Jacqueline Gold

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Jacqueline Gold

Gold in 2008
Born(1960-07-16)16 July 1960
Bromley, England
Died16 March 2023(2023-03-16) (aged 62)
Dan Cunningham
(m. 2010)
RelativesVanessa Gold (sister)

Jacqueline Gold CBE (16 July 1960 – 16 March 2023) was a British businesswoman who was the executive chair of Gold Group International,[2] Ann Summers, and Knickerbox.

Gold was estimated to be the 16th richest woman in Great Britain, worth £470 million in 2019 according to The Sunday Times Rich List.[3][4]

Early life[edit]

Gold was born on 16 July 1960, the daughter of Beryl Hunt and businessman David Gold.[5] Her father ran a publishing business which introduced sex magazines to the British high street. David apparently wept when Jacqueline was born to his first wife, because he wanted a son.[6] She and her sister, Vanessa, grew up in a spacious three-storey house with a large garden and a swimming pool at Biggin Hill, Kent.[7] In August 2007, she was the main participant of the second episode of the BBC Radio 4 series, The House I Grew Up In, in which she described an unhappy childhood.[7] Her parents separated when she was twelve years old.[8] Gold was sexually abused by her step-father.[9]

Business career[edit]

Gold arriving at Upton Park in 2011 to watch her football club, West Ham Utd

After school, Jacqueline began working for Royal Doulton, but decided she did not want to go into management, and asked her father to help her gain some extra work experience. Having acquired the four stores of the Ann Summers chain in 1972, her father gave Jacqueline, at the age of nineteen, summer work experience in May 1979; Jacqueline was paid £45 a week, less than the tea lady.[6]

Jacqueline also did not like the atmosphere at Ann Summers, which was David Gold's "upmarket clean" sex shop. Gold says of her introduction: "It wasn't a very nice atmosphere to work in. It was all men, it was the sex industry as we all perceive it to be". But, a chance invitation and visit to a Tupperware party at an East London flat in 1981 as she saw the potential of selling sexy lingerie and sex toys to women in the privacy of their own homes.[7] Jacqueline launched the Ann Summers Party Plan, a home marketing plan for sex toys, with a strict "no men allowed" policy. This type of party, which provides women with a forum to meet and talk about sex (and other matters), became so popular that such parties are now regarded as part of British popular culture; this format also provides the company with a convenient way of circumventing legal restrictions about displaying sex toys for sale.[10]

Gold was appointed CEO of Ann Summers in 1987, transforming it into a multi-million pound business, with a sales force today comprising more than 7,500 women party organisers, 136 high street shops in the UK, Ireland and Channel Islands and generating an annual turnover of £117 million in 2008,[11] although sales and profits have fallen in recent years. The reported sales for the period 2006/7[12] were down somewhat to £110 million. They have since fallen back to 2002/3 levels.[10][13] The takeover of Knickerbox in 2000 added another five shops, with Knickerbox concessions in every Ann Summers store.[14]

Her autobiography Good Vibrations was published in 1995. A second book A Woman's Courage was published in April 2007, this resulted in her being sued for libel by a former employee.[15] A Woman's Courage was withdrawn from sale in November 2008 having been republished by Ebury on 7 February 2008 with three pages removed and re-titled Please Make It Stop. The High Court libel action was settled in August 2009 when the former employee was paid costs and substantial damages.[16]

Gold was a columnist for Retail Week, New Business,[17] Kent Business, and Women Mean Business.[18]


In March 2008, Gold appeared in a celebrity edition of The Apprentice. She was a member of "The Girls" team, alongside Kirstie Allsopp, Clare Balding, Louise Redknapp and Lisa Snowdon. "The Girls" won the contest raising over £400,000 from ticket sales and sales on the night through a big event at one of their West End stores.[19]

Gold was the subject of several documentaries including Back to the Floor (which was filmed at a former business prior to its closure),[20] Ann Summers Uncovered, So What Do You Do All Day, Break with the Boss, and co-presented the daytime business series Mind your own Business on BBC One. She has also appeared on the ITV1 show Fortune – Million Pound Giveaway,[21] and in 2007, she was one of 12 well known individuals to serve on a jury in a fictional rape case in the BBC TV project The Verdict.[22]

Personal life and death[edit]

In 1980, Gold married lingerie manufacturer Tony D'Silva, which ended in divorce 10 years later.[23] In 2002, she met Dan Cunningham, a City money broker, who was seventeen years her junior.[24] Gold and Cunningham married in 2010 and were parents to daughter Scarlett.[25]

In May 2007, Gold and her younger sister, Vanessa, took part in the Walk the Walk charity MoonWalk in Hyde Park, London.[26]

Her twin children, a son and daughter, were born in 2009. The son, Alfie, died at eight months old, to a rare brain condition.[27][28]

In December 2010, a nanny working for Gold was charged with trying to poison her with screenwash. Allison Cox, who had been caring for Gold's daughter, was charged with three counts of administering poison with intent to annoy.[4] In March 2011, Cox was sentenced to twelve months in prison after admitting administering poison with intent to annoy. Guildford Crown Court heard Cox was trying to get the chef who prepared the food into trouble by lacing two bowls of asparagus soup with screenwash on 5 October 2010.[29]

Gold died on 16 March 2023, aged 62, after seven years of treatment for breast cancer.[30] She died with her husband Dan, daughter Scarlett, sister Vanessa, and brother-in-law Nick, by her side.[31]


In 2007, Gold was voted the second Most Powerful Woman in Retail by Retail Week, the Most Inspirational Businesswoman in the UK in a survey by Barclays Bank and handbag.com, one of Britain's Most Powerful Women by many publications including Cosmopolitan, Good Housekeeping, and Woman magazines, Business Communicator of the Year 2004,[32] and was included in Debrett's People of Today from 2005 for her contribution to British society.

Gold was appointed Commander of the Order of the British Empire in the 2016 New Year Honours for services to entrepreneurship, women in business and social enterprise.[33]


  1. ^ "May 2010 – Jacqueline Gold CBE". Jacqueline Gold CBE. 1 May 2010. Retrieved 23 March 2023.
  2. ^ "David Gold – David Gold – Chairman of Gold Group International incorporating: Ann Summers, Gold Aviation, Knickerbox, Greenwich House Properties, York Place & West Ham United Football Club". Davidgold.co.uk.
  3. ^ Times, The Sunday (12 May 2019). "Rich List 2019: profiles 251–298=". The Times. ISSN 0140-0460. Retrieved 7 August 2019.
  4. ^ a b Moore-Bridger, Benedict (24 December 2010). "Nanny accused of poisoning Ann Summers boss with screenwash". London Evening Standard. Archived from the original on 26 December 2010. Retrieved 24 December 2010.
  5. ^ Debrett's People of Today 2005 (18 ed.). Debrett's. 2005. p. 631. ISBN 1-870520-10-6.
  6. ^ a b "Family fortunes Ann Summers style". Bbc.co.uk. 22 August 2006. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  7. ^ a b c "The House I Grew Up In, featuring Jacqueline Gold". The House I Grew Up In. 13 August 2007. BBC Radio 4.
  8. ^ "Golden balls: West Ham United's co-owner reveals his cunning plan for the Olympic stadium". The Independent. 17 August 2012. Retrieved 17 March 2023.
  9. ^ Hooker, Lucy (17 March 2023). "Jacqueline Gold: the woman who brought sex to the High Street". BBC News. Retrieved 18 March 2023.
  10. ^ a b "Ann Summers". Zyra.org.uk.
  11. ^ "Ann Summers co-founder steps back". Drapersonline.com. Retrieved 17 March 2023.
  12. ^ [1] [dead link]
  13. ^ "Official Ann Summers Online Store | Shop Now | Ann Summers". Annsummers.com. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  14. ^ "BUSINESS | Ann Summers to buy Knickerbox". BBC News. 3 April 2000. Retrieved 17 March 2023.
  15. ^ PressDisplay.com – Newspapers From Around the World Archived 23 June 2015 at the Wayback Machine
  16. ^ "Jacqueline Gold, dynamic entrepreneur whose Ann Summers chain banished the dirty-mac image of sex shops – obituary". Telegraph.co.uk. 16 July 1960. Retrieved 17 March 2023.
  17. ^ "Small Business Advice and News – New Business". Newbusiness.co.uk.
  18. ^ "Women Mean Business, business website for women in Ireland". Womenmeanbusiness.com.
  19. ^ "Jacqueline Gold to appear in Sport Relief Does The Apprentice for charity", Charities Aid Foundation, 28 February 2008. Retrieved on 29 February 2008.
  20. ^ "Jobs fear at saucy lingerie plant – Portsmouth Today". Archived from the original on 9 June 2010. Retrieved 19 May 2010. ,The Portsmouth News, 7 October 2005
  21. ^ "Jacqueline Gold Joins the new ITV gameshow". Speakerscorner.co.uk.
  22. ^ [2] [dead link]
  23. ^ "Jacqueline Gold obituary: Ann Summers chief who changed public attitudes". The Irish Times. Retrieved 5 July 2023.
  24. ^ Barbara Ellen. Uptight Brits? 'I sell 2.5m vibrators every year'. The Observer, 11 December 2005
  25. ^ Romero, Kat (11 March 2020). "Inside Jacqueline Gold's Surrey mansion featuring stunning barn conversion". OK! Magazine. Retrieved 5 July 2023.
  26. ^ "Jacqueline Gold Charity Fundraising". JustGiving. Retrieved 20 January 2022.
  27. ^ "Ann Summers CEO Jacqueline Gold opens up about the tragic loss of her son aged eight months". ITV. 9 November 2018. Retrieved 29 May 2023.
  28. ^ Butler, Sarah (17 March 2023). "Ann Summers supremo Jacqueline Gold dies aged 62". The Guardian. ISSN 0261-3077. Retrieved 5 July 2023.
  29. ^ "Nanny jailed over poisoning bid on Ann Summers boss". BBC. 4 March 2011. Retrieved 4 March 2011.
  30. ^ "Ann Summers boss Jacqueline Gold dies aged 62". BBC News. 17 March 2023. Retrieved 17 March 2023.
  31. ^ "Ann Summers boss Jacqueline Gold dies aged 62". BBC News. 17 March 2023. Retrieved 5 July 2023.
  32. ^ "Jacqueline Gold was the CiB's Communicator of the Year in 2004". Archived from the original on 2 February 2007. Retrieved 27 December 2006.
  33. ^ "No. 61450". The London Gazette (Supplement). 30 December 2015. p. N9.

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