The recently departed Burberry boss Angela Ahrendts and Melinda Gates, wife of the founder of Microsoft who helps run their eponymous international charitable foundation, are to be made honorary dames of the British Empire.
Both awards, are approved by the Queen and formally confirmed in October last year, however the news was not published by the government and little publicised as they are not handed out by a member of the royal family but by government ministers.
It is understood that Ahrendts, an American who has helped build the British raincoat maker into an international fashion brand, will receive her award for services to business from a minister at the Department for Business Innovation and Skills (BIS).
Fellow American Gates will receive her award for services to philanthropy and international development from an official at the Department for International Development (Dfid).
Ahrendts, the highest-paid chief executive in the FTSE 100 in 2012 with a pay package of almost £17m, received her award just as she left Burberry to become head of Apple’s global retail division.
One of just a handful of women leading listed British companies, Ahrendts joined Burberry in 2006 where, alongside creative head Christopher Bailey, she has transformed the image of the brand.
The Gates Foundation supports research and development projects related to tackling poverty, health issues and education.