A woman has quit as a £2.5million boss of one of Britain’s biggest firms to spend more time at home after one of her children told her: ‘I want my mum back.’
Ruby McGregor-Smith, 53, has spent nine years juggling her role as chief executive of security and cleaning staff supplier Mitie with raising her two children.
But yesterday Baroness McGregor-Smith, Britain’s first Asian boss of a top FTSE 250 company, announced plans to step down, saying this was partly influenced by the comments from her children.
Her resignation will reignite the debate over the challenges facing mothers struggling to balance work and home life.
Baroness McGregor-Smith, who was ennobled in the 2015 dissolution honours list, said:
‘I always thought ten years would be long enough in the role.
‘When I started my children were aged eight and ten and now one is at university and the other doing A-levels.
‘We talked to the children about me leaving the job last year and both said they want more time with me. Being a mum of two young people was always something I had to juggle with work. It’s been really tough.’
The executive will step down by the end of the year.
When she took the top job at Mitie in 2007 her husband Graham, 54, stepped back from his job working in private equity to spend more time at home. He also retrained as a baritone opera singer.
Baroness McGregor-Smith said:
‘I was still a really hands-on mum. Typically I would get up by 6am and the big thing was being with [the children] in the morning and taking them to school and doing lift shares with other mums.’
She usually made it home by early evening and both parents cooked the evening meal together. She has said previously:
‘You need to work with people who understand you have a family and that you are a mother first and foremost. To make it work in top jobs, women need a lot of support to allow them to do it alongside having a family.’