Ruby McGregor-Smith

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The Right Honourable
The Baroness McGregor-Smith
Ruby McGregor-Smith CEO of Mitie Group plc.jpg
Ruby McGregor-Smith
Born 22 February 1963 (1963-02-22) (age 54)
Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India
Residence London, England
Nationality British
Occupation Former CEO, Mitie Group PLC
Salary £2,572,412 (2016)[1]
Term 2006-17
Successor Phil Bentley
Spouse(s) Graham McGregor-Smith
Children 2

Ruby McGregor-Smith, Baroness McGregor-Smith, CBE (born 22 February 1963) is the former CEO of Mitie Group PLC, a strategic outsourcing company headquartered in Bristol, from 2007 to 2016.[2][3] She was nominated as a Conservative life peer in August 2015.[4]

McGregor-Smith joined Mitie as group financial director in 2002 and was promoted to CEO in 2007. She was the only Asian female chief executive of a FTSE 250 company at this time.[5] She was awarded a CBE in 2012 for services to business and promoting diversity.[6] During the decade she spent at Mitie, the firm increased its turnover by £1.5bn billion, which passed the £2bn mark for the first time in 2012.[7][8]

Early life[edit]

McGregor-Smith was born in 1963 in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, in northern India.[7][9] She moved to the UK aged two with her mother, joining her father who was training as an accountant in London.[3][9] She grew up in Stanmore in the London Borough of Harrow, attending Bentley Wood High School and Lowland Sixth Form College before graduating from Kingston University in 1985 with a degree in economics.[10]


Following university, McGregor-Smith trained for six years as an accountant at BDO Stoy Hayward.[7] After qualifying, she joined Serco Group PLC, an outsourcing firm, in 1991, where she worked for nine years in a range of operational and financial roles.[9]

In 2002, after a brief spell at the facilities management firm Service Group International (SGI), McGregor-Smith joined Mitie Group PLC as group financial director.[3] In 2005 she was promoted to group chief operating officer, and became CEO two years later[5][10] when her predecessor Ian Stewart retired to take over the role of deputy chairman.[11] As the first Asian female chief executive of a FTSE 250 company, the appointment received extensive press coverage.[10][12]

McGregor-Smith's tenure as CEO has seen Mitie's top and bottom lines grow, boosted by strong demand for integrated services.[3] [9][13] She was quick to identify energy management as a source of future growth: the 2009 acquisition Dalkia UK, a facilities management firm specialising in energy services, significantly boosted Mitie's strength in this niche market.[9] However, in 2016 shares in Mitie fell to a four-year low after the company warned that an expected boom in outsourced services was not happening.[14] Internal initiatives at Mitie in which McGregor-Smith has personal involvement include 'Mitie's Got Talent', a company-wide talent contest; and 'Mitie Millions', at which she and Finance Director Suzanne Baxter judge budding entrepreneurs with up to £5m to invest in the winners.[2][10] The only non-executive directorship she holds is on the board of recruitment firm Michael Page.[5]

In October 2016, it was announced that Phil Bentley would succeed her as CEO of Mitie.[15]

Charitable and community interests[edit]

McGregor-Smith chairs the Women's Business Council, a working group that seeks to maximise women's contribution to economic growth. [16]

She has been appointed by Business Secretary Sajid Javid, to lead a review looking at the issues faced by businesses in developing black and minority ethnic (BME) talent from when they start work through to the executive level.[17][18]

Her views on gender diversity in management have been widely reported in the mainstream media, specifically her opposition to positive discrimination in the form of quotas.[8][10] She urges companies to select managers based on talent alone, and asserts that support and flexibility for new mothers is the key to gender equality on the boards of large firms.[8]

Awards and recognition[edit]

In 2007 McGregor-Smith was named First Woman of Business Services at the Real Business/CBI First Women Awards.[19][20]

In 2008 she received the Business Women of the Year at the Asian Women of Achievement Awards.[21]

In 2009, 2010 and 2011 she was ranked 32nd, 35th and 33rd in The Financial Times Top 50 Women in World Business.[22][23][24] In the same year she was named Business Woman of the Year at the Women in Public Life Awards.[25]

In 2011 she was named Woman of the Year at the Asian Achievers Awards.[26] Also in 2011 she was named Orange Leader of the Year at the UK National Business Awards and Woman of the Year at the Asian Achievers Awards, and was awarded honorary doctorates from Kingston University and the University of the West of England.[27][28][29]

In the 2012 New Year Honours McGregor-Smith was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) for services to business and diversity in business.[6][30]

In February 2013, she was included in the BBC Radio 4 Woman's Hour 2013 Power List of the 100 most powerful women in the UK.[19] As well, in April 2013 she was made non-executive director to the board of the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS).[31][32] In November 2013, McGregor-Smith was made Chair of the Public Services Strategy Board for the CBI.[33]

In January 2014, she was made a member of the Prime Minister's Holocaust Commission.[34] In February 2014 she was appointed a UK Business Ambassador for UKTI.[35]

In August 2015, she was nominated to be a life peer in the UK House of Lords, and was created Baroness McGregor-Smith, of Sunninghill in the Royal County of Berkshire on 16 October 2015.[36][37] In December 2015, she was appointed non-executive board member of the Department for Education.[38] In the same year she won the ICAEW Outstanding Achievement award.[25]

In June 2016 she received the Lifetime Achievement Award at the First Women Awards 2016,[39] and in July 2016 she received an Honorary Doctorate from Cranfield University for her outstanding contribution to the energy industry.[40][41]

Member of the Women’s Business Council, and chair from 2012 to 2016.[42]

Styles of address[edit]

  • 1963–2012: Ms Ruby McGregor-Smith
  • 2012–2015: Ms Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE
  • 2015–: The Rt Hon. The Baroness McGregor-Smith CBE

Personal life[edit]

McGregor-Smith has been married to Graham McGregor-Smith, an accountant, since 1990.[43] They have two children, a daughter and a son.[5]


  1. ^ Stocks. "Stocks". Bloomberg. Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  2. ^ a b Cave, Andrew (26 May 2012). "Mitie's Ruby McGregor-Smith:. 'let's show support for our risk-takers'". The Daily Telegraph. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  3. ^ a b c d de Vita, Emma (1 January 2010). "The MT Interview: Ruby McGregor-Smith of Mitie". Management Today. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  4. ^ "Dissolution Peerages 2015". Retrieved 27 August 2015. 
  5. ^ a b c d Crow, David (26 March 2012). "The Mitie boss who says board quotas are not the answer". City AM. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  6. ^ a b Cisco CIO Summit 2013 Website
  7. ^ a b c Crow, David. "Ruby McGregor Smith CBE". BBC Radio 4. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  8. ^ a b c Campbell, Peter (12 September 2012). "'Talent key on boards': Why Mitie boss Ruby McGregor-Smith opposes push towards female quotas for directors". This is Money. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  9. ^ a b c d e West, Karl (29 April 2010). "Interview: Mitie's Ruby McGregor-Smith". This is Money. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  10. ^ a b c d e "Ruby-Mcgregor-Smith – A MITIE Woman". Coutts Bank. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  11. ^ "Mitie Group names Ruby McGregor-Smith CEO, succeeding Ian Stewart". AFX News Limited. 31 January 2007. Retrieved 3 May 2013. 
  12. ^ Lea, Robert (17 December 2012). "The boss who saw red over inequality in boardroom". The Times. Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  13. ^ Mitie chief executive Ruby McGregor-Smith. "Good growth at Mitie | City & Business | Finance | Daily Express". Retrieved 2016-09-25. 
  14. ^ "'Prickly peer' Baroness McGregor-Smith smoothes over Mitie's problems". The Times. 2016-03-25. Retrieved 2016-09-25. 
  15. ^ Jill Treanor (1970-01-01). "Mitie's chief executive steps down after 'decade at the top' | Business". The Guardian. Retrieved 2016-10-10. 
  16. ^ May MP, The Rt Hon. Theresa (13 March 2012). "Business council will boost women's role in economy". Retrieved 5 April 2013. 
  17. ^ "Business Secretary Steps up Fight to End Discrimination". Crown copyright. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  18. ^ "It's Time to Tackle Obstacles to BME Progression". The CBI. Company. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  19. ^ a b "KU's Ruby McGregor-Smith Named 'Woman of Power' by BBC". Kingston University. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  20. ^ First Woman Awards Website
  21. ^ "2009 Asian Women Achievement Awards". Asian Enterprise Magazine. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  22. ^ "FT Top 50 Women in World Business". The Financial Times Ltd. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  23. ^ "The Top 50 Women in World Business 2010". The Financial Times Ltd. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  24. ^ "The Top 50 Women in World Business 2011". The Financial Times Ltd. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  25. ^ a b "FTSE 250 Chief Wins ICAEW Award". ICAEW. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  26. ^ "Asian Achievers Award 2011". Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  27. ^ "MITIE CEO Ruby McGregor-Smith Named National Business Awards Leader of the Year". UBM plc. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  28. ^ "Honorary Doctorate for Mitie Chief Executive". Kingston University London. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  29. ^ "UWE Awards Honorary Degree to Ruby McGregor-Smith". UWE Bristol. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  30. ^ "No. 60009". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2011. p. 8. 
  31. ^ "Ruby McGregor-Smith and Ajay Chowdhury Have Been Appointed as non-executive Directors to the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS) board by Culture Secretary Maria Miller". Crown copyright. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  32. ^ "New non-executive directors appointed to the DCMS board - Press releases". GOV.UK. 2013-05-09. Retrieved 2016-09-25. 
  33. ^ "MITIE CEO named chair of CBI's Public Services Strategy Board". kpm Group. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  34. ^ "Prime Minister Launches Holocaust Commission". Crown copyright. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  35. ^ "Trade Promotion Business, Innovation and Skills written question – answered on 28th April 2014". mySociety Limited. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  36. ^ "Full List of New Peers and Other Honours". BBC. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  37. ^ "No. 61388". The London Gazette. 22 October 2015. p. 19846. 
  38. ^ "Baroness Ruby McGregor-Smith CBE". GOV.UK. Retrieved 2016-09-25. 
  39. ^ "Leading ladies from the 2016 First Women Awards". Caspian Media. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  40. ^ "Cranfield University Graduation 2016". Cranfield University. Retrieved 17 September 2016. 
  41. ^ "Cranfield University Graduation 2016". 2016-07-07. Retrieved 2016-09-25. 
  42. ^ "About the Women's Business Council | Women's Business Council". 2016-07-07. Retrieved 2016-09-25. 
  43. ^ "The Mitie boss who says board quotas are not the answer | City A.M". City A.M. 2012-03-26. Retrieved 2017-07-28.