Kristina Blahnik, CEO, Manolo Blahnik
Kristina Blahnik, CEO of Manolo Blahnik, is a creative leader and businesswoman. Educated at the prestigious University of Cambridge, Kristina studied Architecture and, following graduation, opened her own practice, receiving a diploma from the Architectural Association. She joined the family business in 2009, and, with an exceptional eye for detail and entrepreneurial vision, she was appointed CEO in 2013. Kristina works closely with her uncle and mother in expanding and optimising the business on a global scale.
Balthazar Fabricius and Chris Downham, co-Chair, Walpole Brands of Tomorrow
In 2020 Chris Downham was appointed co-Chair of Walpole’s Brands of Tomorrow Programme along with Balthazar Fabricius. Chris is a chartered accountant. He has worked in general and financial management roles for founder-led and entrepreneurial businesses over the last two decades, including as CFO and CEO of luxury media company BOAT International until the end of 2018. He has advisory and board roles with several companies, including sustainable luxury repair service The Restory, a 2019 Brand of Tomorrow. Balthazar grew up on the Goodwood Estate, and was educated at Sherborne, followed by King’s College London. He cut his teeth on Ladbrokes’ Graduate Scheme in 2002, before founding Fitzdares in 2005. In 2007, Fitzdares became one of Walpole’s inaugural Brands of Tomorrow.
Jonathan Baker, Managing Director, Turnbull & Asser
Jonathan Baker began his career at Paul Smith, rising through the ranks in the UK, before relocating to New York in 2005 as General Manager for North America. He returned to London in 2009 as Global Head of Wholesale and Franchise. In 2012, he joined No. 14 Savile Row, a private equity start-up as Sales Director before his promotion to chief operating officer in 2014.In 2016 Jonathan joined British shirtmaker and Royal Warrant holder Turnbull & Asser. As Managing Director, Jonathan has successfully developed and implemented the three-year strategic plan for the brand, putting in place solid foundations for sustainable growth.
Knut Wylde, General Manager, The Berkeley
Knut Wylde is a well-respected hotelier with a career spanning the globe from Europe to the Caribbean, Middle East and Asia within the luxury sector. Before his appointment to General Manager of The Berkeley, Knut was Hotel Manager at Claridge’s and previously worked at some of the most iconic London properties such as The Lanesborough and The Savoy. Additionally, he has held senior roles with One&Only Resorts, Rosewood Hotels, and the Dorchester Collection. With this wealth of experience and his commitment to the hospitality industry, Knut brings an energetic and fresh approach to hotel management as well as a true understanding of luxury in both product and service.
Simon Cotton, CEO, Johnstons of Elgin
For the last seven years Simon Cotton has led cashmere and fine woollens specialist Johnstons of Elgin, helping it to deliver the potential of its223-year history and incredible expertise. He has a burning passion for continuous improvement and innovation, coupled with a commitment to genuine and meaningful work on driving sustainability at every level. Whilst developing ever-closer relationships with the world’s top luxury brands, under Simon’s guidance Johnstons has also invested to enable the company’s own brand to carve out its own ‘slow luxury’ niche as the most-loved brand for the very best Scottish cashmere and fine woollens.
Leanne Roberts-Hewitt, Managing Director and Kelly Yeomans, Business Development, Wildabout
Renowned London floral designers Leanne Roberts-Hewitt and Andrew Devonport head up a team of passionate home grown and international florists with an incredible eye for detail and artistic design. Kelly Yeomans is the brand’s Business Development and Client Services Consultant. After being forced to shut the studio, Leanne and Kelly prevented hundreds of thousands of flowers being sent to landfill and delivered 2,000 bouquets to six London hospitals to spread joy to NHS workers during the first lockdown. As well as this act of kindness, Wildabout are regularly called upon for large installations, wedding and event flowers through London, the UK and Europe, and have a luxury online store offering stunning bouquets, plants and gifts.