Living at the home of an ancient babushka. Rubbing shoulders with bodyguards on share acquisition deals. Arranging licensing deals so that The Muppets characters can appear on ice cream wrappers in Russia. ‘It’s been a fascinating and varied 25 years of practice, made deeply rich by the experience of different people and their different ways,’ Kingfisher legal director Elizabeth Messud says. ‘There has been many a modest cliff hanger in all I have done.’
That career has taken Messud from Toronto to a collective farm in rural Russia, to Moscow, then to London, via stints in Spain, France and Switzerland. It has also seen her work for one of the biggest companies in the world, Nestlé, as well as the finance arm of the World Bank, a Russian oligarch and, now, FTSE 100 retailer Kingfisher.