Andrew Bentley, Founder of Saffron Digital PLC & advisor to Government and Industry

Trentham High School

Allerton Road
Stoke on Trent
Telephone No: 01782 883200 
Fax No: 01782 234537


Trentham High School

About Andrew Bentley

Andrew Bentley is a seasoned Fortune 500 Chief Executive, an advisor to Government and Industry and a proven entrepreneur. His wide body of experience covers the Oil & Gas Industry (BP), Media and Content (Virgin/EMI) as well as Consumer Goods for both FMCG (Safeway) and Capital Goods/Major Appliances (Electrolux) and Education.

Formerly the CEO of EMI International and the Virgin Music Group (1990-98), Mr. Bentley is a highly experienced and respected media executive. His ability to develop creative talent whilst maintaining commercial focus meant that his tenure was the most profitable in the company’s history.

Most notably, as a turn-around specialist, Mr. Bentley was formerly the President and CEO of Electrolux AB International (1998-2003), (the world’s largest appliance company), responsible for some 25,000 employees operating in over 100 markets.   Under his leadership the company consolidated its brand portfolio, restructured manufacturing and procurement whilst growing sales by 22% CAGR, (adding over a billion dollars of like for like revenue) and expanding into new territories (such as China, Russia and Australia). Mr. Bentley recognized that being the market leader has a responsibility, he introduced sustainable environmental policies and practices long before market or legislative pressure to do so. He was Chairman of Electrolux’s Public Quoted companies in India and Brazil and as such is well experienced in corporate governance.

As an entrepreneur, after leaving Electrolux Mr. Bentley founded and created several new businesses, the first of which, Saffron Digital plc (2004-2009)) quickly established itself as the international market leader in the management and distribution of digital content of film and TV for mobile. To achieve this, the company developed pioneering and award winning technology (winner of best video technology 5 years in a row ‘Global Mobile Entertainment Awards 2013’). As a result of this innovation, the way in which content is viewed and shared around the world has been transformed and this technology directly led to the creation of modern smartphone devices. The unique nature of the technology enabled the company to establish exclusive partnerships for mobile distribution with Vodafone, T-Mobile and O2. It became the enabling software for Nokia, Ericson, Samsung, LG and HTC devices. The company is also the digital content agency for numerous media content owners including Disney, Universal, Warner and Sony as well as broadcasters Channel 4 and SKY. The company is a true testimony to Andrew’s vision and creativity. The company was sold to HTC of Taipei in 2009.

In 2004, Mr. Bentley was appointed to the voluntary position of Chairman of The University of Bedfordshire (a post that he held for almost a decade). In this role he tenaciously applied his wealth of valuable commercial experience and over this period he oversaw the transformation of the institution. From the financial performance of the university to the fabric of the campus, the university has been turned into a leading, world class institution.

With Andrew’s clear vision was to make the University a role model of excellence and to ensure the sustainable viability of the institution. The university is now one of the most profitable universities in England and boasts a new state of the art and self-financed campus. (“Outstanding Finance Team winners” in the ‘Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards 2011’).  The strategy led to student numbers more than doubling to almost 24,000 bringing over 100 million additional pounds directly (and an estimated half a billion pounds indirectly) into the local economy.

From a performance perspective, the University has achieved top ranking marks from the Quality Assurance Agency as well as ‘Gold’ award status from Investors in People (2011). The university was the first runner up in “University of the Year” (Times Higher Education Supplement) in 2007.

Under his tenure as Chairman, the university has undergone one of the most successful and remarkable transformations in the Higher Education sector and was subsequently awarded The Queens Award for Enterprise by Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II in 2011 for the growth in International Sales.

Mr. Bentley is an articulate supporter of Education. He frequently (and passionately) speaks of the transformational impact that education can have of the life of (and opportunities for) an individual. As well as the impact of education upon society and the economy.  He continues to support the University as Pro Chancellor and is currently an Officer of the University Court.

Outside of business,  Mr. Bentley was a personal advisor to the UK Under Secretary of State for Health as well as a governmental policy advisor in the areas of Health and Workforce Planning (before moving to California USA where he how resides).

Currently, he is the non-executive Chairman and a shareholder of WISEUP China Inc., a Beijing based partnership with one of the world’s leading English language tuition companies (and a major (World Cup sponsor!). Mr. Bentley is also a director of a number of private companies in the USA, Hong Kong, Brazil and China, and is a sought after advisor to major corporations and high profile individuals.

He holds a Masters Degree in Economics (Imperial College, London University) as well as a first class Bachelors degree in Business and Management and honorary Doctorates in Management and Finance.

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