CEO. Shape Beyond
In 2020, at the height of the pandemic, Helen Ashton, who at the time was CEO of a high growth private equity-backed portfolio company, walked away from her executive role – the pinnacle of a 25-year career transforming complex business in retail, business services and financial services – to start her own business.
A former CFO of ASOS Plc, the global fashion retailer, Helen is one of only a handful of female executives who have sat on both public listed company boards and those of private equity portfolio companies over the last decade. She has also worked as the CFO of Lloyds Banking Group’s retail bank and led the international growth of the Barclaycard portfolio for Barclays.
Tired of moulding her personality to fit male dominated corporate cultures, Helen decided to build a business with a purpose which was close to her heart, that allowed her the flexibility to effectively balance her work with the rest of her life whilst working with a diverse range of great people who could support and nurture Helen, as much as she could them.
The result is challenger management consultancy Shape Beyond, which provides sleeves rolled up, down to earth support to purpose-driven modern leaders who want their business to stay relevant in todays never normal world. Through experience, pragmatism and a fresh approach to leadership and change, Shape Beyond brings simplicity to complexity, pragmatism to bureaucracy and provides the bench strength and energy to make lasting change happen at pace.
Runner up in the Businesswoman of the Future Awards, Helen is a mum of five children and strongly supports diversity in all aspects of life. She is a qualified accountant with a First Class Chemistry Degree from the University of Manchester and is a non-executive director of JD Sports Fashion Plc.