Meet our advisory boards.
Alongside our trustees, Pennies is supported by our three Advisory Boards, who volunteer their time and expertise for free.
Retail and Services.
The Retail and Services Advisory Board – made up of industry leaders from across high-street retail and e-commerce – plays an important role in helping Pennies reach more businesses, consumers, and ultimately raise more vital funds for charity.
Matt Atkinson (Chair)
Matt spent over a decade working for Tesco where he was on the board and executive committee working across the group, and most recently the executive and board of the Co-op group, where he spent four years, re-building and re-launching the brand, building new e-commerce offerings, new businesses, and modernising the core capabilities and relaunch membership. He is currently the Non-Executive Chair of UNiDAYS, the global student reward and education platform with 19 million registered members. He is non-executive board advisor to Silverfleet capital, Advisor to Neurone health a bootstrapped start-up in the smart wellness market. He is non-executive director of Co-op Insurance.
CEO, JD Outdoor & Managing Director, Black’s Outdoor Retail Group
Lee is the Chief Executive of JD Outdoor, this is the Outdoor Division of the JD Sports Fashion PLC Group, it includes Iconic Brands like Blacks & Millets as well as the largest outdoor retailer in the UK, GO Outdoors. Lee is passionate about the outdoors, he is also a non-executive Director for the Midlands Air Ambulance Trading charity and the Outdoor Industry Association. Lee started his career in the family furniture business and has previously held senior positions in several Blue Chip retailers including Wickes, B&Q & Bensons Beds.
CEO and Co-Founder,
Ted is the CEO and Co-Founder of Freddie’s Flowers, Europe’s leading subscription based D2C flower business. Established in 2014 Freddie’s now has over 170k customers across the UK and Germany with plans for further international expansion underway. Before Freddie’s Flowers, Ted was the FD and later the CEO of Abel & Cole and prior to this he spent 8 years working in private equity for 3i plc and CBPE. He started his working career as a graduate trainee with Unilever plc.
Group Chief Commercial Officer,
Ed joined Currys (previously named Dixons Carphone) in May 2020, having gained over twenty years of commercial experience in the retail industry from several leading household names like John Lewis, Tesco, and Kingfisher. At Dixons Carphone, Ed is responsible for Purchasing, Sourcing and Stock Control, Marketing, Services, Credit and our own mobile network, iD.
Before joining Dixons Carphone, Ed was Group Strategy Director & Director of Ventures at the John Lewis Partnership where he launched a number of innovative, digital and customer-focussed propositions. He also held various other senior commercial leadership roles at John Lewis including that of Commercial Director on the JL Management Board and, before that, Buying Director of both the Fashion & Beauty and the Electricals & Home Technology trading divisions.
Helen Dickinson OBE
Chief Executive Office,
British Retail Consortium
Helen leads the team and sets the strategic direction of the BRC. She joined in January 2013 and has been working with retailers for over 25 years. In 2016 she was awarded an OBE for Services to Retail. Helen is passionate about diversity and inclusion in retail; supporting more flexibility in jobs, particularly at senior levels; and supporting the Everywoman Retail Ambassadors Programme. She was previously the Chair of Working Chance, a charity helping women offenders find employment, and UK Head of Retail at KPMG.
Group Chief Financial Officer,
The Very Group
Ben Fletcher joined The Very Group as Chief Financial Officer in January 2020 and leads the 150-strong finance team. He was previously UK and European president at Clarks Shoes and Managing Director of Boots Opticians. Prior to joining Clarks, Ben was at Walgreens Boots Alliance for six years. Between 1999 and 2011, Ben held several senior finance positions at Procter & Gamble worldwide before joining Boots and progressing to the role of Finance Director. Ben is a Trustee of the National Literacy Trust, a Non-Executive Director of the British Retail Consortium, and chairs the St John’s Foundation in Bath.
Co-Founder & Executive Chair,
Before co-founding tails.com in 2013, James spent 7 years as Head of Operations for innocent drinks after having begun his career with Unilever. As CEO of tails.com, James led the business for nearly 10 years as they became the world’s leading personalised pet nutrition brand keeping dogs healthy and owners happy in 9 countries across Europe. In 2023, after a successful 5-year phased acquisition by Nestlé, James transitioned to the Chair role to continue supporting tails.com in realising it’s vision of changing the world of pet food for good.
Believe in Science
Anthony Fletcher is the founder of Believe in Science. A scientific R&D business that has worked out how to make a doughnut which tastes like Krispy Kreme but has as many calories as a glass of milk. Before that he was the CEO graze helping it to become the UK’s number one healthy snack brand acquired by leading global consumer group Unilever in 2019. Previously, Anthony held various roles at the smoothie business Innocent Drinks. He was originally a scientist conducting research into cancer treatments at Oxford and Princeton Universities.
Chief Executive Officer,
Born in Dublin, Ryan McDonnell graduated from University College Dublin in 1998 with a Bachelor’s degree in Business Studies and German. Upon leaving education, Ryan joined the family business within the construction industry before embarking on a Graduate Programme at Lidl Ireland in 2000 as Trainee Buyer. Shortly after, Ryan was posted to the Lidl International Headquarters in Germany to continue his development, followed by a further period of training at Lidl Austria. Ryan then returned to Lidl Ireland in 2001 to coordinate the set up of the Commercial division within the business, establishing the Buying and Marketing functions that still exist today. Five years later, in 2006, Ryan joined the Board when he was promoted to Chief Commercial Officer at Lidl Ireland and continued in that capacity before he joined Lidl GB as Chief Commercial Officer in September 2015. In August 2021, Ryan was promoted to the newly-formed position of Deputy CEO for Lidl GB before taking on overall responsibility for the British business as CEO from February 2022, succeeding Christian Härtnagel, who returned to his native Germany. In his role as CEO, Ryan is responsible for a store portfolio of over 960 stores, 14 regional distribution centres and over 31,000 colleagues across England, Scotland and Wales.
The MBS Group
Elliott is Managing Partner at The MBS Group, an executive search firm focusing on consumer facing industries. He specialises in NED, CEO, MD and senior functional roles across private and public companies globally. He started his career with Boston Consulting Group (BCG), before becoming CEO of a luxury cosmetics brand and CEO of a respected fashion label. He holds a first-class degree with honours in Geography from Brasenose College, Oxford, and an MBA from the University of Chicago. Elliott also currently serves as a trustee for a number of charities.
Co-Founder and CEO,
The Pets Table
Laurent is Co-Founder and CEO at The Pets Table, a personalised dog food service designed to keep pets healthy and their parents happy. Laurent was previously CEO at HelloFresh UK and spent almost 10 years at BCG where he supported many grocery and DIY retailers across the globe. He also spent a year seconded to Save the Children International supporting projects within their programming countries.
Chief Executive Officer,
Seb joined Well as CEO in July 2019; Well, is the largest independently owned pharmacy in the UK and 3rd largest overall. Prior to Well, Seb worked for the world’s largest diamond jewellery retailer, Signet Jewelers, as UK Managing Director before being promoted to President & Chief Customer Officer and relocating to the USA. Seb spent most of his early career with apparel retail conglomerate, Storehouse then more latterly with outdoor goods specialist Blacks Leisure Group as Commercial Director. While in the US, Seb was an active Board member of two charities, Jewelers for Children and Diamond Empowerment Fund, serving on their respective Executive Committees.
Travis Perkins plc
James is Managing Director of Travis Perkins, one of the largest multi-channel DIY and Trade retailers with over 600 branches across the UK, Benelux and France. He sits on the group leadership team of Travis Perkins PLC and is a passionate supporter of their Diversity and Inclusion networks. James has been in retail for over 24 years and has extensive international experience of multi-channel and digital expansions. He previously served on the board of Screwfix as Commercial & Digital Director and held a number of senior positions in Kingfisher including General Manager – Kingfisher Asia and Trading Director at B&Q. Prior to Kingfisher he held a number of senior positions at Sainsbury’s across operations, commercial and supply chain.
Dobbies Garden Centres
David is Chief Executive Officer at Dobbies Garden Centres, the biggest garden centre operator in the United Kingdom. Prior to joining Dobbies, David was Chief Operating Officer at Pets at Home for over four years and has amassed a wealth of experience in senior roles, with blue-chip retailers such as Dixons Stores Group, Homebase and latterly Argos. At Argos, David was Chief Operating Officer and was part of the team that led Argos’ successful digital transformation.
Director of Co-op Growth,
Jerome is the Formerly Chief Executive Officer at Wilko, he first joined Wilko as the Transformation Director in 2018 transitioning to Managing Director of wilko.com before his tenure CEO. With 20+ years’ experience in retail across Europe, US and Asia from strategy definition to implementation and full business transformation. Jerome previously held roles at Tesco and Morrisons and was a senior principal at the Boston Consulting Group.
Partner – Retail Sector,
Don has over 25 years of experience of advising clients in the retail sector, initially as an Audit Partner and National Head of Sector at BDO. His clients are, predominantly, private (family) or private equity owned and focused on managed growth to maximise shareholder value. Don joined KPMG in late 2014 and continues his focus on the retail sector with a view to building on the existing strength of the firm’s retail franchise and leveraging existing experience and services that are currently employed effectively with other sectors.
CEO of Retail,
N Brown Group
Sarah joined N Brown Group in April 2020 as CEO of Retail, having spent almost 17 years at Oasis as Managing Director. She has almost 30 years of Retail and Brand Experience across the UK high street, working across multiple formats – digital, wholesale, franchise and multichannel. Whilst at N Brown, Sarah has led her teams to create a more compelling, refreshed product and customer proposition for the three main investment brands within the group portfolio – Simply Be, Jacamo and JD Williams – by creating clearly defined brand perspectives attracting audiences who are traditionally underserved. Currently living in Manchester, Sarah divides her time between the North of England and the Capital.
Hospitality and Leisure.
Our Hospitality and Leisure Advisory Board – made up of industry leaders from across restaurants, pubs and hospitality – plays an important role in helping Pennies reach more businesses, consumers, and ultimately raise more vital funds for charity.
Andy Wood (Chair)
Chief Executive Officer,
Andy is the Chief Executive Officer of Adnams. Andy joined Adnams in 1994, and joined the Board in 2000 as Sales and Marketing Director becoming Managing Director in 2006 and Chief Executive in 2010. He has a DBA from Cranfield University and Honorary doctorates; in Business, Science and Civil Law. He was awarded an OBE in the Queen’s Birthday Honours 2013 and between 2014 to 2016 was HRH The Prince of Wales’ Ambassador for Responsible business in the East of England. In 2010 Andy founded and was Chairman of the New Anglia Local Enterprise Partnership. He is Non-Executive Chairman of SGWM a wealth management company operating throughout East Anglia and a Non-Executive Director of The Hotel Folk and Roys (Wroxham) Ltd. Andy is a Governor of Norwich School, a Board Member to the VisitEngland Advisory Board and is Chairman of Visit East of England.
Chief Executive Officer – UK &
Colin Hill is the CEO of Nando’s for the UK & Ireland, joining the business in 2019. Before joining the brand famous for its spicy flame-grilled chicken, he was Managing Director at All About Food, an FMCG company specialising in bringing favourite restaurant brands into the retail sector and prior to that extensive retail experience with Asda Walmart, Tesco, and J Sainsbury. Since joining Nando’s, Colin has concentrated on evolving an already successful business , with a particular focus on technology and bringing about new and innovate ways to bring PERi-PERi to an ever more environmentally and flexitarian conscious generation of consumers.
CEO – Marketplace,
Adam Jay is the Chief Executive Officer, Marketplace at Vinted, an online marketplace for buying, selling and exchanging new or secondhand items, mainly clothing and accessories. Adam’s previous roles include President & Co-Lead Marketing, across Expedia Group’s portfolio of global travel brands as well as President of Hotels.com (also Expedia Group), a brand which he joined in February 2012. From 2007 until 2012, he served as VP of Strategy and Global Transformation at Travelport plc, a Blackstone owned travel software provider. Prior to that, he led Product for Avis Europe plc (now Avis Budget Group) and spent a number of years at Boston Consulting Group. Jay serves on the board of Checkatrade.com, a UK-based subsidiary of Homeserve plc. He is also a Non-Executive Director for Despegar, LATAM’s largest travel intermediary listed on NASDAQ. He has an MBA from INSEAD and studied Politics, Philosophy and Economics at Oxford University.
Helen is a Portfolio Non–Executive Director having left executive life and her role on the Board of the Caffè Nero Group in 2017. Prior to that she was Managing Director for Zizzi Restaurants but before moving into the Hospitality sector, Helen worked for Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream and is credited with successfully launching the brand in the UK and Europe during her 15 years with the company. In 2011, she joined their Independent Board of Directors, based in Vermont USA. Helen is the SID at the Halfords Group plc, a NED at Premier Foods plc and Chair of the Remuneration Committee at both Fuller, Smith & Turner plc and Virgin Wines. She also Chairs the board of Toast Ale.
Chief Executive Officer,
RedCat Pub Company
Richard is the Chief Executive Officer of RedCat Pub Company and joined in October 2023. Richard was previously the Chief Operating Officer at SSP, leading 40,000 team members at the company’s c. 1,700 pubs, restaurants and hotels. Prior to this, Richard held a number of different leadership positions at Greene King over the eight years at the company, including Group Property Director, and Group Integration Director, where he led the integration of the Greene King and the acquired Spirit business in 2017, as well as various MD roles within the business. Richard also has significant international experience, having worked for seven years in New Zealand and managed a Sourcing Office in China. Richard was COO of the Warehouse, New Zealand’s largest non-food retail group, where he contributed to the modernisation and turnaround of the business and opened Australasia’s first hypermarkets. Before that, he held a variety of operational and commercial roles at both Sainsbury’s and Woolworths in the UK.
Chief Executive Officer,
Paula is the Chief Executive Officer at PizzaExpress, a British multinational restaurant group with over 470 restaurants across the United Kingdom and 100 overseas. Her previous roles include Managing Director of KFC in the UK & Ireland, parent company YUM! brands incl. one of the world’s largest restaurant companies with over 50,000 restaurants in more than 145 countries. Paula lead the £1.5bn brand in the UK together with the c1000 restaurants, 35 Franchise Partners and 30,000 members that made up team KFC. Paula reported directly to the KFC Global CEO and was a member of the Global KFC Leadership Team. Paula has over 20 years in the experience of transforming Food & Drinks businesses by unlocking the power of brands- in both a left brained & right brained way- from Strategy, to Execution, from Brand Building to Spending Smartly. Paula has worked for some of the worlds most recognised & valued brands, at both global, regional and local levels within renowned companies like Diageo, GSK, innocent, Ernst & Young, before the last 10 years at KFC and most recently, PizzaExpress.
Kate Nicholls OBE
Chief Executive Officer,
Kate is CEO of UKHospitality, the powerful voice representing the broad hospitality sector, having previously worked as CEO and Strategic Affairs Director of the ALMR. In July 2019, Kate was appointed Chair of the Tourism Alliance, the membership organisation for the tourism industry. Kate is also Chair of Mayor of London’s Night Time Commission, and a member of the Events Industry Board, London Food Board, Tourism Industry Council, Cultural Cities Enquiry, London & Partners Members Group and the Advisory Board for the Institute for Industrial Strategy.
Managing Director – Local Pubs,
Clair has extensive operational and commercial leadership gained in large scale businesses. After graduating, Clair’s early career was in retail with Boots in a variety of operational leadership roles. In 2003, she moved to Costa Coffee where she rose through a series of operational leadership roles in both the owned and franchised operation, culminating in the role of Chief Operating Officer for the UK where she was accountable for UK operations, property and business change across 1,100 stores. In 2016 she was appointed Managing Director for Costa in the Middle East and Asia, responsible for driving significant expansion and growth in the region. She renegotiated key franchise partnerships and launched both a new store proposition and digital loyalty schemes in market. Clair joined Greene King in 2020 as Managing Director for Local Pubs where she manages 632 pubs split into 4 separate operating brands.
Managing Director – Pubs, Shepherd Neame
Jonathon is the current Managing Director – Pubs at Shepherd Neame. Prior to this, roles include Managing Director – Venues at the Rank Group and Fuller, Smith and Turner PLC, where he was Managing Director of its premium pub and hotel arm. Having joined the company in 2005, he was appointed as Operations Director for Fuller’s Inns in 2007 and subsequently to the main Board in 2012. Jonathon has previously held positions at Carlton Communications PLC, Molson Coors and Bass Ltd. He graduated from The University of Leeds with a degree in Geography and holds a graduate master’s degree in marketing. He is an alumnus of both IMD and Columbia Business Schools.
Chief Customer Officer,
Katy joined Southern Water as Chief Customer Officer in August 2021. Previously she was Chief Customer and Strategy Officer at FTSE 250 international passenger transport business, Go-Ahead. Katy’s responsibilities included commercial development, customer experience, corporate affairs, innovation, strategy and sustainability. Prior to Go-Ahead, Katy held director-level roles in financial services and hospitality including at Kroll, VTB Bank and IG Group, leading change programmes in digital, retailing, reputation, commercial development and customer culture. Katy is the Non-Executive Director of England’s largest housing and care provider Anchor Hanover and is an advisor to Zipabout, the digital transport messaging service. She is also a founding member of the Business in the Community Place initiative.
The Racecourse Association
Wilf is Chair of the Racecourse Association and a Director of the British Horse Racing Authority. He was previously CEO of Carpetright plc before becoming Chair of the Group business, Nestware Holdings. Prior to that he was Chair of Fortuna Entertainment Group as well as being with the Gala Coral Group for fifteen years as Managing Director and a Non-Executive Director. He graduated in Law at the University of Leeds.
Former Chief International Operating Officer, Papa John’s International
Liz Williams is Former Chief International Operating Officer for Papa John’s International. She led the strategic direction to drive store and sales growth across 48 countries. Liz was with Papa Johns for 4 years serving as SVP for Major Markets (23 Markets) after 18 months as the Managing Director for the UK business. With more than 20 years of experience in the food industry, Liz has worked with both start-up and established restaurant brands throughout her successful career. Before joining Papa John’s, Liz was a restaurant consultant focusing on brand development for casual dining brands. Liz‘s broad experience also includes spending six years as Director General Manager of Loch Fyne Restaurants after being the Managing Director of The Real Greek, along with 12 years at Pizza Hut UK.
Pennies is also supported by a Payments Advisory Board, made up of members of the payments, technology and financial services communities, who volunteer their time and expertise for free.
Peter Ayliffe (Chair)
Peter’s last Non-Executive Director role was as Deputy Chair of the Coventry, the UK’s second largest Building Society. He has also been President of the Chartered Management Institute (CMI), a Board Director of Investors In People (UK) and Chair of Monitise and truRating. His Executive career was spent almost entirely in Retail Banking and Payments. Peter was President & CEO of Visa Europe and prior to that was a Group Board Director of Lloyds TSB with responsibility for the Retail Bank.
A veteran of the payments Industry with over 40 years’ experience Roger is now active as a serial NED and Advisor to a variety of businesses across the Payments Value Chain. Roger spent over 30 years at Barclays Bank initially in the IT department and subsequently in Barclaycard where he drove a significant amount of innovation including the introduction of pos terminals in the UK in the mid 1980s. Since leaving Barclaycard he was CEO of Switch Card Services (the UK’s original Debit Card) and President/CEO of Elavon Merchant Services in Europe.
Global Head of Strategy and Market Development, Ingenico
Ian Benn is Global Head of Strategy and Market Development for Terminals, Solutions and Services at Ingenico, a Worldline brand. Formerly COO of FIS in Europe, Middle East and Africa and previously CMO at Misys, Ian has spent his career in the join between financial services and technology. He is the author or “Strategic Outsourcing: exploiting the Skills of Third Parties” and, most recently, “Write to Win”. In addition to being an advisor to the Pennies Foundation, he’s also an advisor for tech start-up, Obsidian Solutions.
UK & I CIO,
Jon, CIO for Compass Group, the world’s largest catering company (FTSE20) is responsible for digital, data and technology change and operations across 5,000 operating units within the UK&I. Formally, he was at McDonald’s where he held the roles of Senior Director, Global Technology Delivery, responsible for implementing digital solutions in over 6,500 restaurants in McDonald’s International Lead Markets, and UK&I CIO responsible for the technology in over 1,400 restaurants. Prior to this, Jon spent four years as CIO at Gala Retail and Interactive and has over 20 years senior management experience in legal, media, financial services, government and consulting sectors.
From cash and cards to alternative payment solutions, Gregor has always been driven by innovation and the desire to discover the next big thing. Gregor has a career spanning more than 17 years in payments, beginning his career at NCR, before joining De La Rue in 2005. In 2014 Gregor joined Vocalink’s Card Transaction Services business, and in 2017 he was appointed to the role of UK Managing Director, where under Gregor’s leadership, the UK business has delivered on its commitments to customers and expanded beyond its core product and services.
Head of Payments,
Simon has extensive experience in the Payments industry, with expertise in strategic change programmes, cash management sales, operations and product management. In his current role as Head of Payments for NatWest Group, Simon is responsible for setting the Group’s Payments strategy including, Product and Scheme management, Operations and Innovation. Prior to this role Simon was Head of Design and Franchise Delivery leading teams to deliver transformational change to meet alternative State Aid remedies.
Mark is the Vice President for EMEA at Oracle Food and Beverage. He has been with Oracle for 12 years and is member of the Global Leadership Team. As the Sales VP for EMEA, his job primarily entails running direct & indirect business across this region. Prior to Oracle Mark has carried out various roles across the industry and been involved in a number of M&A activities. Mark persistently challenges the status quo to ensure both the business and customers stay current.
VP, Head of Northern Europe, Databricks
Michael brings more than 20+ years of IT experience in driving growth, building and developing teams, and nurturing some of Europe’s top brands to truly innovate and deliver success for both their customers and employees. Michael joined Databricks in 2022 as VP, Head of Northern Europe. Previously he spent 10 years at Salesforce where he lead the Retail, Consumer Goods and Travel, Transport and Hospitality sales teams to land transformative and industry game-changing projects across Sales, Service, Operations and Marketing.
Coventry Building Society
Steve Hughes is currently Chief Executive of Coventry Building Society and is a qualified Management accountant with over 20 years’ experience in senior and board level roles within financial services and consumer goods sectors. Prior to joining Coventry, Steve had been Chief Executive and Group Finance Director of Principality Building Society, and the Finance Director of the Lloyds Banking Group General Insurance businesses. Steve is passionate about leadership, has a strong belief in the benefit of the mutual model and is positive about the role responsible business can have on society as well as supporting colleagues be the best they can be.
The Payments Association
Marion King has extensive experience across the financial services industry. She joined RBS in January 2015 from MasterCard where she was the President of the UK & Ireland markets. There she was responsible for growing the business and creating a world beyond cash through an innovative approach to everyday Payments, including emerging technologies such as contactless and mobile. Marion worked closely with both the European Council and the European Payments Council throughout her time at MasterCard. Prior to joining MasterCard, Marion was the CEO of VocaLink and held international and global leadership roles in Reuters.
Managing Director for Payments and Innovation, UK Finance
Jana is an experienced executive with a particular focus on competition and regulatory policy, having worked across a number of public and private sectors in several markets. She influences payments regulation across the UK and Europe, leading discussions on strategic industry and regulatory policy initiatives and, has commercial credentials delivering and implementing these policies in practice. Jana is skilled at relationship building, holding several board positions and working with a number of charities.
A leader in the payments industry, Ian is currently Operations Director at Pollinate, a software business focused on payments and financial services. He joined from Optomany where he was Group CCO. Prior to Optomany, Ian was CEO of leading mPoS solution provider MiuraSystems and has also served as Chief Product Officer at Worldpay UK, where he was responsible for setting the strategy for propositions and marketing for all payment services. He is an expert in innovation within payments, including the latest developments in omnichannel solutions, contactless and emerging payments.
General Manager Enterprise for EMEA, Worldpay from FIS
In his role as General Manager Enterprise for EMEA, Pete is responsible for leading Worldpay from FIS’ work with some of the world’s largest and best known brands, enabling them to take reliable and secure payments in store and online, whilst also helping them grow by entering new markets and innovate to serve their customers in new ways. Pete joined Worldpay in 2011 and has deep knowledge of the global payments landscape, with over 20 years of commercial experience within the finance and payments industry, having also held senior roles at Lloyds Cardnet and Barclaycard. He is committed to fostering an inclusive and diverse team, and is a valued coach and mentor in the industry, sitting on a number of Boards within the FIS group of companies.
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