John McLean is a seasoned director, both as Chairman and as a Non-Executive (NED) with extensive public and capital market experience and has been involved with China for over 20 years. John is Chairman of several China based companies, which includes Starcrest Education which is listed on the London Stock Exchange and focuses on education between China and UK, including along the Belt and Road. 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 is Vice-Chair of the City board for the Institute of Directors (IoD).
In 2011, John was elected to the board of CBBC (China Britain Business Council) and has continued to contribute to the promotion of UK/China interests. 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. In 2011 and 2012 John was nominated and shortlisted for AIM NED of the year. 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.
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.
John's other interests include abseiling, travelling and singing and he is a Liveryman of the Worshipful Company of Musicians and of the Worshipful Company of International Bankers. He sits on the Lord Mayor's Charity Appeal Board and heads up their China relations. He is also Chair of the UK national charity, Carers Trust.