Jacqueline Gold

Jacqueline Gold

Jacqueline Gold (centre) at a photo shoot, New Oxford Street, London.
Born (1960-07-16) 16 July 1960
Bromley, Kent
Residence Whyteleafe, Surrey
Nationality  United Kingdom
Occupation Business executive and entrepreneur
Net worth £500m in 2015.[1]
Spouse(s) Dan Cunningham (m. 2010)
Parent(s) David Gold (div. 1972)
Beryl née Hunt (d. 2003)
Awards CBE (2016)
Website www.jacquelinegold.com

Jacqueline Summers Gold, CBE (born 16 July 1960) is a British businesswoman who is Chief Executive of Gold Group International,[2] Ann Summers and Knickerbox.

Gold is estimated to be the 16th richest woman in Great Britain.[3]

Early life

Gold was born on 16 July 1960, the daughter of Beryl Hunt and businessman David Gold.[4] Her father ran a publishing business which introduced sex magazines to the British high street. David apparently wept when Jacqueline was born to his first wife, because he wanted a son.[5] She and her sister grew up in a spacious three-story house with a large garden and a swimming pool at Biggin Hill, Kent.[6] In August 2007, she was the main participant of the second episode of the BBC Radio 4 series, The House I Grew Up In, in which she described an unhappy childhood.[6] Her parents separated when she was twelve years old.

Business career

After school, Jacqueline began working for Royal Doulton, but decided she did not want to go into management, and asked her father to help her gain some extra work experience. Having acquired the four stores of the Ann Summers chain in 1972, her father gave Jacqueline, at the age of nineteen, summer work experience in May 1979 – Jacqueline was paid £45 a week, less than the tea lady.[7]

Jacqueline also didn't like the atmosphere at Ann Summers, which was David Gold's "upmarket clean" sex shop. Gold says of her introduction: "It wasn't a very nice atmosphere to work in. It was all men, it was the sex industry as we all perceive it to be". But, a chance invitation and visit to a Tupperware party at an East London flat in 1981 changed everything – Jacqueline saw the potential of selling sexy lingerie and sex toys to women in the privacy of their own homes.[6] Jacqueline launched the Ann Summers Party Plan – a home marketing plan for sex toys, with a strict "no men allowed" policy. This type of party, which provides women with a forum to meet and talk about sex (and other matters), became so popular that such parties are now regarded as part of British popular culture; this format also provides the company with a convenient way of circumventing legal restrictions about displaying sex toys for sale.[8]

Gold was appointed CEO of Ann Summers in 1987, transforming it into a multi-million pound business, with a sales force today comprising more than 7,500 women party organisers, 136 high street stores throughout the UK, Ireland, and Channel Islands and generating an annual turnover of £117 million in 2008[9] although sales and profits have fallen in recent years. The reported sales for the period 2006/7[10] were down somewhat to £110 million. They have since fallen back to 2002/3 levels.[8][11] The takeover of Knickerbox in 2000 added another five stores, with Knickerbox concessions in every Ann Summers store.

Her autobiography Good Vibrations was published in 1995 (Pavilion Books), with a second book A Woman's Courage published in April 2007 (Ebury), which led to Jaqueline being sued for libel by a former employee.[12] A Woman's Courage was withdrawn from sale in November 2008 having been republished by Ebury on 7 February 2008 with three pages removed and re-titled Please Make it Stop. The High Court libel action was settled in August 2009 when the former employee was paid costs and substantial damages. Gold is a columnist for Retail Week, New Business,[13] Kent Business, and Women Mean Business.[14]


In March 2008, Gold appeared in a celebrity edition of The Apprentice. She was a member of "The Girls" team, alongside The Hon. Kirstie Allsopp, Clare Balding, Louise Redknapp, and Lisa Snowdon. "The Girls" won the contest raising over £400,000 from ticket sales and sales on the night through a big event at one of their West End stores.[15]

Gold has been the subject of several documentaries including Back to the Floor (which was filmed at a former business prior to its closure),[16] Ann Summers Uncovered, So What Do You Do All Day, Break with the Boss, and co-presented the daytime business series Mind your own Business on BBC One. She has also appeared on the ITV1 show Fortune – Million Pound Giveaway,[17] and in 2007, she was one of 12 well known individuals to serve on a jury in a fictional rape case in the BBC TV project The Verdict, which show received a number of mixed reviews.[18]

Personal life

After an earlier failed marriage with an Ann Summers dancer, in 2002, she met Dan Cunningham, a City money broker, who is seventeen years her junior.[19] The couple split up on New Year's Day 2006, after three failed IVF attempts,[20] but got back together, married in 2010 and have one surviving child.[21]

In May 2007, Jacqueline and her younger sister Vanessa took part in the justgiving.com charity moonwalk in Hyde Park, London[22] In December 2010, a nanny working for Gold was charged with trying to poison her with screenwash. 33-year old Allison Cox who had been caring for Gold's daughter, Scarlett, was charged with three counts of administering poison with intent to annoy.[3] In March 2011, Cox was jailed for twelve months after admitting administering poison with intent to annoy. Guildford Crown Court heard Cox was trying to get the chef who prepared the food into trouble by lacing two bowls of asparagus soup with screenwash on 5 October 2010.[23]


Ms Gold arriving at Upton Park in 2011 to watch her football club, West Ham Utd

In 2007, Gold was voted the second Most Powerful Woman in Retail by Retail Week, the Most Inspirational Businesswoman in the UK in a survey by Barclays Bank and handbag.com, one of Britain's Most Powerful Women by many publications including Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, and Woman magazines, one of Britain's 100 Most Influential Women by The Daily Mail, Business Communicator of the Year 2004,[24] and was included in Debrett's People of Today from 2005 for her contribution to British society.

Gold was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to entrepreneurship, women in business, and social enterprise.[25]


  1. How Jacqueline Gold made Ann Summers a respectable brand - BBC News
  2. www.davidgold.co.uk
  3. 1 2 Moore-Bridger, Benedict (24 December 2010). "Nanny accused of poisoning Ann Summers boss with screenwash". London Evening Standard. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
  4. Debrett's People of Today 2005 (18 ed.). Debrett's. p. 631. ISBN 1-870520-10-6.
  5. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/5220856.stm ,BBC News, 22 August 2006
  6. 1 2 3 "The House I Grew Up In, featuring Jacqueline Gold". The House I Grew Up In. 2007-08-13. BBC Radio 4.
  7. http://news.bbc.co.uk/1/hi/business/5220856.stm, BBC News, 22 August 2006
  8. 1 2 Ann Summers
  9. Ann Summers co-founder steps back
  10. http://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/main.jhtml?xml=/money/2007/08/21/cnann121.xml ,Telegraph, 21 August 2007
  11. http://www.annsummers.com/webapp/wcs/stores/servlet/TopCategoriesDisplay?storeId=10001 ,Ann Summers website 2006
  12. PressDisplay.com – Newspapers From Around the World Archived 23 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine.
  13. www.newbusiness.co.uk
  14. www.womenmeanbusiness.com
  15. "Jacqueline Gold to appear in Sport Relief Does The Apprentice for charity", Charities Aid Foundation, 28 February 2008. Retrieved on 2008-02-29.
  16. http://www.portsmouth.co.uk/biz/Jobs-fear-at-saucy-lingerie.1215807.jp ,The Portsmouth News, 7 October 2005
  17. Jacqueline Gold Joins the new ITV gameshow – Speakers Corner
  18. http://www.guardian.co.uk/print/0,,329684790-103677,00.html The Guardian, 13 January 2007
  19. Barbara Ellen. Brits? 'I sell 2.5m vibrators every year'. The Observer, 11 December 2005
  20. Simon Garfield. 'The abuse wasn't about sex. It was about control'. The Observer, 15 April 2007
  21. www.dailymail.co.uk
  22. http://www.justgiving.com/jacquelinegold www.Justgiving.com
  23. "Nanny jailed over poisoning bid on Ann Summers boss". BBC. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  24. Jacqueline Gold was the CiB's Communicator of the Year in 2004
  25. The London Gazette: (Supplement) no. 61450. p. N9. 30 December 2015.
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