Anne Jessopp became The Royal Mint’s first female chief executive in the organisation’s 1,100-year history in February 2018, having previously served as acting chief executive since October 2017. Anne started her career in human resources, working across a number of sectors, gaining manufacturing experience early in her career at Rolls-Royce and Procter & Gamble, before gaining consumer experience at Radio Rentals and RAC. More recently, she was HR director of an industrial services company and Remploy, before joining The Royal Mint in 2008 as the Business Services Director, and then moving to lead the Commemorative Coin Division in 2015.
“…My advice to women and girls who are aspiring to chief executive roles is to have the confidence to be yourself, learn from others and spend time enjoying the role you are in…”
My career to date
When I started at The Royal Mint ten years ago, I came in as HR director, helping it to transition from civil service status into a business. After that I took on the responsibility of looking after a number of the important central functions in the organisation, for example, the central business services unit.
Then came the exciting role of leading the very busy, extremely successful commemorative coin consumer business. I have overseen its expansion to include a number of additional services such as our Collector Services division, incorporating the new Historical Coins, Valuation and Authentication and Secure Storage services.
It was never in my career plan to become a chief executive, but as I developed more skills, when the post became vacant I felt that I was ready to take on the challenge. It seemed a natural next step for me.
My role on a day to day basis
What makes it so interesting is the fact that we have a number of different businesses. Apart from circulating and commemorative coin production, The Royal Mint’s bullion business is respected across the world, trading both wholesale and online via royalmintbullion.com. Our thriving tourist attraction in South Wales, UK – The Royal Mint Experience – has welcomed over 150,000 visitors in its first two years. This means a constantly changing and varied set of challenges, which is fascinating.
We are enjoying a particularly exciting time in terms of the sort of coins we have been producing, too – our day to day themes and stories vary hugely. The highlights for me have been the old and new commemorative £1 coins, celebrations of royal events such as the Sapphire Jubilee, Longest Reigning Monarch and Her Majesty The Queen’s 90th Birthday.
A particular favourite is the wonderful Beatrix Potter coin collection, with Peter Rabbit and other characters and, of course, the Great British Coin Hunt A to Z coins – quite a departure from The Royal Mint’s traditional standard themes, but extremely popular with collectors.
Becoming The Royal Mint’s first female chief executive in its 1,100-year history
I believe that regardless of being male or female, every person would do this job differently. I think we need to value every person for the attributes they bring to the job, and it’s only when you bring a team of skilled people together, be they male or female, that you actually make the most of all those skills on offer. We live in a challenging world, so a mix of attributes is a good thing to equip us all to face those challenges.
I believe that ultimately, it’s the people within an organisation that can deliver business success, and this can only be achieved by engaging them and providing a clear vision. When people are not performing effectively it’s normally because we haven’t been good at doing that, so I make engagement and vision a real priority.
Plans for International Women’s Day
My appointment is very recent, so I have found myself in the media spotlight as a result of that, particularly as the start of my new role has fallen close to International Women’s Day. I am also the subject of a Royal Mint blog to celebrate the day. Apart from that, I have a full day in the office and then I think I will take my two daughters out, who are just at the start of their careers – the women of the future.
What #PressForProgress means to me
I hope that the current press surrounding gender equality will really help those women who are disadvantaged take a step forward and expect to experience equality as their right. We will only really have achieved equality when we value each person equally just for being themselves.
My advice to women and girls who are aspiring to chief executive roles is to have the confidence to be yourself, learn from others and spend time enjoying the role you are in; that will be the best way of securing the next role on the ladder.
Coming up next
Whilst I have been at The Royal Mint for the last ten years I think it important that I spend time understanding my new role and what the team want from their CEO. I need to lead The Royal Mint to reinterpret itself for the 21st Century, and this involves growing our commemorative coin and precious metals businesses based on our authenticity, security and design heritage and delivering the opportunities that the changing world of coins presents.
It is also important to me that we shout about what The Royal Mint does. We may have been around for over 1,100 years, but we shouldn’t assume that the outside world knows what we do today. It’s important that people know that we don’t just manufacture coins, but that we have a number of other strings to our bow too.
This wonderful business diversity is how we will ensure that The Royal Mint not only has an impressive past, but a great future as well.