Kate Swann

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Kathryn Elizabeth Swann (born Kathryn Elizabeth Prior, 1964) is a prominent British retail executive, currently Chief Executive of WH Smith.

Early life

Born in Bishop's Stortford, Hertfordshire, Swann from the University of Bradford in 1986 with a BSc in Business Management. She was ranked number 21 in the Financial Times Women in Business, Europe's top 25, in 2006. She received an honorary doctorate from the University of Bradford in July 2007.


She became Chief Executive of WH Smith on 1 November 2003. She previously held positions with Tesco Plc as a graduate trainee in 1989, Homepride Foods, Coca-Cola Schweppes and Dixons Stores Group. She then worked for Homebase, ultimately as Managing Director, and in 2000 was made Managing Director of Argos.

In 2006, Fortune listed her as one of the 50 most powerful women in business.

Personal life

She lives in Bishop's Stortford and is married to Michael, a manager at Sainsbury's, with two daughters (born August 1995 and April 2003). They married in May 1987 in Bishop's Stortford.


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