Rebecca DeNiro

Chair, NED, previous CEO Pure Electric and MD UK&I Dyson

Rebecca DeNiro is an executive and non-executive director known for her rare combination of curious and incisive intellect, humble and effective leadership style, flair for good governance, and genuine care for the companies and people she leads.

She has held non-executive and executive positions in large corporates, privately owned businesses, hyper growth organisations and early-stage start-ups. Her executive experience spans direct to consumer, retail, and business to business models at Dyson, Pure Electric, Reckitt Benckiser and PepsiCo. 

Rebecca is a non-executive director at Regatta Ltd, where she provides independent support and challenge on company strategy, future succession and board-level mentoring. She is chair at Field Doctor, leading the board and working with the management team, to help them to commercially and operationally evolve, reflecting the growth requirements of the business. She is a trustee and chair of the revenue development committee at the Royal West of England Art Academy, supporting strategic decisions, conduct and financial stability. She has also served as board advisor for Newcastle University Business School.

At Dyson, the international technology-driven consumer products manufacturer, she led teams for 10 years. As Managing Director for Great Britain and Ireland, she drove transformational growth, entering the beauty and purification categories, both new markets for Dyson. Her unconventional haircare launch strategy achieved 60 points of value share for Dyson in just six weeks.

At the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, she revolutionised Dyson’s customer service and support, rebuilding and retraining the team to provide a faster, better experience for customers, and cutting costs by more than half for Dyson. As Managing Director for GB&I, she rapidly accelerated the direct-to-consumer business, remodelled the legacy approach to pricing and promotion and led considerable operational and organisational change as the GB&I business grew double digit profit CAGR.

As CEO at founder-led Pure Electric, in just 18 months, Rebecca transformed the company from a multi-brand retailer to a product and brand-led company, and from 40% to 80%+ revenue from own-brand new technology, designed in house. To support the founder’s transition to CEO, she has taken a role as board advisor at Pure, focussed on onmi-channel routes to market, international growth and mentoring new executives.

Rebecca’s specialisms include organisational and strategic transformation and change, as well as introducing professionalisation through governance, process and structure. She is adept and proven at transforming omnichannel routes to market; be they direct to consumer, or with partners, in both bricks and mortar and digital environments.

Setting businesses up to be strategically strong in the long term is important to Rebecca, more than pursuing in-year triumphs. Her intellectual curiosity seeks first to understand, then she sets about solving deep and tricky challenges that others would rather ignore. She recognises long-term success is fundamentally about people; she is a mentor, coach and sounding-board to both established and future leaders.

Rebecca is committed to making a deep positive impact with the companies, people and communities she works with. As trustee at The Royal West of England Art Academy, she actively champions the mission to drive access, education and diversity in fine art, and was executive sponsor for Dyson’s LGBTQ+ and gender equality employee resource groups, and the company’s employee engagement forum. She is an ambassador and past pupil mentor for Bristol Grammar School which she attended on a government assisted place.

1. What values are most important to you as a leader? 

I really believe in authenticity, creating and being in environments that welcome challenge, different approaches and a respect for individuality and team work. For me, those are the components for success and progression. The world is changing, and the great leaders of the future will be those who can set a compelling vision, build great relationships and great teams and inspire those around them.

2. Who or what is your biggest inspiration?

I’m always inspired by the people around me. I get great joy from seeing people develop and excel. If I have the opportunity, through sharing my own or others vulnerability, to help to support someone to achieve something they thought was outside of their capability, I feel like I’ve made an impact and it propels me to do more. I am motivated by being a trusted counsel in my non-executive roles and passionate about reverse mentoring with future leaders. What are we here for, if it isn’t to be challenged, develop and have new experiences?

3. Best piece of advice you have been given?

“Leave your ego at the door”. This was a phrase one of my early managers used to use and it really resonated with me. At a time when retailer / manufacturer negotiations were high on the agenda I felt it gave me permission to take a different approach and drive total value creation. I think that it’s a lens for many to consider both internally within business and with partners and believe that it could still drive real transformation.

4. What would you tell your younger self?

Have greater belief in what you are capable of and trust your instincts. It’s really normal to have feelings of insecurity and it’s a sign that you care greatly and want to do your utter best.

5. What has been your most important or profound lesson as a leader?

I find inspiration from the African proverb “If you want to go fast, go alone, if you want to go far, go together”.  I have always been people led and business driven but often found corporate environments to have a high culture of self-promotion and internal competition which never sat well with my own personal values. I found openly talking about my leadership approach of surrounding myself with people I deemed technically better than myself and asking them to be part of something bigger than their functional responsibility enabled me to accelerate business and team performance. As I’ve moved into non-executive portfolio roles this approach of being a host leader has really been the enabler to a successful transition.