Thursday, September 28th 2023

Versarien PLC

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Time for global expansion, revenue and commercialism for Versarien 


“…We haven’t discovered the “Golden Nugget” yet for Versarien…”


She’s chaired before, she doesn’t do short-termism, and Versarien’s chairperson Dr Diane Savory OBE demonstrated her value to the graphene enterprise even before she took up the role.

It was during her tenure at Gloucestershire’s Local Enterprise Partnership (GFirstLEP) she met Versarien CEO Neill Ricketts who learned about her style of leadership and she – his world of advanced engineering and graphene.  But let’s be clear. Ricketts, she says, is not a friend, but a colleague.

Ricketts knows his place and is fully aware of Savory’s self-referenced ‘witchy’ side, but if the alchemy she created at clothing retail giant Superdry is anything to go by, he isn’t perturbed. After working with SuperGroup’s founder Julian Dunkerton for over 20 years, Savory was Chief Operating Officer of that listed business until 2011. And although no longer involved, there’s already been a little bit of synergistic magic with November’s announcement of a Versarien tie-up with Superdry.

Savory has form and a formidable network.  She helped drive the economic development of Gloucestershire, and Westminster called on her experience requesting she became one of the few members of the Retail Sector Council.

Driven and determined, Versarien’s Savory is dedicated to commercial distillation


Savory is well connected and not just in the business Filofax way.

As Deputy Lord-Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, she’s trusted by the Palace to represent Her Majesty.  It’s a voluntary position she’s held since 2015 and one she holds until she’s 75-years-old.  She considers it a privilege meeting ordinary people doing amazing things, and here’s where the osmosis comes in again.  Whilst performing royal duties she listens to what people want, what interests them, what they spend their money on and what it is they talk about.  She takes stock, distills and no doubt subtly feeds back to the businesses she’s championing ensuring they maintain relevance and pragmatism.

She is all about real world application. She doesn’t live in an exclusively-business bubble with extra-curricular responsibilities that are conscientious, charming and charitable.

In this conversation with Sarah Lowther, Diane gives a taste of what motivates her, why she’s on the lookout for a non-executive director, and her commitment to driving the Versarien story for the long term.


In this conversation with Mark Owen, editor of, Diane reveals several anecdotes including attending the 21st birthday party of Superdry’s founder.

Access Proactive Research’s 2022 note on Versarien here


Follow the company on Twitter – @versarien


The author was remunerated but does not hold shares in the company