Anders Holch Povlsen
Areas of Interest
Honorary Doctor of Business Administration, 2015
Anders Povlsen is Chief Executive Officer of Bestseller clothing group. He is a pioneering conservationist and esteemed Anglia Ruskin alumnus.
Born in Egvad on Denmark’s Jutland peninsular, Anders studied at the Herning Business College, graduating in 1990, going on to receive a joint BA in European Business Administration from the Berlin School of Economics and Anglia Ruskin University in 1996. This was the perfect background for a young man about to enter the family business – particularly one as far-reaching as the Bestseller group, which began life in 1975, when Anders’ parents opened their first store in the small Danish town of Ringkobing. Under their shrewd leadership, the Bestseller group of companies now markets clothing and accessories in 70 countries across the globe, boasts over 3,000 branded stores across 38 markets, and the Bestseller Fashion Group China designs its own collections for more than 6,000 stores in that country.
After graduating from Anglia Ruskin, Anders took over as Chief Executive Officer of one of Bestseller group’s subsidiaries – Vila Limited – and served in this role for five years before taking over as Chief Executive Officer of the group’s parent company. Anders’ drive, commercial acumen and vision have taken his family’s company into new markets, expanded operations into new regions, and built relationships with new partners, yet the group remains solely family owned. It is a story of remarkable success achieved in a fiercely competitive commercial environment.
Anders is Chairman of the Board of Directors of two other Danish companies – Intervare and Nemlig.com, and he sits on the Board of several intra-group subsidiaries and other foreign companies. Yet business is not Anders’ only passion. He is an ardent conservationist, a cause to which he has committed significant personal resources.
Over a decade ago, Anders founded the organisation WildLand with the aim of purchasing land in order to protect it against exploitation from logging, mining, urbanisation and farming, and to preserve areas of the natural world for future generations. He is particularly interested in untouched wilderness, and this has led to the acquisition of vast areas of the Carpathian Mountains, where the organisation is committed to preserving entire ecosystems and maintaining the biological integrity of the region.
Anders has also been buying tracts of land in Scotland, where he is actively regenerating native woodland for the benefit of indigenous fauna such as capercaillie, black grouse, pine martens and tawny owls. His long-term vision is to “allow the land to move towards its full ecological potential”. It is a bold vision, yet given his track-record of success, one suspects Anders will achieve his ambitions.
Anders is one of the world’s most successful business people, yet he has found the time and energy to balance his commercial activities with a strong commitment to a more altruistic cause. And as an Anglia Ruskin alumnus, he is an excellent role model for our students.