Robins.
Mone, previously a long-standing Labour Party supporter like her family, withdrew her support in 2009 pledging to leave the UK were Gordon Brown to increase the top income tax rate to 50%: she accused Prime Minister Brown of mismanaging the United Kingdom's finances stating that she was "disgusted by the Government's inept handling of the economic crisis".
In January 2012, she gave an interview to The Sunday Times stating her intention to move to England were Scotland to become independent following the 2014 Referendum. The Guardian records in a 2010 profile, Mone "grew up a Scottish Labour-voting Protestant and is now a Conservative peer".
On 10 August 2015, Downing Street announced that Mone would lead a review into entrepreneurship and small businesses, particularly focusing upon setting up small businesses in deprived areas, under the Work and Pensions Secretary, Iain Duncan Smith MP. On 27 August 2015, Prime Minister Cameron announced a list of new creations of Life Peers, including Mone. Her inclusion drew criticism from other business leaders, however she was commended on the release of the review by others such as the head of commercial banking for Europe at HSBC, Business secretary, and Secretary of State for Business, Innovation and Skills Sajid Javid, Ruth Lowbridge MBE, Executive Chair of the SFEDI Group and others. Some Conservatives questioned her suitability for the House of Lords. Senior Scottish Conservatives also criticised Cameron's action, describing Mone as "a public relations creation, a personal brand rather than a serious businesswoman". Mone was interviewed for YOU Magazine in April 2016 when she said that she told peers that she was worried she would not ‘fit in’ at the Lords but said “every-time they try to bring me down, I fly higher”.
Lady Mone voted in favour of cuts to working tax credits in October 2015, a motion which was subsequently withdrawn by HMG. She has since explained her reasoning and said that she has learned from it. ‘I was like a rabbit in the headlights and would have liked to have been there for the first and second reading, but I have learnt so much from it now,’ she reflects. ‘I didn’t even know where the toilets were, seriously; and my very first day in the House of Lords was, dring, dring, dring [she imitates the division bell], you have to go through and vote, and I’m like, what do you mean? What’s going on?’
- Loose Women (1999, 2012)
- Celebrity Masterchef (2011)
- Mind Your Own Business (2005)
- The Apprentice: You're Fired! (2007–2009)
- Coleen's Real Women (2008)
- The Apprentice (2008)
- I'm A Celebrity... Get Me Out of Here! (2008)
In 2014, a former operations director won a claim for unfair dismissal from Ultimo Brands International company after discovering that one of the new directors Eliaz Poleg had authorised electronic bugging of his office. Poleg – the chairman of the company formed from the sale of Michelle’s MJM firm – said he made the move as he had “extreme concerns” over Kilday’s loyalty to the troubled bra business.
Mone threatened to sue her critics when it was revealed her company MJM International had paid a substantial sum of money into a controversial tax avoidance scheme. Following a test case brought by HMRC against Glasgow Rangers Football Club, EBTs (the type of tax avoidance scheme used by MJM International) were ruled illegal in November 2015; Lady Mone strenuously denies any wrongdoings and reminded the public that she had to undergo extensive background checks before being invited into the House Of Lords as a lifetime peer: "I have not done anything wrong".
In her new role as a "Business Tsar", following appointment by David Cameron, Mone has further courted controversy - by converting her companies MGM Media and UBeauty Global to "unlimited company" status in order to avoid filing accounts and having her business details scrutinised. A spokesman for Mone claimed there was no conflict between her government role (which involves championing transparency in business dealings) to protect public scrutiny.
At 18 years old, Michelle Allan became pregnant with her first child, Rebecca. She then converted to Roman Catholicism and married Michael Mone, an anaesthetist's son from a Catholic family. On 27 December 2011, lawyers announced the couple's formal separation; they have three children: Rebecca, Declan, and Bethany.
In 2001 Prince Charles invited Mone to join the board of directors of The Princes Scottish Youth Business Trust: "Michelle Mone is... the first assisted businesswoman to be invited to serve on the PSYBT Board; ... MJM International Ltd [is] a company she set up... with a £5,000 loan from PSYBT", and later as a member of its Council.
Mone was appointed Officer of the Order of the British Empire (OBE) for "services to the lingerie industry" in the 2010 New Year Honours. After consultation with the College of Arms, on 30 September 2015, she was created a Life Peer as Baroness Mone, of Mayfair in the City of Westminster. In 2016 Mone won the HSBC special lifetime Achievement award.
- 1971 – 1989: Miss Michelle Allan
- 1989 – 2010: Mrs Michelle Mone
- 2010 – 2011: Mrs Michelle Mone OBE
- 2011 – 2015: Ms Michelle Mone OBE
- 2015–present: The Baroness Mone OBE
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