Hilary Devey: Biography highlights

A later addition to the Den, this Dragon breathed new life into the series.

Known for:

Business Leaders

Full biography of Hilary Devey

Who is Hilary Devey?

  • A successful, self-made businesswoman
  • Has overcome many challenges in business and in life
  • Well known for TV appearances, especially as a Dragon’s Den investor

On Dragon’s Den, Hilary acquired a reputation for being a formidable investor to deal with. In actuality, she is willing to challenge others and to speak her mind, qualities which make for an impressive public speaker. She has the ability to inspire others and talks business in ways which make her advice easy to follow for novices and veterans alike.

Devey may have come to the public attention more recently then her Dragons Den colleagues, but she has already made a big impression. Her shoulder padded jackets may have been much appraised by the press, but it is her truthful attitude and quick wit which have won over audiences. The entrepreneur has made her own name through hard work and, like her fellow dragons, is an inspiration to would-be business owners.


Hilary Devey was born in Bolton, Lancashire on the 10th of March 1957. She attended grammar school but left at the age of sixteen in order to pursue her career.

Determination and a desire to succeed saw Hilary work for several companies prior to starting up her own business. She worked in distribution for Littlewoods, Tibbett and Britten, and Scorpio.

She then spent seven years working in retail distribution for TNT.

A Business Intuition and Its Rewards

Having worked in the distribution sector for some time, Hilary noticed that there was a gap in the market for good value pallet freight distribution services, so she set about starting her own business in order to address this problem within the industry. Unfortunately, banks she approached did not share her optimism for the company and would not help her finance it. She had to sell her house in order to get the business off the ground – not a decision to be taken lightly by a single mum. Although it took some time and was a very stressful situation, Hilary persevered and eventually Pall-Ex was fully formed, soon to become the successful business it is now. Today, Pall-Ex turns over in excess of 100 million and delivers across much of Europe as well as in the UK, serving numerous high profile business customers.

Hilarys contribution to business is inspirational to many and she has been awarded an honorary degree from the University of Leicester. She has won both The Sir Robert Lawrence Award for Lifetime Achievement (from the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport) and Personality of the Year in the International Freight Weekly Awards.


First appearing on The Secret Millionaire in 2008 and the Business Inspector in 2010, Hilary joined Dragons Den in 2011. In 2012 Hilary decided to move on in order to work with Channel 4 on a new project.

Personal Life and Charitable Interests

As well as facing adversity in her career, Hilary had also had to face some challenges in her private life. She helped her son overcome his heroin addiction; this was an emotional time for both of them through which she showed great strength. Hilary herself suffered a stroke after having an abdominoplasty operation in 2009 but has since made a good recovery. She has been a patron of The Princess Royal Trust for Carers for since 2007 and of The Stroke Association since 2010.



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Watch Hilary in action

1/2 videos
Hilary Devey from Dragon's Den @ Isle Of Man Sporting & Dining Club
Hilary Devey from Dragon's Den @ Isle Of Man Sporting & Dining Club
Hilary Devey Isn't A Fan Of Duncan Bannatyne | Loose Women
Hilary Devey Isn't A Fan Of Duncan Bannatyne | Loose Women

Hilary's speaking topics

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