WEARING killer heels and a winning smile, Angela Spindler, a striking 47 year-old blonde, happily puts to bed the stereotype that to be a successful boss you need to be an overweight, cigar-smoking male.

Having held a string of senior positions in the retail world, Angela has an impressive CV that even Sir Alan Sugar would be proud of.

The list includes being MD of Debenhams, and before that that MD of George at ASDA.

There she signed up Wayne Rooney’s then-fiancee Coleen McLoughlin as the “face” of the label.

Since her move to the headquarters of The Original Factory Shop, in Billington Road Industrial Estate, Burnley, as chief executive, she has been instrumental in seeing profits soar by more than 35 per cent, at a time when many struggling businesses are making staff redundant.

Now she has ambitions to increase number of store from the current 134 to 500 by 2020.

Angela is one of just of a handful of women who have managed to take on the most senior role in their company. Female employees are still falling short of the top jobs, although they make up just under 40 per cent of the workforce.

So how does an attractive, mild-mannered woman compete in what is a male-dominated arena?

“I don’t think being a woman should affect my ambitions and goals. If I went into a job with that attitude then I know that I wouldn’t get anywhere,” said Angela, who lives in Halifax with her American husband Michael.

“The Original Factory Shop is very female-oriented. Eight-five per cent of my colleagues are women with eight of the top managerial positions taken by women.

“But not all jobs that I have worked in have been like this.

“I think it is important to be confident, to be able to be heard. But that doesn’t mean you have to give up your femininity.

“I think it has helped that I have a rapport with people and know what makes them tick. I studied psychology at university and that has really helped.”

Now her two children and three stepchildren are grown up but, like most working mums, she has had to face the struggles of juggling work and family commitments while rising through the ranks.

She said: “I had times when I felt guilty for working full-time when the children were young. I spent quality time with them rather than quantity.

“Luckily, I have never needed much sleep and don’t really see work as being work. I enjoy curling up on the couch and reading reports.

“But bringing up children doesn’t get any easier. As they grow up you just get faced with a different set of challenges. Only on Friday I came home from work to find my daughter was in tears because she had failed her driving test.”

Although Angela has carved a career as one of the highest flying women in the world of business, she is modest about her success.

“I never really had a master plan,” she said. “When I was a child I wanted to be a hairdresser.

“I have never looked further ahead than three years at a time. I have just done what I enjoyed and what I am good at. Luckily the two go hand-in-hand.”