Charles Allen, Baron Allen of Kensington

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Charles Lamb Allen, Baron Allen of Kensington, CBE (born 4 January 1957) is a British businessman and broadcaster, and the chairman of THG plc, Global Radio, 2 Sisters Food Group, ISS and Advisory chairman at Moelis & Company. Lord Allen was chief executive of Granada Group from 1996 to 2000, executive chairman of Granada Media plc from 2000 to 2004, chief executive of ITV plc from its formation in 2004 until 2007, and chairman of the music company EMI. He was chairman of Endemol, a non-executive director of Tesco plc and Virgin Media. In March 2012, he was appointed by Ed Miliband, the leader of the Labour Party, to the position of chairman of the executive board of the party. He has been chairman of the British Red Cross.

The Lord Allen of Kensington
Member of the House of Lords
Lord Temporal
Assumed office
2 October 2013
Life Peerage
Personal details
Born4 January 1957 (1957-01-04) (age 66)
Lanarkshire, Scotland[1]
Political partyLabour
Residence(s)Kensington, London, England
OccupationCEO of Granada Group (1996–2000)
Non-exec. director of Tesco plc (1999–2010)[2]
Exec. chairman of Granada Media plc (2000–04)
CEO of ITV plc (2004–07)
Chairman of Global Radio (2007–present)
Exec. chairman of EMI (2008–10)
Chairman of Executive Board of the Labour Party (March 2012-2015)
Chairman of British Red Cross (2013–2014)
Chairman of ISS A/S (2013–present)
Chairman of THG plc (2022-present)[3]


Allen was educated at Bellshill Academy,[4] a state school in the town of Bellshill in North Lanarkshire in central Scotland. He did not attend university, and says of his life, "It's been an amazing journey considering I left school at 17 with no job to go to".[5]


Allen joined Granada plc in 1991, originally as CEO of Granada Television, before becoming Group Chief Executive in 1996. During his time at Granada, he was instrumental in the takeover of Forte Group for £3.9 billion in 1996, and the takeovers of LWT and Yorkshire-Tyne Tees Television in 1994 and 1999 respectively. In 2001 Granada Group merged with Compass to form Granada Compass, then demerged into Granada Media plc and Compass Group. He remained with Granada when the two companies demerged, and became Executive Chairman of Granada plc in 2001. When Granada merged with Carlton Communications in 2004 to form ITV plc, Allen became the new company's Chief Executive.[6]

In 2006, Allen stepped down after fifteen years with the company.[7]

From 2006 to 2008, Allen was previously chief advisor to the British Home Office. He has also been a senior advisor to Goldman Sachs Private Equity, non-executive director of Endemol and Virgin Media and executive chairman of EMI.[8]

As of 2018, he is chairman of ISS Group, 2 Sisters Food Group and Global Group — which owns Capital, Heart, Classic FM, LBC, Radio X and Gold — as well as advisory chairman of Moelis & Company.

Allen chaired the 2002 Commonwealth Games. He was a member of the London 2012 Olympic bid team and a director of the London Organising Committee of the Olympic Games and Paralympic Games. He was also Mayor of the Olympic Village.

In May 2021, it was announced that Allen would be the next chairman of the Balfour Beatty construction group, succeeding Philip Aiken from 20 July 2021.[9]

Following criticism of the THG's governance arrangements, Allen replaced Matt Moulding as chairman of THG plc in March 2022.[3]


Allen was appointed a Commander of the Order of the British Empire (CBE) in the 2003 New Year Honours "for services to the XVII Commonwealth Games".[10] He was knighted in the 2012 New Year Honours "for services to the 2012 Olympics and Paralympics".[11][12]

On 1 August 2013, it was announced that Allen was to become a Labour peer in a list of new appointments to the House of Lords.[13] He was created a Life Peer on 2 October 2013 taking the title Baron Allen of Kensington, of Kensington in the Royal Borough of Kensington and Chelsea.[14]

In May 2016, Allen was appointed as a member of the Lords Communications Committee.[8]

In 2005 he was awarded the Freedom of the City of Liverpool.[15]

Personal lifeEdit

Allen lives in Kensington with his partner of more than 20 years, Michael, an architect.[16]


  1. ^ "The Charles Allen years". The Guardian. 8 August 2006. Retrieved 4 June 2015.
  2. ^ "Board of Directors". Tesco. Archived from the original on 10 September 2011. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  3. ^ a b "THG hires ex-ITV boss Lord Allen as first external chairman in push to repair relations with the City". Evening Standard. 22 March 2022. Retrieved 2 October 2022.
  4. ^ Jane Martinson (9 December 2005). "Charles Allen: a survivor in the minefield of the media". The Guardian. Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  5. ^ Richard Dunnett (5 January 2016). "Global Radio chairman Lord Allen on Brexit, boardrooms and the BBC". Retrieved 4 October 2016.
  6. ^ ITV plc Archived 28 November 2006 at the Wayback Machine, accessed 6 July 2006.
  7. ^ "Charles Allen: a survivor in the minefield of the media". The Guardian. 16 January 2009.
  8. ^ a b "Lord Allen of Kensington". UK Parliament.
  9. ^ "Labour peer to chair Balfour Beatty". The Construction Index. 13 May 2021. Retrieved 13 May 2021.
  10. ^ "No. 56797". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2002. p. 7.
  11. ^ "No. 60009". The London Gazette (Supplement). 31 December 2011. p. 1.
  12. ^ "No. 60245". The London Gazette. 21 August 2012. p. 16079.
  13. ^ Craig, Jon (1 August 2013). "JCB Boss Sir Anthony Bamford Made Tory Peer". Sky News. Retrieved 1 November 2013.
  14. ^ "No. 60648". The London Gazette. 4 October 2013. p. 19575.
  15. ^ "Business Diary". The Daily Telegraph. 13 October 2005.
  16. ^ "Lord Allen: Putting an obsessive attitude to work – and making it pay". The Independent. 16 March 2014.
Preceded by
Chief Executive of ITV plc
Succeeded by
Michael Grade
(Executive chairman)
Orders of precedence in the United Kingdom
Preceded by Gentlemen
Baron Allen of Kensington
Followed by
The Lord Palumbo of Southwark