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News > Featured Old Queenians > Featured OQs - Lisa Fretwell

Featured OQs - Lisa Fretwell

Lisa Fretwell, OQ is a business leader specialising in technology and data. Read about her career and life at Queen's in this article by Alumni Officer, Geoff Bisson.
The photo was included in the June 1988, edition of the Association's Quarterly journal, 'Geography'
The photo was included in the June 1988, edition of the Association's Quarterly journal, 'Geography'

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OQs

Lisa Fretwell (OQ, 1981-88) is a business leader specialising in technology and data. Having studied Maths, Chemistry and Biology ‘A’ levels at Queen’s, she went on to study Chemical Engineering at Birmingham University, where she was fortunate to be sponsored by the TI group and Courtaulds. Lisa furthered her education with an MBA at Cranfield University in 1998, supported by a UK Women in Business bursary.


Lisa’s early career was based in Manchester, where she joined Procter and Gamble’s Graduate Management scheme. She was part of a significant expansion of P&G’s Manchester manufacturing facility and involved in new product launches for well-known household brands such as Pampers, Always and Lenor. From Manchester she moved to Leicester to lead the growth and business improvement plans for a small UK fabric manufacturer. Working for a smaller business ignited Lisa’s interest in managing a whole business to create innovation and drive growth. A Masters in Business Administration (MBA), followed by a move into management consultancy, were natural next steps.


Lisa first developed her passion for technology and data during the 1990s doing business consultancy at Capgemini. She worked with major UK and European businesses to engage their people and transform their ways of working by using new processes enabled by technology. It was evident that internet technologies were unlocking new levels of efficiency and creating new market opportunities. She had the privilege of working with household names such as Tesco, Barclays and W.H. Smith and went on to create, and lead, Capgemini’s Retail and Consumer Products UK practice.


From Capgemini, Lisa moved, in 2007, to Cisco – the worldwide leader in networking technologies – to develop new internet capabilities and concepts to “change the way we work, live, play and learn”. Lisa’s work helped ignite many of the digital ways we take for granted in our lives today in retail, transport, logistics and banking. She worked on early consumer web and mobile shopping, in-location Wi-Fi and touch screens, internet and video banking, and location-based services. On many occasions, these innovations were first to market and were awarded several patents. Connecting things to the internet to help reduce energy usage and tracking items within the retail and logistics industries, were particularly rewarding projects. Lisa developed this into Cisco’s European ‘Internet of Things’, consulting business, and working with forward-thinking companies such as John Lewis, DPDHL, Nationwide and BASF.


From 2013, Lisa had the opportunity to manage part of Cisco’s global services business whilst living in the UK. This required working 2pm to 10pm as her core hours, and travelling extensively in the US and India. In doing so, she grew to appreciate the diversity of global teams. She carried that ethos onto her most recent Managing Director role at Experian and passionately championed inclusion and networks for women, LGBTQ+, mental health and menopause. Lisa led Experian’s UK Data Business focusing on “doing good with data” for Consumers, SMEs and Corporates. This came into its own during COVID when Experian’s data supported critical financial and government decisions to help consumers and businesses keep going. In 2020, Lisa was awarded Women in Credit Business Leader of the year.


At the start of 2022, Lisa shifted to Non-Executive Roles and is now an Independent Non-Executive Director for Santander UK and an AIM listed data and technology business.


Lisa’s leadership qualities were evident at Queen’s. In her final year, she was Head of Ashurst House and captain of the 2ndXI hockey team. Lisa played a central role in the school team that finished in second place in the national final of the Geographical Association quiz. The photo was included in the June 1988, edition of the Association’s Quarterly journal, ‘Geography’.

Lisa developed a love of walking at Queen’s during DoE. With her husband, Andy (a PE teacher), she has completed 300 miles of the South West Coast Path so far with another 330 miles to cover. Lisa continues to raise good money for a range of charities by running sponsored distances under duress!

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