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Hilary Cropper, DBE

Hilary Cropper, DBE

Born January 1941, died December 2004. 

After taking a mathematics degree at Salford University, and a first job with an engineering company, Hilary in 1970 joined ICL, working on operating software for the System 4 range. Though initially working in part-time positions to help raise her children, she was later promoted to senior management roles, eventually becoming the male-dominated company's most senior woman.

In 1985, she was headhunted by FI Group (founded by Stephanie Shirley), which later became Xansa, to manage its UK operations as Chief Executive, a position she served in until 2000; between then and 2002, she was the company's executive Chairman. During her tenure as Chief Executive and the Chairman, the company's annual revenues grew from £7m to £450m. In 1991, Hilary led a management buy-out of the company and a large number of staff became the owners of company shares. It was in turn floated on the stock exchange in 1996 and many of those staff who had kept their shares (about 100 in all) became millionaires. 

She had been appointed a CBE in 1999 and was promoted to Dame Commander (DBE) in 2004.

Her biography is published by the Oxford Dictionary of National Biography (ODNB), in print March 2009 and online in January 2008, written by Martin Campbell-Kelly.

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