Who was Jacqueline Gold? Anne Summers boss dies aged 62

Anne Summers’ chief executive Jacqueline Gold on TV’s Back with the Boss (Handout)
Anne Summers’ chief executive Jacqueline Gold on TV’s Back with the Boss (Handout)

Jacqueline Gold has died at the age of 62, the family of the British businesswoman has confirmed.

Her family announced that she passed on Thursday (March 16), having fought breast cancer for seven years.

A statement added: “It is with unspeakable sadness that Ann Summers confirm our amazing executive chair Jacqueline Gold CBE passed away yesterday evening with her husband Dan, daughter Scarlett, sister Vanessa and brother-in-law Nick by her side.”

Who was Jacqueline Gold?

Ms Gold was best known for being the executive chair and curator at Ann Summers, leading a business run by women, for women.

The success of the lingerie and sex toys business helped make her a £470 million fortune, which saw her ranked as the 16th-richest woman in the UK in 2019.

Her family said: “She was also an activist for women in business and championed female entrepreneurs with the ambition to better the working environment for women.”

She was married to Dan and had one child, Scarlett.

She was awarded a CBE in the 2016 New Year honours for services to entrepreneurship, women in business, and social enterprise.

What was Jacqueline Gold’s business journey?

Ms Gold was born into a business family as the daughter of David Gold, the former owner of West Ham United, who also died this year.

While her father is credited for introducing sex magazines to the British high street, she played a role in breaking down barriers for women’s sexuality.

Having acquired the four stores of the Ann Summers chain in 1972, her father gave Jacqueline, at the age of 19, work experience in 1979.

However, she didn’t like the atmosphere at Ann Summers, which was more like that of a sex shop. So, in the early 1980s, she drew up her Ann Summers Party Plan - which home-marketed sex toys and provided a safe space for women to meet.

The success of the party plan saw her take over as chief executive of the business in 1987, which led to high street shops launching. In the early 2000s, she was able to add Knickerbox as a subsidary to the business. There are now 136 Ann Summers high street shops in the UK.

“From an internship to chief executive officer in less than 10 years, her determination and commitment to creating a unique retail offering led to the creation of a multichannel retail chain, consisting of retail stores, direct sales ambassadors, and a fast-growing online and third-party business,” her family said.

“It is her vision and creativity that saw Ann Summers grow from an unknown brand to a British household name and stable of the British high street,” the statement added.

What are Jacqueline Gold’s books?

Ms Gold was a memoir writer alongside her business career, and published her autobiography, Good Vibrations, in 1995. The book recounts how she built her empire and the challenges along the way.

Her second book, A Women’s Courage, was published in 2007 but reportedly resulted in her being sued for libel over claims she made about a former employer. She then republished the book in 2008 under the new name, Please Make it Stop.

This second memoir dealt with her childhood and the alleged abuse she said she received. The blurb reads: “In retrospect, I can see I was the perfect candidate for child abuse. My parents had divorced and my mother didn't show me much love. Her self-imposed isolation kept me away from other children. My abuser had nobody in his way.”