Beth Ford: The legal heavyweight who moves mountains

Introduction Beth Ford has turned around the fortunes of land management company Land O’ Lakes since taking over as its chief executive in 2009, overseeing such projects as super-hydro dams in the Dominican Republic, wind farms in South America and reclamation projects in India. Her overseas work brings Ford into close contact with engineers and property developers – the lifeblood of her own company – so she’s rightly unrepentant about occasionally cleaning toilets at meetings.

Why someone with such an enviable CV would enlist the services of a cleaning firm, then, is a question that puzzles some of Ford’s detractors in the English property industry, some of whom view her as mercenary in nature. “With the amount of work we’re required to do – not just land reform but inter-state projects – it’s inevitable there will be some paper trails.” However, someone at Land O’ Lakes – Ford has never revealed who that may be – was apparently happy to have Ford’s company carried out this task. “They managed it properly and it didn’t take more than an hour.”

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