Leaders Profiles

A network of experienced professionals

Maurice Keyworth in summer
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Mark Adams-Wright - Chief Digital and ICT Officer, Buckinghamshire County Council

Mark joined O2 following his time as CIO and Customer Service Director at Suffolk County Council. In 2012 and 2013, Mark was listed in the top 100 UK Technologists list by CIO magazine. He has over 20 years' experience in the IT and telecommunications industry, working on both sides of the public-private fence. In his current role, he is always trying to bridge the gap between the two sectors. At O2, this has included transforming the Local Government Future Forum into the Digital Forum and Fund (the LGDF) to bring real digital innovation and insight to the public sector. 

For his sins, Mark is a long-suffering Wycombe Wanderers' fan. When not weeping in the stands, he breeds pedigree cocker-spaniels of which he has three. Mark is married, with two children and a Bearded Dragon.

Stewart Adkins - Advisors Limited

Stewart Adkins, spent 23 years at Lehman Brothers as a pharmaceutical analyst; his team was voted number one by the Institutional Investor poll for three consecutive years (2004-2007). Stewart left Lehman Brothers in June 2006 to set up Stewart Adkins Advisors Ltd, his own consultancy business, where he has worked on various projects, including as an external advisor to Oxfam on a specific initiative about access to medicines and as a consultant to PharmaFutures, a think tank encouraging dialogue between pharma companies and their corporate investors. Other clients have included Roche UK, GlaxoSmithKline, Leo Pharm and Novo Nordisk, the Danish pharma company. Prior to joining Lehman Brothers in 1983, Mr Adkins was a salesman for Eli Lilly in the UK and, before that, a graduate trainee at Ford Motor Company at European Truck Headquarters.

Frederick Aherne - Business Fix

Frederick Aherne spent the early part of his professional career as a process engineer in the packing industry; there are several innovations in the can making industry that are directly due to his work there. In 1986 he moved into the food industry, working for Nestlé. Via several career steps, he was appointed as the first Technical Director for Nestlé in Ukraine, and has been responsible for several innovations in operational safety, organisational design and motivational programs which have contributed to business success. In total he spent six years in board-level roles with  Nestlé in Eastern Europe. 

After Nestlé Frederick went on to become CEO of Milkiland, the largest dairy company in Ukraine. Currently he is an operational management consultant with Business Fix. 

John Ainley - CEO, The Alexander Partnership

Recognised by HR Magazine as 'One of the Most Influential Leaders' of our time, and a deeply trusted advisor, John regularly coaches C-suite-level executives on all facets of their careers, leadership, lives, and overall strategy.  John is frequently cited by his executive peers as one of those exceptionally rare HR executives who truly comprehends what it takes to drive business results in highly uncertain times.

As a recognised global leader, John has had a 30-year commercial, diversely cross-cultural executive career across Engineering, Retail and Financial services.  He has served on the executive committees of:

  • WH Smith plc
  • Norwich Union plc
  • Aviva plc, where, as Global Head of Human Resources, he led the global transformation of the business, and led the HR/people strategy for 50,000 employees across 28 countries. John has also led through significant outsourcing efforts, as well as large-scale global mergers and acquisitions.

During John’s tenure at Aviva, John is credited with helping the company transform from 31 disparate companies, into a unified global powerhouse, operating under one global brand. Under John’s leadership nine major global businesses were sold or closed, restructuring reduced costs by £1.6bn and employee numbers reduced from 57,000 to 36,000. Through this dramatic change employee pride improved to the highest levels ever and Aviva’s operating profits grew to £2.5bn.

Tom Allchurch - RecyCoal

Tom has been CEO of coal mining and recovery businesses since 1998, the original business being a private equity backed start up that led to an AIM listing. During this period he has raised over £300 million of equity and debt in various forms. Additionally, Tom mentors and invests in young businesses and is a Trustee of a coal industry charity. Tom is a Leeds University graduate Mining Engineer and has worked principally in the UK and Australia, but also in South Africa, USA, France and Poland.

Lisa Attenborough - UK Communications Director, Arla

Lisa is an expert communicator who influences and supports boards, stakeholder groups and governments globally.  She also operates at a non-executive level and has considerable experience in governance and mentoring. Lisa has developed a reputation for being a strategic advisor as well respected senior operator who creates, enhances and protects reputations alongside her considerable commercial and marketing experience.  She has been named one of the prestigious 100 ‘Women to Watch List’ 2017 by Cranfield University. 

Combining strategic thought leadership with operational drive, she has experience working across a wide range of sectors, structures and geographies enabling companies to achieve world class reputational recognition.

Lisa currently works for Arla, a global, farmer-owned FMCG company and sits on its UK management board which oversees its largest market. In addition, Lisa had held the European communications role. Lisa was also a NED for Target Ovarian Cancer and is now a Director Emeritus as a result of her outstanding leadership and support. She has held senior management and leadership roles at Premier Foods, Anglo American, Marks and Spencer, Siemens and the Financial Times. Lisa is also a graduate from the University of Leeds.

Allison Bainbridge - Group Finance Director, VP PLC

Allison joined Vp on 11 March 2011. Vp is a specialist rental business with six market leading divisions operating in a diverse range of end markets including rail, transmission, water, construction, civil engineering, housebuilding and oil & gas. She was previously Group Finance Director of Kelda Group Limited, the holding company of Yorkshire Water, and also Finance Director of Yorkshire Water. 

Allison obtained an MA in Economics at Leeds University in 1986 and qualified as a Chartered Accountant with Price Waterhouse in Leeds in 1989.

Phil Ball - UK Operations Director, Metsa wood
Jeremy Bard - Chairman and Trustee

Ex Chairman and Trustee, Citi Bank

David Brennan - CEO, Nexus Vehicle Management

David Brennan lives in Birstwith near Harrogate and is the CEO of Nexus Vehicle Rental who are a technology platform offering vehicle mobility solutions based in Leeds.

He has worked in the Automotive sector for 30 years and led a number of businesses including the UK arm of the world’s largest leasing business – LeasePlan.

In 2014 he joined Nexus Vehicle Rental, a Private Equity backed business and has spearheaded the business’ rapid growth. In December 2015, David led the £51m sale of the business to mid-market private equity firm Bowmark Capital, which bought out the previous investor, Livingbridge.

Since 2015 the Nexus business has doubled in profits and David continues to lead the growth of a Yorkshire based success story. He leads by example with Nexus being recognised as one of the UK’s Best Companies to Work For, progressing to a prestigious one-star accreditation in 2018 and has been named one of the top 50 companies to work for in Yorkshire leading to a focussed and engaged workforce.

In his free time, David visits Elland Road as a Leeds United fan and enjoys a passion for cycling and can often be seen riding around the magnificent, and challenging, Yorkshire countryside.

David Bryne - Managing Director, G4S Monitoring Technologies

David lived in Devonshire Hall, Lupton Flats and Headingley during his time at Leeds University. After graduating in 1988 he joined PwC in their Manchester office. After 3 years at PwC he joined British Aerospace (now BAE Systems) in a Commercial Management role with responsibility for successful negotiation and implementation of major elements of the Al Yamamah defence agreement between the UK and Saudi Arabian Governments which was being delivered by BAE. This included military aircraft, mine-hunter ships, military bases and armaments.

After BAE, David spent over 10 years in telecommunications with GEC and its successor company Marconi. In that time David had P&L  responsibility for a number of business units both UK and International and played a lead role in the successful programmes won by Marconi to build the national telecommunications networks of BT and a number of other licenced telecom operators in the UK. A number of years ago David joined the board of a private equity backed technology company involved in identity authentication and biometrics with products such as smart cards and e-Passports. Within 2 years, David led the sale of this company to US technology giant 3M, remaining with 3M for a further 5 years post acquisition to develop a new global product business in this area.

Currently David is Managing Director of G4S Monitoring Technologies & Services and a member of the G4S UK & Ireland Executive Committee. He is responsible for a business with Customers in 17 countries. G4S is the world’s largest international security solutions group. A FTSE 100 listed company operating in over 125 countries, G4S specialises in outsourced business solutions where security and safety are considered a strategic threat. The business operates across a wide range of geographic markets and business sectors and is a major provider of risk management and protection to Governments and businesses around the world.

Tim Busby - CFO, Young's Seafood

Now CFO at Young’s Seafood, prior to Young’s Tim was Finance Director for the International Division of Hallmark, covering the UK, Europe and Asia-Pacific.

Tim has over 20 years experience at Director level, in Finance and General management roles.He has worked the last 14 years in FMCG with Cadbury, Orangina Schweppes and Hallmark.

Tim has lived and worked in France, Germany, Portugal and the UK and also worked with teams in Australia, Japan, Netherlands and the US. He has a particular interest and experience in business turnarounds and helping businesses rediscover profitable growth.

Sam Campbell - Finance Director, A. W. Hainsworth

Sam Campbell is Finance Director for A W Hainsworth & Sons, a specialist textile company and market leader for over 230 years, serving a diverse customer base. Responsible for finance, HR, IT and business planning, Sam has been at the forefront of the businesses development.

Previously Sam was European Finance Manager for a large international corporate organisation with responsibility for $320m business operation, gaining strategic management experience (joint ventures, restructuring, continuous improvement) whilst developing valuable experience in influencing, communication and personal leadership.

Sam holds a BA (hons) in business studies from Coventry University and is a qualified management accountant, CIMA Fellow (FCMA). She is also a director of the Leeds based charity Carers.

Paul Cartmell - Entrepreneur

Leeds Alumnus (Economics) and entrepreneur Paul Cartmell now invests and advises a number of businesses after selling Billington Cartmell, the company he founded in 1991 with Ian Billington. Together, the pair built the business to become one of the largest independent marketing groups in the UK employing almost 200 people providing advertising, direct and digital marketing services to a host of major clients, including GlaxoSmithKline, Unilever, Nestle, Morrisons, Panasonic and Carlsberg.  The business was acquired by Hutton Collins Partners in 2012. 

Prior to launching Billington Cartmell, Paul worked as an international Marketing Development Director for global pharmaceutical company SmithKline Beecham, and previously held marketing roles with Cadbury and Britvic.

Paul recently became a non–executive director of Child’s Farm which produces an innovative range of natural toiletries suitable for all children and especially those with sensitive or eczema prone skin, as well as an eponymous children’s cartoon TV series on Cartoonito.  

Paul will soon be launching a range of English wines from a vineyard in Hampshire.

Richard Corderoy - Partner, Oakland Consulting

Jeremy Cross is a graduate from the University of Oxford. He is a Chartered Accountant who has extensive experience in Retail and Financial Services. He is currently Director of his own business, as well as holding a variety of Non Executive roles.

Jeremy Cross - Head of Banking Strategy

Jeremy Cross is a graduate from the University of Oxford. He is a Chartered Accountant who has extensive experience in Retail and Financial Services. He is currently Director of his own business, as well as holding a variety of Non Executive roles.

Peter Cross - Customer Experience Manager, John Lewis

Recognised as one of the UK's leading brand communications strategists, Peter Cross, Director of Customer Experience at John Lewis and ex-business partner of Mary Portas is a regular commentator on TV Radio and the national press on the subjects of retail, branding and consumer trends.

Peter has worked in marketing communications for over 20 years, starting his career at Burberry in the European buying team followed by eleven years overseas at L'Oreal.

In 2000 Peter took up a position with the Richemont Group in charge of global communications for Dunhill before joining forces with Mary at Yellowdoor as Managing Partner in 2004.

Between 2007 and 2012, they built one of London's best respected retail and brand marketing agencies with clients ranging from Louis Vuitton and Mercedes Benz to Westfield, Clarks and Matalan.

The pair also launched a number of broadcast and merchandise projects including the highly acclaimed Mary Queen of Shops, on BBC2, 'Mary Portas: Secret Shopper' on Channel 4 as well as 'Mary's "Living and Giving" charity shops - widely respected as the most innovative and charity shops in the UK. In 2010, they launched a fashion range for the forty plus woman, televised through a Channel 4 series, Mary Queen of Frocks.

In 2011, Peter collaborated with Mary on the creation of "The Portas Review", a series of recommendations to Government. Peter now sits on the Governments High Street Forum - a group of business leaders tasked with revitalizing the nations high streets and in 2014 assisted in the completion of a capability review for NHS Communications.

In June 2013, Peter joined John Lewis as Communications Director. Since his arrival, PR Week, the magazine of the communications industry has said that Peter has transformed its approach to communications and helped reposition the brand as a barometer for Britain's shopping habits.

For 2016, Peter was voted the number one Corporate and City Communications professional in the UK saying that under Peter Cross' comms leadership John Lewis has become the definitive zeitgeist retailer with a canny knack of combining an excellent corporate reputation and high visibility among consumers - most notably through the annual Christmas campaign.

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Billy D'Arcy - CEO, BAI Communications UK

Billy D'Arcy, is the CEO of BAI Communications for the group’s UK operation. BAI Communications are a global leader in the design, build and operation of communications networks on transport systems.

A graduate of University College Dublin (Michael Smurfitt Business School) as well as the Dublin Institute of Technology, Billy has spent the last 25 years working in senior commercial roles across organisations in the telecommunications and ICT industry that include Cable & Wireless, Eircom, Worldcom and for the last 11 years, O2. In 2009, he transferred to the UK from the Irish operation of O2 to head up corporate sales for O2 UK. Prior to taking the role as CEO of BAI Communciations, Billy was with Telefonica in the UK developing a significant Public Sector Business. Billy lives in Berkshire with his wife Louise and three children, the eldest of which has just started at University. His interests include rugby, power boating, and mountain biking.

Paul Dollin - Executive Director, WSP

Paul is a chartered engineer and has a PhD in material science which led to an early career in the nuclear power industry working for British Energy. In 1999, after a short break from the nuclear industry working in the financial services sector, Paul joined Atkins, the engineering consultant, where he held numerous roles leading businesses focused on the Energy and broader Design and Engineering markets. Paul joined WSP Group PLC in 2010 as a main Board Director with responsibility for all operations in the UK, Middle East, Africa and India. Paul has held the role of Chief Operating Officer for WSP | Parsons Brinckerhoff since 2014 with responsibility for day-to-day operations worldwide. 

Steve Ellis- (Retired), KPMG

I have worked in corporate recovery and restructuring for PwC’s Northern practice for over 20 years. I have been involved in a broad range of corporate assignments, advising lenders in turnaround, new lending and debt restructuring and recovery situations.

Also I have worked with corporates and their stakeholders to stabilise companies in financial difficulty and generate solutions to overcome those difficulties, eg restructuring of groups, businesses and their debts (including refinancing).

I pioneered the use of debt restructuring techniques and regulated apportionment agreements to restructure the balance sheets of groups with unsustainable pension deficits as part of the restructuring of Sheffield Forgemasters in 2005.

Since then, I have developed market-leading knowledge as financial adviser to trustees and corporates dealing with pension deficit management, the Pensions Regulator and PPF. 

I have also advised both trustees and companies on the impact of corporate transactions on employer covenant, as well as on scheme funding negotiations for private equity backed and listed companies, particularly in regulated industries.

Karen Emmanual - Managing Director, ThinkTank Media and Key Productions

A music and media manufacturing expert, special packaging creative, innovative thinker.

Karen is Owner of three businesses; Think Tank MediaKey Production and Jicaro Island Ecolodge.

Mark Fearn - Partner and Co-Founder, Berkeley Partnership

Mark Fearn is one of the founding partners of The Berkeley Partnership, an independent management consultancy with offices in London and New York. 

Mark graduated from Leeds University with a degree in economics and started his career in the City of London before moving into consultancy. During his career at Berkeley he has worked with over 70 clients, many of which are global businesses and household names. 

Mark has a particular interest in strategy development and transformational change. He is also a qualified executive coach. Mark is married with three sons and carries the burden of being a life-long West Ham supporter.     

Jo Fish - Managing Director, Navigate Group

Jo Fish is Managing Director of Navigate Group - a leading education services provider and DfE approved academy sponsor.  

Jo directs Navigate’s client work across the UK, leading high profile improvement partnerships with local authorities, academies and individual schools.  

Through her work to develop the Navigate Academies Trust, Jo aims to build a network of outstanding schools for local communities, creating an arena in which school to school support is encouraged and developed to drive continuous sector improvement.   

Prior to starting her consultancy career, which included senior roles with PricewaterhouseCoopers, Veredus (Part of Capita) and Tribal PLC, Jo worked at the interface between education and business - connecting providers of education and training opportunities with local, regional and national employers.

http://www.navigategroup.co.uk/

Lisa Florit - Executive and Leadership Coach, Alto
G - I
Joe Gaunt - Founder, HERO Wellbeing

Joe is the founder of Hero Wellbeing. Hero was formed in 2017 to have a positive impact on individuals, companies and communities by supporting all types of healthy behaviour. Hero create technology and services and believe in helping individuals and companies focus on being the best version of themselves. Their mission is to create healthy and happy communities, one unique human at a time. 

Prior to Hero, Joe was Managing Director at Reward Gateway. Joe was responsible for the whole UK P&L, the new business line, client retention and renewals, implementation and engagement teams

At Reward Gateway Joe implemented new sales and account management structures, installed new managers and sales consultants, created service strategy, and re-drafted processes to support the businesses growth globally through its next investment phase. 

Joe was part of the leadership team that recently saw RG sell to private equity investors Great Hill Partners for £140 million, more information here.

Prior to Reward Gateway, Joe spent six years at Virgin Active, the health club chain, where he was Ops Director for London and ultimately UK Head of Sales.

Aiden Grills - Chief Executive, Leeds University Union

Aidan has been the Chief Executive at LUU since 2009; He is responsible for the overall leadership of strategy, resources and governance and has a broad interest in higher education and the charity sector.

A Chartered Fellow and member of the CMI, Aidan also holds a number of trustee and voluntary positions. He is the Vice-Chair of the NUS UK Charity Board, and a member of the Student Engagement Partnership Board, funded by HEFCE. Aidan is also a Governor at Leeds Trinity University and Chair of the Coordinating Council at the Salvation Army.

Aidan's expertise lies in leading teams, charity governance and developing strategy. He has two young sons and is a member of The Salvation Army with whom he volunteers and plays in the brass band.

Mike Haigh - Managing Director, Mott MacDonald

Mike is the Managing Director of Mott MacDonald, a global engineering, management and development consultancy with over 16,000 staff worldwide and a turnover of over £1.5bn. His responsible for the day-to-day management and operational performance of the global business.

Previously he was managing director of Mott MacDonald’s Europe and Africa region which has over 7000 staff and revenue in excess of £820 million.

Prior to this, Mike was the Regional Managing Director of the Middle East and South Asia and before that a director in our water and environment team and manager of our water business where he was instrumental in developing relationships with partners and clients to create integrated delivery teams.

With over 30 years’ experience, Mike has a strong background in the general management, planning and implementation of large infrastructure projects, with particular expertise in the water sector.

Mike is also a director of Mott MacDonald Bentley, the multi-award winning integrated design and build contractor.

Janine Hamilton - Programme Manager, EMIS Health

Janine graduated from University of Leeds in 2008 with a BA (Hons) in Sociology and Social Policy.

Her career started at Leeds City Council working in the Public Private Procurement Unit as a Project Coordinator on a multi-million pound housing regeneration programme.

Janine moved into the Higher Education sector in 2009 as a Project Manager, initially working in sustainable procurement. She then moved into a more technical Project Manager Position at University of Bradford working on a web based solution for dementia care and later led the Digital Catapult Centre Yorkshire.

In 2018, Janine moved to EMIS Health as Programme Manager, specifically supporting Community and Child Mental Health and EMIS Mobile Programmes.

Janine has a keen interest in Women in Tech and empowering women in the workplace. In June 2018, Janine set up a Women’s Network across EMIS Health to address Gender Pay Gap issues, women in leadership positions, flexible working culture, training and development and a mentor programme.

In her spare time, Janine likes to spend time walking with her husband, two young boys and dog in the Yorkshire Moors.

Janine also plays for two netball leagues and likes to keep fit.

Richard Higham - Group Chief Executive, Aceton
Robert Hocking - Consultant

Robert's career working with brands and retail began in the late '80s and led to him launching his own agency in January of 1995. In the course of nearly eight years he was responsible for building the business from a single advertising agency into a group of four integrated agencies working in the areas of advertising, public relations, digital, and environmental design.

After selling his interest in the business, Robert was recruited into the strategic planning department of Ogilvy & Mather where he worked in the position of Vice President, Strategic Planning between Toronto, New York, and Chicago. From this role he moved to sister agency Young & Rubicam as Senior Vice President, Managing Director with responsibility for two of their offices. In September 2007 Fitch Worldwide, the world's foremost retail design company, recruited Robert to London where he served for 5 years on the global board as their Chief Development Officer.

Today, he consults as a managing partner for a business ventures group within Momentum Worldwide, part of Interpublic, and runs his own food venture, The Edible Inventions Company.

Robert's overall experience spans B to B and B to C categories for the likes of Motorola, Kraft, Nokia, Unilever, Watirose, Metro, John Lewis Partnership, Dell, IBM, British American Tobacco, Moet Hennessey, Cisco, Dell, Philips, and Fairmont Hotels, across global markets including the US, the UK, Germany, Russia, Nigeria, India, the UAE, Argentina and China.

Pauline Hogg - Senior Director (HR), ARLA

A HR professional with an extensive background in retail and FMCG, Pauline spent her earlier career years at Sainsbury’s and Carlsberg, and more recently as a HR business partner to various functions of Unilever on a UK, regional and global level. She joined Arla in 2016 as Senior HR Director for Arla Foods UK where she has established the ‘One Team Arla’ people agenda for the business.

With a wicked sense of humour, Pauline enjoys a dynamic and purposeful environment whilst nurturing a healthy loathing for inefficiency and bureaucracy. Over the last few years in her spare time, she has been a mentor to undergraduates of the University of Hull Business School as part of the Alumni programme, as well as Chairperson of the Leeds and Bradford Triathlon Club. She can often be seen pedalling (slowly) on the hills of Yorkshire on her bike.

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Alastair Kitching - Commercial Director, Esteem

Alastair has been Chief Operating Officer for Esteem Holdings Ltd for over 20 years. Prior to this he was Channel Development Manager for hp Digital Equipment Corporation.

He is a Leeds alumnus with a BSc Hons, Computer Science.

Karen Lewis - Head of Customer Success, Crisp Thinking

Strategic digital marketing and client servicing professional with over 15 years Digital Marketing and Agency experience. Highly commercially-focused and accomplished in digital strategy, digital project delivery, new business and team leadership, I am a committed client services lead, having built and maintained client relationships at the highest level across a wide range of sectors. 

Currently Head of Customer Success at Crisp Thinking, we look after some of the world's biggest brands, safeguarding their brands and their communities from high impact social media risk. 

Crisp tags every risk requiring human intervention within minutes of it being posted, in over 120 risk categories, each of which can have independent actions. We do this to over 99.9% accuracy in over 50 languages.

Dr Qu Li - CEO, Nine Health CIC

Dr Qu Li is an entrepreneur, investor and businesswomen with global successful experiences, high reputation and track record.

The founder and Chairman of China Ventures Ltd, a leading business consultancy specialising in Sino/Western businesses and provides strategic, financial, commercial and investment consultancy services.

  • BSc, MSc from Chongqing University and PhD from University of Leeds
  • Over 25 years of experience in merge, acquisition, JV, Technology transfer
  • Completed many turnkey transactions from US$5million to US$100 million 
  • Raised total over US$300 million over the last 10 years
  • Worked and held senior roles in both government, corporate and private sectors
  • Well know Industrial Doctor for turn-around operation and interim management

Most well know in distressed assets management, has bought, turnaround and sold many businesses and assets. For example:

  • The London Hotel – an independent hotel and restaurant in United Kingdom
  • Webelectricals – an online electric and electronic retailer
  • MG Rover Direct – an online and show room car sales and finance operation
  • Johnson Security Ltd – a security products manufacturer, sales and service Company

 A shareholder and director of several companies, including:

  • Multidrive Limited, an engineering company with innovative technology in transport and materials handling sector www.multidrivevehicles.com 
  • Peterhouse Corperate Finance, one of the London oldest Corporate Finance and asset management firm of high reputation. www.pcorpfin.com
  • Morris Commercial Ltd, an electric vehicle engineering company with one of the most Iconic British Automotive Brand.
  • A non-executive director of Fly Brands PLC, a London main market list company
  • Trustee and supporter of several charities in UK supporting young entrepreneurs
  • An investor in technology companies. 
Michael Linsky - Sensio

Michael Linsky is the Director of Sensio Lighting Ltd - a market leader in the distribution of kitchen, bedroom and bathroom lighting solutions to the retail sector.

The business was originally formed in 2000 by Michael's father in the family garage as MR Lighting. Michael came into the business shortly after, and quickly took the business from strength to strength. Constantly striving to ensure Sensio are the best at what they do, Michael drives the business forward with his vision, absolute passion and commitment. With the help of the growing, close-knit team behind him, the company has grown year-on-year for the past eight years, with revenue continuing to increase annually throughout the recession.

By working closely with manufacturing partners, Michael continues to drive change in the business by constantly staying on top of the latest technologies. Innovation, high quality, unique products and thinking differently has driven the company's great success.

In 2012, Sensio introduced their first product design internship with a student from the University of Leeds. From there, we now have a full time product designer and we offer two internship placements a year. Our vision is to triple our product design team over the next 5 years, and also to incorporate an electrical engineering department alongside.

Sensio are a rapidly growing global brand, established in the UK, USA and Slovenia currently, with developments underway to further grow our presence in the EU.

Andreas Loizou - Business Trainer and Author

Andreas runs Learnflow, a consultancy which trains people across Europe in business writing and communication skills. He qualified as an ACA with PWC, worked as an equity analyst in investment banks and was a director of training at FT Knowledge for eleven years.

Andreas has a First in English Literature and Linguistics from Leeds and a M.Phil in Modernist Literature from Cambridge. He’s a graduate of the Faber and Faber Novel Writing Academy. His first book, The Devil’s Deal, was published by FT Prentice Hall and translated into nine languages.

Andreas lives in Madrid with his daughter, Helena. He spends a lot of time arguing with his literary agent about his novels.

His big thing these days is The Margate Bookie. Andreas set up this charity to spread a love of reading and writing in his home town. The Margate Bookie hosts two literary festivals each year and runs creative writing courses and retreats. He’s always after volunteers who want to learn how to grow an idea into a business – why not get in touch?

M - O
Adam Martin - Managing Director, Tesco Hospitality

Adam is a Marketer and Strategist with a specialism in the hospitality and food and drink sectors. Adam is currently Managing Director of Tesco Hospitality, a subsidiary of Tesco PLC which develops and manages restaurants and coffee shops in Tesco Stores. For 15 years Adam worked for Mitchells & Butlers, the largest operator of pubs, bars and restaurants in the UK where he was Marketing and Strategy Director. This involved creating restaurant and bar concepts, as well as all the more conventional elements of the marketing mix. Adam also spent seven years in Strategy consulting, where he was Vice President of Gemini Consulting, working on a wide range of strategy and marketing assignments. Whilst at Gemini, he established their business in Southern Africa. 

Adam studied Archaeology and History at the University of Leeds and has an MBA from London Business School. He lives in Oxford with his wife Caroline and they have two children. When not working, Adam remains a keen student of history, anthropology and economics (all interests which started as a student at Leeds) and enjoys music and travel.

Peter McAteer - Managing Director, Sysmax Ltd

A respected advisor with a track record of large scale value addition for a range of oil and gas companies from start up ventures to multi-national Operators.

Expertise includes oil and gas conceptual field design, asset evaluation, risk management and competency management internationally since 1985. 

Led projects quadrupling the NPV of a Chinese asset, trebling the production of a large UK independent through multiple acquisitions and conceptual design of some of the most profitable fields in the world for a global Major. Advised two international abandoned exploration wells be developed for assets which subsequently were valued at $billions.

A Chartered Director with experience of running my own businesses in Engineering Management Consulting and IT / web based management systems since 1992. Advising at strategic levels in a number of companies on asset valuation and business development.
Skills covering innovation, commercial and technnical risk analysis, high technology engineering and value optimisation.
Business experience covers start-up, growth, divestment, acquisition and investment.
Internationally experienced in most regions of the world.
In the oil and gas sector I want to deliver strong returns for my stakeholders with diligence, skill and wisdom.
Specialities: Innovation, creativity, strategy and setting corporate direction and delivering my part with strength.

Dr Liz Mear - CEO, NHS Innovation Agency
Grant Mercer - Entrepreneur

I am a highly creative and energetic individual. I have focused my energies on building businesses, including my own company, building brands and introducing innovative and inspiring ideas to companies. In addition I am a creative writer: writing ads, songs and music videos!

After graduating from Leeds University I began a career in advertising initially finding my true vocation as Business Development Director. In this role, for two of the largest agencies in the world I was responsible for winning over 40 new business pitches.

In 1998 I became MD for a much smaller agency (MKP), who made less than £100k profit per year. By 2002 I had built the company extensively, and orchestrated its sale to Omnicom. In the three 'earn out' years the agency profitability exceeded £8m.

Omnicom invited me to merge my company MKP with their through the line agency Tequila. As the CEO I was responsible for successfully merging the two companies to create the largest most profitable agency outside of London.

I moved to Cable & Wireless (Americas) in 2005 as SVP Marketing and Communications - a role which saw me increase revenues, volumes and connections across all elements of our business- in the mobile sector market share increased from 15%-29%; on-line connections increased from 8,500- 150,000 within six months; and fixed line connections increased to their highest ever level.

In 2008 I moved to Saatchi and Saatchi Australasia as Communications Director responsible for, amongst other things, the biggest Telco client in the region.

My business building focus continued in 2010, when I joined an effective start up called DJI, who had just entered the lottery business in China. In 2014 DJI posted record revenues of over £600m and we now operate in 13 provinces across China.

Gail Monnickendam - Bursar, Bradford Grammar School

Gail’s working career has all been based in West Yorkshire.

Qualifying, in 1985, with the chartered accountancy firm Arthur Yong McClelland Moores in Bradford, Gail moved into industry in 1987 as Financial Controller to a group of  diverse companies. She then spent four years in venture capital and corporate finance before moving to experience the National Health Service by working at the United Leeds Teaching Hospitals NHS Trust as an Assistant Finance Director. Working with the facilities, IT and assets divisions she was also heavily involved in PFI both at the hospital itself and nationally. This role in the NHS was the stepping stone for her next move to Leeds Training and Enterprise Council Limited which she joined in 1996 as Deputy Chief Executive and Commercial Director. In 2000 she was appointed Chief Executive of Leeds TEC. Due to national changes in the TEC movement Gail took the opportunity of redundancy in 2001 which coincided with the biggest challenge of all…motherhood!

Between 2001 and 2005 Gail worked part time in portfolio mode with a small number of non-executive positions and as accountant to a couple of small companies. This included a number of non-executive positions in Leeds eg Park Lane College. NHS Estates (responsible for the redundant hospital sites),  and IGEN Limited ( a careers advisory company). She was also a member of an investment panel for Yorkshire Fund Managers from 2000 to 2003. 

From 2005 to 2008 Gail was the part-time Commercial Director of Lunn Ventures Group Limited and its subsidiary companies, a property trading company based in Harrogate that specialised in retail and commercial properties.

In January 2009 Gail became the Deputy Chief Executive of Leeds Federated Housing Association. This role encompassed responsibility, at different times, for the IT, Finance, Assets, HR, Business Planning and Procurement functions of the Association. The Association has 4000 properties across Leeds, Wakefield and North Yorkshire. Whilst at Leeds Fed, Gail started mentoring younger people involved in the housing sector through a mentoring programme run by Housing Diversity Network. She was also a module trainer on the programme.

Gail left Leeds Fed in July 2016. She is now enjoying a part time portfolio life once again. This includes doing due diligence work on housing associations that are looking to merge, volunteering for a charity and occasionally taking on ad hoc assignments such as acting as an independent Chair on disciplinary hearings and recruiting senior finance staff. She is a Governor of a local primary school.

Gail was President of the Bradford Chartered Accountants Student Society in 1986 and was President of the West Yorkshire Society of Chartered Accountants in 2006-2007. She is nor Bursar at Bradford Grammar School.

Tony Morgan - IBM
John Oakland - Executive Chairman, Oakland Consulting

John is Chairman of Oakland Consulting and Head of its Research and Education Division, The Oakland Institute. He is also Emeritus Professor of Business Excellence and Quality at Leeds University Business School.

Over 30 years he has researched and consulted in all aspects of improvement strategy development and  quality and operational excellence in literally thousands of organisations. His work includes supporting Q&OPEX programmes for ABB, Airbus Group, Amey, Exxon, Landis + Gyr, MBDA, Network Rail, Pace, Shell and Unilever.

He is author of several best selling books, including: Total Organisational Excellence, TQM and Operational Excellence, and Statistical Process Control. He has also written hundreds of papers, articles and reports on many management topics.

Robert Oakland - Oakland Consulting

Richard is a Partner at Oakland Consulting with a strong background in quality strategy development and implementation. His recent focus has been on developing quality approaches within the capital projects sector. He is currently assuring one of the largest infrastructure programmes in the UK.

Richard's early career was spent as an engineering officer in the Royal Navy. Serving as Combat Systems Officer in the Submarine Service, he was deployed on both front line operations and leading elements of a significant technical upgrade programme the UK. Latterly he was responsible the stakeholder engagement activity during the merger of two RN Divisions.

After the Navy he joined PA Consulting's Business Transformation Group - specialising in the delivery of large organisational change programmes for a number of differing clients. More recently he has developed his experience with Utilities and infrastructure organisations.

After a period in Financial Services (focusing on Customer Service Strategy and the transformation of enterprise level risk organisations) he joined Oakland Consulting.

Richard has a first-class masters from Cambridge University in Manufacturing Engineering.

Karen Oddey - Former CEO, CMac and Amantys

Karen has held various CEO and MD positions at board level in technology and engineering companies (both large multinationals and equity funded SMEs). She has particular experience shaping and delivering focused growth strategies in various (often challenging) market conditions; completing acquisitions, divestments and equity investments; delivering operational turnarounds and improving the way companies operate, organise and engage their teams for success. Karen is also experienced in strategy, product management and marketing.

Most recently Karen was CEO of an early stage company, Amantys, where she focused the business and secured additional investment through a major partnership agreement with a blue chip supplier. Prior to Amantys Karen was CEO of C-MAC Aerospace (an equity funded SME) where she grew the business organically and through acquisition and sold the resulting company to API Technologies Corp.

The majority of Karen's career was in large corporates as Group Managing Director of various businesses including divisions of QinetiQ and Thales (providers of technology based products, systems and services to the defence and security sectors) and 3Com (a US company developing and supplying communications products and systems worldwide). 

Prior to 3Com Karen was a Production Engineer with NEI Parsons (a heavy engineering company). 

Karen has a Masters in Business Administration (MBA) from London Business School and an Honours Degree (1st class) in Mechanical Engineering from Leeds University.

Laurence Olins - Poupart

Laurence Olins, Director/Chairman of a wide range of food, distribution, marketing and farming companies with a combined turnover in excess of £1bn. The companies are mainly international, operating and farming across the UK and Europe as well as the USA, Caribbean and Africa. The products range from meat, fresh produce, arable, branded goods and leather/fashion. His responsibilities extend to Corporate Social Responsibility in some of the companies with which he is associated. Laurence initiated and chairs the annual City Food Lecture at Guildhall, London.

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David Padbury - Customer Expereince Manager, Greggs

Objective
Senior strategic role within a dynamic, customer and team orientated organisation, where my experience in motivating teams and driving change can be leveraged to achieve increased income, profit, team engagement and customer satisfaction.

Profile
An experienced and highly motivated professional, educated to degree level, with a track record of delivering exceptional results at both tactical and strategic levels through engaging with diverse stakeholder groups. Demonstrates key leadership qualities and has extensive experience in retail, hospitality, multi-site and project management. A dynamic individual that seeks and embraces change as a means to excel.

Susan Paul - CEO, Healthcare Leadership Systems

Executive Coach - Business & Leadership | Bsc (Hons) | Solicitor | Former Employment Judge | CEDR Accredited Mediator | CEO First 4 Health Group | CEO Healthcare Leadership Systems | Leader in Residence and Advisory Board Member -  Management Division, Leeds University Business School

Susan Paul is an British Asian woman with over 28 years' legal, management and business experience in private legal practice, local government legal practice, the charity and health sectors working with Boards, CEO’s, Senior Managers and Executives.  A specialist Employment Solicitor and CEDR Accredited Mediator Susan was a UK Employment Judge for over five years before retiring from the Judiciary to expand her career to work alongside business leaders.

Susan has coached executives for over 25 years.  In addition to her role as an Executive Coach Susan is also the Chief Executive of the First 4 Health Group, a Federated group of four NHS GP practices in East London with a list size of over 31,000 patients and a multi-disciplinary team of over 80 healthcare professionals and support staff.

She is also the CEO of  Healthcare Leadership Systems, a small management and coaching consultancy, through which she has developed 'OneRoom™' a cloud based operational tool for GP practices and other NHS organisations to work collaboratively and safely to comply with Care Quality Commission (CQC) regulations with ease. 

As an Executive Coach and multi-skilled professional Susan uses her knowledge, skill set and a compassionate, but at times challenging, ‘energy focused - systems approach’ to coach and/or mentor Executive Leaders around the challenges they face by:

  • Maintaining a results oriented focus
  • Inquiring, stimulating and challenging Executive Leader to perform at their optimal level
  • Engaging with the Executive's specific leadership challenges
  • Managing the various ‘Energy Profiles’ within the system to generate desired results
Nathan Pettit - Sales and Marketing Director, Healthcare 21 Group

Nathan Pettitt is the Sales & Marketing Director of Healthcare 21 – a high growth medical device SME.

With over 20 years’ experience in the Medical technology sector, Nathan spent his early career in leadership roles with a US Healthcare Corporation. He left to found several new venture start-ups within the sector and is experienced at guiding and managing high growth technology businesses.

James Pirie - VP Sales, Arla

James has a strong breadth of blue-chip FMCG experience with a track record of exceptional commercial success. James is a creative, logical problem solver, robust decision-maker and skilled negotiator.  Excellent analytical, leadership, interpersonal and management skills. James has been consistently recognised for professionalism, customer focus, team-working and results. He has a proven ability to provide others with a vision, direct the course of future events and inspiring others to succeed. Ability to lead and follow mindfully, effectively and responsibly in a business world where volatility, uncertainty and pressure are the norm. James currently works for Arla, a global, farmer-owned FMCG company as VP, Sales.

Peter Raby - CEO, Morgan Advanced Materials

Pete joined Morgan Advanced Materials in August 2015 as Chief Executive Officer. Before joining Morgan Advanced Materials, Pete was President of the Communications and Connectivity sector of Cobham plc. Pete held a number of senior positions at Cobham over a nine- year period. Prior to Cobham, Pete was a partner at McKinsey & Company, specialising in the aerospace, defence and power and gas sectors.

Pete has a PhD in satellite navigation and an M.Eng from the Department of Electronic and Electrical Engineering at the University of Leeds.

 

Liz Richards - Independent Chair

Liz Richards is an experienced executive (CFO) and non-executive director and chair.

“I spent most of my executive career (15 years) as a founding member and CFO of Callcredit (now Transunion UK), a significant consumer data and software business and credit reference agency based in Leeds.

"As CFO, I helped determine the strategy around its rapid growth from start-up to £150m turnover

"As a member of the Board, whose strategy was to enable growth, both organically, led by technology and innovation, and through M&A, within the UK and internationally, we achieved through two private equity buy-outs an exit enterprise value of £500m.

"My sector knowledge spans across financial services and the payments industry, with extensive experience within software, technology, and consumer data markets

"I now have a varied non-executive portfolio including Link, the UK ATM operator, Tracsis plc, an AIM listed software supplier to the transport industry and Leeds Trinity University. I sit on the Boards of all three and chair their audit committees.

"I studied French and German at Leeds University and enjoyed my time there including a year abroad in Austria.

"I have three children in their early twenties, and love photography, travel, walking and skiing and Manchester United.”

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Brendan Sarsfield - CEO, Peabody

Brendan was appointed Chief Executive of Family Mosaic at its point of merger in 2006. He joined Mosaic Homes in 2001 as Chief Executive. Previously, he was a Director at Family HA for seven years. He spent five years at London and Quadrant as a senior manager and has also worked in local government.

Dr Jonathan Sheffield - CEO, NIHR Clinical Research Network

Dr Jonathan Sheffield has been Chief Executive Officer of the National Institute for Health Research, Clinical Research Network since 2010.  The Clinical Research Network delivers Clinical research studies throughout the NHS in England covering primary, secondary and tertiary care. The University of Leeds and Guy’s and St Thomas’ NHS Foundation Trust host the Network’s Coordinating Centre from offices based in Leeds, London, Liverpool and Newcastle. In 2016-17 the Network recruited over 666,000 patients into over 4000 studies across the NHS. Jonathan qualified as a doctor in 1981 and subsequently trained as a Histopathologist. In 1993 he was appointed as a Consultant Histopathologist at Yeovil district General Hospital.  Subsequently Jonathan has held multiple senior medical management posts in the NHS at local, regional and a national level.

Jonathan is highly regarded for his knowledge and expertise and is often called upon to speak at national events and international industry meetings. In his capacity as an NIHR spokesperson, he provides comment on research delivery throughout the NHS infrastructure. His long and detailed experience in the NHS allows him to balance contentious clinical priority issues with the need to advance medical knowledge through research.

A passionate advocate for clinical research, Jonathan's ambition is to focus not only on traditional pharma and medical technology research but how digital tools can accelerate delivery of life-changing treatments whilst improving engagement with patients, researchers, Life Science industry and the wider NHS.

Anne Shiels - Business Consultant and Executive Coach

Anne runs her own business consultancy working with Senior Executives to enhance the performance of themselves and their teams to deliver strong sustainable businesses and healthy leaders. 

She is a former Executive Director with multiple sector experience including Retail, Telecoms, Manufacturing, Banking and FMC and is known for her expertise in leading large-scale, complex organisational change programmes. Working both internationally and in the UK, she has also been part of an Executive team that planned and delivered a successful IPO. 

Building organisational capability and aligning culture, talent and succession plans with the company's strategic goals has been at the heart of her work.

She now focuses mainly on:- 

  • Individual Executive coaching for senior leaders, often provided during times of change for either the individual and/or the organisation.
  • Team coaching, including the use of real time interventions which teams find particularly helpful when reforming or dealing with new challenges. 
  • Team effectiveness training, which sometimes results from team coaching interventions.
  • Group facilitation for small or large teams.
Geoff Sims - Founder, Waqe Consulting

Geoff Sims has over 30 years' experience in the recruitment industry and after leaving Hays Recruitment in 2017 has launched Waqe Consulting.

"After 33 years in the world of recruitment within both the UK and mainland Europe,18 at MD level, I decided it was time to set up my own consultancy to support the industry I love. Waqe consulting is established to offer strategic support, leadership coaching and sales training within the recruitment agency sector and expertise to "in house" recruitment teams in the wider public and private sector arena."

He began his professional career as an accountant with Unilever, Litton Industries and the Hunting Group. After seven years as an accountant Geoff made the move into recruitment.

A West Yorkshire resident for over 13 years, he joined Hays team in Leeds as a trainee consultant in 1984 and in 1992 was promoted to Regional Director of Accountancy and Finance. After a further two years he was promoted to Managing Director of Hays Office Support in the UK and in 1999 he founded and became Managing Director of Hays Contact Centres. Since then he has developed these businesses into a leading supplier of permanent and interim staff across the UK.

In 2011 he was appointed Managing Director for all the Hays businesses in the West and Wales region and two years later moved to his current role as the Managing Director of East of England as well as continuing the national leadership of Hays Office Support.

As well as being instrumental in the success of Hays' UK business, during his career with Hays Geoff also established the Hays business in Sweden and was actively involved in early ventures in the Netherlands that led to the acquisition and growth of the business there.

Geoff is also a judge of the European Call Centre & Customer Service awards and sits on the council for the CBI in the East of England. He also has regular appearances on BBC East as a commentator on local employment trends and issues.

Geoff comments;

I was honoured to be asked to act as a 'Leader in Residence' for the University of Leeds. I am passionate about seeing people achieve their goals and assisting in this quest. During my 30 years in recruitment I have advised individuals of all levels on their careers. I or my teams have also advised companies of all sizes in all commercial or public sectors on their recruitment and strategic Human resource planning. I firmly believe that I can offer huge insight to assist you in your choice of role or sector and the way to achieve your goals.

Paul Slater - Managing Director, Change Shed

Paul is the Managing Director of his own consulting business, focussing on organisational change and putting strategy into operations. Twice a graduate of The University, (1995 Psychology; 2003 MBA) he combines his psychology background with management consultancy experience to help organisations get the very best out of their people. I

n his career he has worked as a Senior Manager with Accenture across a range of sectors, for clients such as GSK, The Benefits Agency and various NHS Trusts. He also worked as a Partner with Oakland Consulting, a leading consultancy in Quality and Operational Excellence, where his clients included TFL, Zurich Global Life and National Grid.

In his spare time Paul enjoys family activities with his two young children, skiing, gardening and boxing for fitness!

Graham Staples - Company Secretary, Schroders

Graham has over 25 years of experience of the financial services industry. He is currently Group Company Secretary of Schroders plc, Europe’s largest independent listed asset management company, where he is responsible for the Group’s governance framework and advising the Schroders Board and Executive Management team on all governance matters. Graham started his career as a graduate trainee with the NFU Mutual Insurance Company.

He subsequently moved to TSB Group where he held a number of roles in the legal, compliance and company secretarial departments. He was Assistant Company Secretary for NatWest Group for six years prior to their takeover by the Royal Bank of Scotland. He was responsible for the European share plan administration business of Computershare, the global registrar, prior to joining Schroders in 2004. He holds a law degree from Leeds University and an MBA from Henley Management College.

Graham recently gave lectures to MBA and MSc students on M&A, for more information look to the event details of his last lecture. 

David Stead - Owner, Foxtrot Delta

David Stead is a Finance Director servicing SMEs on a freelance basis through his business Foxtrot Delta Limited. He provides business guidance during their growth phases, fundraising or support during the due diligence process of a sale or acquisition.

He has worked within the media industry for 24 years most recently at producer Jeremy Thomas’ Hanway Films, an independent sales agency and production company as FD. Prior to that he was at Simon Fuller’s 19 Entertainment having financial responsibility for projects involving David and Victoria Beckham, Andy Murray, Claudia Schiffer and Roland Mouret. He had sole responsibility for the financial analysis and planning of the $250m organisation including US behemoth American Idol and So You Think You Can Dance.

Prior to this he led the finance at Robert Dodds’ creative agency Freedom Media which pioneered advertiser funded programming with the Pepsi Chart TV show and raised finance to start pop teen brand Popworld, which drove Channel 4’s T4 brand on weekend mornings. He was also general manager at Parallel Media Group, a sports event promoter and TV sport content provider, establishing joint ventures with NBC Sports and subsidiaries in South Africa and Malaysia.

Richard Stoppard - Chief Executive, Culinary and Creative; Group CMO, The Conversion Fund

Richard is a senior executive with 20+ years’ international, investment, FMCG, retail and mobile telecoms experience across strategy, marketing and business development. He is a culturally aware dynamic leader with expertise in investments, business development, international brand and consumer marketing. He has a proven track record across operations, category management and strategy across developed and emerging markets from UK and US to China and Brazil focused on driving commercial results and organisational change. He has been instrumental in driving change and transforming global organisations to achieve growth and drive increased revenues, and has held key leadership roles at in a number of large organisations.

Richard spent eight years at Nokia/Microsoft Mobile and 10 years at Unilever (in addition to his time at Proctor & Gamble and Safeway Stores) operating both at a global level and internationally as a member of local company operating boards, before joining the Conversion Fund, a multi-category private investment vehicle based in London with an international portfolio of businesses at the beginning of 2017. In addition to this Richard is also Chair of the Management Division Advisory Board member and a founder member of the Leader in Residence programme at Leeds, and a non-executive director of Kathryn Sargent Ltd.

Elaine Taylor-Whilde - Business Fix

Elaine is the CEO of an SME, Nine Health Community Interest Company (CIC) , she set up to accelerate technology uptake within health and related sectors for public and patient benefit. NHCIC is part of the NHS family as a data safe haven for clinical research. 

Elaine is a Fellow at The Royal Society of Medicine and Research Fellow, University of Sheffield. Formerly Clinical Research Lead at the NHS IC she has many years experience in the public, commercial and third sectors Elaine is an expert in clinical informatics and technology development, research and evaluation and intelligence for health and related sectors. 

As the Nine Health Director for the EU VPH-share big data programme she is responsible for flowing national UK data throughout Europe, a project saving lives by building supercomputer models (avatars) to identify those at risk of developing disease eg heart and brain problems and speeding up the delivery of new clinical treatments. 

Elaine is an experienced NHS mentor and is an Alumni of the Goldman Sachs 10 K small business programme at the Business School.

Gary Tully - Head of Business Development, Brathay Trust

Gary is Head of Business Development at Brathay Trust, a charity headquartered in the Lake District. This role focuses on the strategy to drive income that supports the Trusts’ charitable work. Previous to Brathay, Gary worked in the Corporate environment for 35 years at organisations such as IBM, SAP, Wipro, and Unit4 Business Software. His areas of focus have predominately been Consulting and Business Development. He has led a  number of teams and held executive positions in IBM, responsible for elements of their Consulting portfolio across Europe. He was also a core member of a key global community of practice that captured best practice and deployed enhanced capability globally. More recently he has held a number of roles in organisations where he focused on developing new markets for companies.

Gary has a degree in Engineering Science and Management, and coaches a local kids football team.

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Andy Vaughan - Independent Chairman

Since leading the management buyout and subsequent IPO of Workplace Technologies plc in the late 1990's, Andy has been Chairman of a series of Private Equity backed businesses in a wide variety of market sectors. Specialising in either high growth or turnaround, Andy’s Chairman roles have included the employment law, H&S, and ISO business, Citation, the employee engagement business, Reward Gateway, the analytical CRM business, ClarityBlue, the environmental consulting business, Enviros, the vehicle management business, Nexus, and the pan-European SAP resourcing business, Red Commerce.

Andy is currently Chairman of Bristow & Sutor, AE Graphics, and Makeitcheaper. and is also a Non-Executive Director of CitNOW.

Despite a stated commitment never to repeat working in any specific market sector, there are some common themes here. Businesses that are either growing or struggling often require specific help with the people, and Andy has actively sought situations where his skills in building strong management teams, coaching, mentoring, performance management, and recruitment can be exploited.

Keen to point out that every situation encountered is different, and requires a unique approach, Andy has now acted as CEO, Chairman, or NXD on 14 Private Equity backed businesses over the last 25 years.

Neil W. Warner - Non Exececutive Director

After graduating with a 1st in Economics, Neil decided to qualify as an accountant, primarily to then be able to travel and work overseas.

Neil qualified as a Chartered Accountant with PwC in Leeds and then worked in Brazil for eight years. During this time he travelled extensively in Latin America.

Upon returning to the UK, Neil worked in a variety of sectors, from film distribution with Paramount and Universal, to logistics (with what is now DHL), eventually becoming CFO of Chloride Group plc, an international FTSE 250 precision electronics and back up power business (now Emerson Network Systems in the USA) .

Since the sale of Chloride, Neil has been a Non-Executive director of various companies in Pharmaceuticals, Industrial design and manufacturing and Technology sectors.

Neil played rugby for Leeds first XV and continues his interest in this and many other sports.

Jim Webster - (Retired), Former Business Group Director

For the last 20 years Jim Webster has been Business Group Director of Spectris plc – the £1.2 billion+ revenue London Stock Exchange listed instrumentation and controls company, responsible for six of the largest companies in the Spectris Group, including those in the Materials Analysis and Test & Measurement Divisions and the latest acquisition – Omega Engineering. He was also responsible for the Asia Pacific and Latin America corporate teams. He was a member of the main Board of Spectris since joining in 1993 when the business was one tenth of its present size. 

Prior to this Jim held a number of senior management positions in the Electronics Division of Raychem Corporation, the California based materials science company. He holds a B.Sc.(Hons.) in Metallurgy from the University of Leeds. 

Jim retired from the Spectris Board at the end of June in order to pursue Non-Executive opportunities. During his career Jim has been responsible for the functions of international sales and marketing, product management, manufacturing operations, finance and general management. His experience has been with technology based products and services, sold globally in a wide range of end user markets, most notably automotive, aerospace, rail & mass transit, life sciences, metals, chemicals, consumer electronics and telecommunications. 

Mark J Williams - CEO, Global Lingo

Mark Williams is Chief Executive Officer of Global Lingo Ltd, one of the fastest growing Language Service Providers in Europe and a recognised leader in fluent communication. Mark is an expert in devising international go-to-market strategies for service businesses and, with over 20-years of senior management experience, he has gained a reputation for generating profitable growth both organically and through successful acquisition in EMEA, Asia Pacific and North America.

Prior to Global Lingo, Mark led a start-up company in Luxembourg, where he lived and worked for four-years, after spending 19 years working for what is now Donnelley Financial Solutions. At Donnelley, Mark ran the International businesses for the financial services group which included the global language services division.  

Mark has experience working for large corporations, start-ups, and medium sized enterprises as well as spending some time consulting. 

He has a MA in Asia Pacific Studies from the University of Leeds.

Phil Wilson - Entrepreneur

Phil is a serial entrepreneur who has started, built and sold two successful technology businesses. As CEO of Virtual Jigsaw Ltd, he’s worked as a Venture Catalyst assisting the creation and development of numerous successful entrepreneurial ventures.

In the last few years, Phil has mainly worked in the not-for-profit sector helping charities and projects explore questions of “What now?” and “What next?” His current passion is for Social Enterprise, seeking the holy grail of significant social impact with a self-sustaining income model. In 2013, Phil joined with the Cinnamon Network as an Advisor focussing on Social Enterprise.