John McLean is a Non-Executive Chairman or Director who has extensive public and capital market experience with a specific knowledge of China where he has worked for over 20 years. John is Chairman of several China based companies, which includes Starcrest Education PLC which is listed on the London Stock Exchange and focuses on education between China and UK. In 2017 John chaired a report on corporate governance improvements between China and the UK for the British Embassy in Beijing and The Foreign and Commonwealth Office. John works closely with the City of London and led the Lord Mayor’s Fintech business delegation to China in March 2019; he is also Vice-Chair for the Institute of Directors (IoD) for the City.
John was on the board of CBBC (China Britain Business Council) for 8 years until 2019 and continues to contribute to the promotion of UK/China relations.
In 2007 John joined the board of Humberts plc (now Chesterton), the estate agent, and became its Executive Chairman to lead its rescue and ultimate disposal. Prior to this, he carried out a strategic review for Gamma Holdings NV of their UK textile, wallpaper, retail and brand companies, including Sanderson and William Morris, and as the CEO he successfully implemented the turnaround and disposal plan. Along with operations in Australasia, America and Canada, Sanderson established global trading partnerships in China and Japan, which included the setting-up of a manufacturing joint venture, brand licensing agreements and numerous retail franchises.
In the nineties, John was Finance Director and then Managing Director of ICS, the UK logistics business and co-led a management buy-out of the company with 3i, prior to its successful disposal to Hays plc. In the eighties, John was Finance Director of a listed Investment Trust which held investments in Europe and America. John is a Chartered Accountant and was previously with Coopers & Lybrand (now PwC) in both London and New York.
In addition to these roles, John was a member of the Council of the international charity, VSO (Voluntary Services Overseas) and was chairman of VSO China. More recently in 2018, John became Chair of the leading UK national charity, Carers Trust which works to improve support, services and recognition for anyone living with the challenges of caring, unpaid, for a family member or friend who is ill, frail, disabled or has mental health or addiction problems. He also sits on the Lord Mayor’s Charity Appeal Board and heads up their China relations.
In the 2014 New Year’s Honours list, John was honoured with an OBE for services to British business interests and the development of civil society in China.