John is an entrepreneur and company director. He graduated in Modern History from Oxford University in 1983, subsequently practicing corporate law in London and Hong Kong. Leaving the legal profession in 1995 he served on the Board of Halston Borghese Inc., a U.S. based Cosmetics Company, and was responsible for restructuring their Japanese and German operation.
John is an established player in the world of luxury goods, having founded Links of London with his wife in 1990, and built it to sales of over £50 million before selling the company in late 2006 and stepping down from the company in October 2007.
Upon leaving Links of London, John invested in a new-start up business, Bremont Watch Company alongside Nick & Giles English, subsequently becoming Chairman of the Company. In under 18 months Bremont has become an established player in the luxury watch industry, recently expanding into the United States and Asia.
In July 2009, John & Annoushka re-entered the jewellery industry launching the luxury jeweller Annoushka from their flagship boutique in Cadogan Gardens, just off Sloane Square, and through branded boutiques in department stores including Harrods, Harvey Nichols, Liberty, Selfridges and Brown Thomas.
John Ayton is on the Board of Directors of Walpole and a firm believer that it is imperative to promote British excellence as exemplified by the highest standards of quality, style, craftsmanship, creativity, service and innovation.
He is the founder and Chairman of Walpole Brands of Tomorrow, mentoring and supporting the UK’s finest emerging talent within the luxury sector. Launched in 2007 the bespoke mentorship and coaching programme helps aspiring British luxury brands of the future to fulfil their potential.
CEO Amicus, and formerly Head of the British Army
Chief Corporate Officer, ScottishPower
Chairman, Ofcom, Channel 4 & Former Chairman, Santander
Former Chief Executive, The Place
Professor of Economics, Warwick University
President of Murray Edwards College