Our directors

The Main Board is responsible to the shareholders for the success of the Group and for its overall strategic direction and governance.

At least half the Main Board, excluding the Chairman, is comprised of Non-Executive Directors who are independent - they are free from any business or other relationships which could materially interfere with or appear to affect the exercise of their judgement and have not been previously involved in the management of the Group.​

Robert Walker

Chairman of the board and Chairman of the Nomination Committee

Appointed to the Board on 9 February 2012.

Robert, 72, spent over 30 years with Procter & Gamble, McKinsey and, finally, PepsiCo, where he was responsible for the company’s beverage operations in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia. He is currently Chairman of Travis Perkins Plc and Eagle TopCo Limited. He was previously Chairman of W H Smith Plc, Williams Lea Group Limited, BCA Europe Limited and Americana International Holdings Limited. He was also Group Chief Executive of Severn Trent Plc and has held a number of FTSE100/250 Board appointments with BAA, Severn Trent, Signet Group, Thomson Travel and Wolseley.

Simon Townsend

Chief Executive Officer

Appointed to the Board on 1 October 2000 and to CEO on 6 February 2014.

Simon, 55, joined the Company in February 1999, and was appointed to the Board in October 2000 and appointed as Chief Executive Officer on 6th February 2014. He has worked in the pub and leisure industry for over 20 years in various sales, marketing, commercial and operational roles, previously with Whitbread PLC, Allied Domecq PLC, Rank Group Plc and Marston, Thompson & Evershed PLC. He is currently Vice Chairman of the BBPA.

Neil Smith

Chief Financial Officer

Appointed to the Board on 20 January 2011.

Neil, 52, a chartered accountant, joined the Company in January 2011. He was previously finance director of Compass Group UK & Ireland and Chief Financial Officer of Telewest Global Inc. He has held senior finance positions with Virgin Media and Somerfield plc.

David Maloney

Non-Executive Director

Appointed to the Board on 10 July 2008.

David, 62, is currently Chairman of Reed & Mackay Travel Ltd, Brandon Hire Ltd and Stock Spirits Group PLC. He previously held non-executive directorships at Cineworld plc, Carillion plc, Micro Focus International plc and Virgin Mobile plc and was Chairman of Reed & Mackay Travel Ltd and Hoseasons Holidays Ltd. His executive roles have included those as Chief Financial Officer of Le Meridien Hotels and Resorts, Thomson Travel Group and Preussag Airlines and Group Finance Director of Avis Europe plc. He is a fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants and is also Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Make-A-Wish Foundation.

Peter Baguley

Independent Non-Executive Director Chairman of the Remuneration Committee

Appointed to the Board on 31 January 2013.

Peter, 64, is an independent consultant providing strategic property advice to retailers and private equity companies. Peter has held a number of senior management positions in the UK retail sector with a strong focus upon property. He was the leader of the Group property functions at both J Sainsbury plc and Boots Plc and was Director of Investor Relations at Boots plc and a non-executive director at Atrium European Real Estate, a company listed in Amsterdam.

Adam Fowle

Senior Independent Director

Appointed to the Board on 6 February 2014.

Adam, 58, has over 20 years’ licensed retail experience. He is currently occupying the role of Chief Executive at Tesco Hospitality. He was previously Chairman of Bramwell Pub Company and prior to that Chief Executive Officer of Mitchells & Butler plc. and retail director at Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited. Adam has also held senior positions at Bass Leisure.

Marisa Cassoni

Independent Non-Executive Director Chairman of the Audit Committee

Appointed to the Board on 1 April 2015.

Marisa Cassoni, 65, is a qualified ICAEW chartered accountant and finance professional with 40 years of experience. She was previously Finance Director of the UK Division of Prudential Group. Between 2001 and 2006 she was Finance Director of the Post Office (subsequently Royal Mail), and between 2006 and 2012 she was Finance Director of the John Lewis Partnership. Ms. Cassoni is currently a Non-Executive Director of AO World plc, Skipton Group Holdings Limited and The People’s Operator plc, where she chairs the Audit Committees; she also sat on the Economics Affairs Committee of the CBI and is currently a panel member of the Competition and Markets Authority.