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

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 Eagle TopCo Limited. He was previously Chairman of Travis Perkins plc, WH 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 FTSE 100/250 Board appointments with Tate & Lyle, BAA, Severn Trent, Signet Group, Thomson Travel and Wolseley.

Simon Townsend

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, was appointed to the Board in October 2000 and appointed as Chief Executive Officer on 6 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, The Rank Group Plc and Marston, Thompson & Evershed PLC. He is currently Vice Chairman of the BBPA.

Neil Smith

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.

Adam Fowle

Adam Fowle

Senior Independent Director

Appointed to the Board on 6 February 2014.

Adam, 58, has over 25 years’ licensed retail experience. He was previously occupying the role of Chief Executive at Tesco Hospitality and prior to that held roles including Chairman of Bramwell Pub Company, Chief Executive Officer of Mitchells & Butlers plc and retail director at Sainsbury’s Supermarkets Limited. Adam has also held senior positions at Bass Leisure.

Marisa Cassoni

Marisa Cassoni

Independent Non-Executive Director
Chair of the Audit Committee

Appointed to the Board on 1 April 2015.

Marisa, 65, is a chartered accountant and finance professional with over 40 years of experience. She was previously Finance Director of the UK Division of Prudential Group, the Post Office (subsequently Royal Mail), and the John Lewis Partnership. Marisa 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.

Peter Baguley

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. He 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, was Director of Investor Relations at Boots plc and a non-executive director at Atrium European Real Estate, a company listed in Amsterdam.

Jane Bednall

Jane Bednall

Independent Non-Executive Director

Appointed to the Board on 2 July 2018.

Jane, 50, is a currently Chief Marketing Officer for SSE plc and has previously held senior marketing positions with Intercontinental Hotels Group, British Gas and British Airways. Until June 2018  Jane served as a Non-Executive Director of Smart Energy GB, the body responsible for engagement in smart metering for domestic and commercial customers.