Board of Directors
Stephen is Chairman of The Garden Centre Group and leads the Board.
Stephen was Group CEO of The Virgin Group from 2005-2011, having succeeded the Founder, Sir Richard Branson. He oversaw the worldwide interests of Virgin Group and was responsible for global strategy.
Stephen is currently also Non Executive Chairman of Jumeirah Group, the international hospitality company, Chairman of The Learning Clinic, a UK medical technology business, a Non-Executive Director of Ren Ren Inc, China's leading real name social network company and a Non-Executive Director of The Business Growth Fund, a £2.5bn UK investment fund supporting small and medium sized UK enterprises. He is also an Advisory Partner at Ashcombe Advisers LLP, a specialist corporate finance and advisory business.
He has previously worked for Mars, Burton Group, Ford Motors and Unilever plc.
Chief Executive Officer
Kevin most recently served as Managing Director of Avis UK and was additionally responsible for technology across Avis Europe Plc. As a member of the Avis Executive Board, he oversaw a significant turnaround of the UK operating business and undertook a transformation of the European technology organisation prior to the sale of Avis Europe in October 2011.
Previously, Kevin served as Managing Director of the Enterprise Information Division at Reuters Plc and grew a number of businesses supplying financial data to the world's leading institutional financial services companies.
Kevin started his career at the Kalchas Group, a firm of strategy consultants founded as a spin off from McKinsey and Bain & Company.
Chief Financial Officer
Prior to joining The Garden Centre Group, Nils was a Finance Director at Terra Firma Capital Partners. He joined Terra Firma in 2003 as Financial Controller with a remit to align the financial management and reporting standards across the portfolio businesses. Nils has worked closely with several Terra Firma portfolio businesses including Deutsche Annington, AWAS and Phoenix Natural Gas.
Prior to Terra Firma, Nils spent 11 years with General Electric Co. (USA) in a wide range of finance roles across various divisions of the company, including 5 years in businesses where General Electric was a minority shareholder.
Retail Operations Director
As Retail Operations Director, Colin heads the Garden Centre and Retail Ops teams within The Garden Centre Group, with overall responsibility for retail and operating standards, levels of customer service as well as the motivation and engagement of its 5000+ employees.
Before joining the Group, Colin most recently worked as an independent consultant providing interim operational and commercial cover as well as due diligence support to a range of businesses and private equity clients. He has previously held numerous retail operational roles for Marks & Spencer, Pret a Manger and EAT, and has also served as a Non-Executive Director for a number of growing retail businesses. In his role as Retail Operations Director at both Pret a Manger and EAT, he was responsible for opening over 150 new sites throughout the UK. Prior to this at Marks & Spencer Colin led several Board sponsored initiatives on customer service in stores and led store teams across the UK and Ireland in delivering a cultural change programme.
Colin is a graduate of The Queens University of Belfast and also holds an Executive MBA (prize winning) from Cranfield School of Management. He is a Fellow of The Chartered Management Institute and a graduate CIPD member.
Food & Beverage Director
Jason has spent over a quarter of a century working in the catering & leisure industry, after a decade cooking with Roux Brothers he drove the offer in a number of restaurants such as Café Rouge, Livebait, Dome, Bertorelli's, Chez Gerard, Slug & Lettuce and Scott's to name a few.
Prior to joining The Garden Centre Group, Jason's roles have included Director of Food at the Spirit group where he put pub food firmly on the map, which became a significant growth driver both for their 3,000 pubs and for the rest of the industry.
Jason later joined M&S and picked up a number of accolades for hospitality in M&S heading up over 100 restaurants and casual dining outlets and over 300 coffee shops in UK and over 60 global operations. Jason was also responsible for the rolling out of around 50 new deli counters adding theatre in their food halls as well as revitalising their in-store bakery operation, bringing a new award-winning design concept to over 450 stores in under 18 months stealing significant market growth.
As Trading Director, Dan is responsible for the buying, supply chain and merchandising teams who manage products sold within our garden centres.
Before joining the Group, Dan worked for Clicks Group, Southern Africa's largest retail and wholesale group with a primary focus on the health and beauty sector. He was Head of Healthcare, responsible for overall healthcare industry strategy and relationships as well as £350m of healthcare products and services offered in over 440 stores, 330 pharmacies and 125 full-time primary healthcare clinics. Dan was also Head of Business Development creating new subsidiary businesses, one which focused on sourcing and marketing own label prescription and over the counter medication.
Prior to working at Clicks, Dan spent a number of years at McKinsey & Company in London where his main focus was advising on strategic and transformational change across a broad range of consumer and retail industries.
Frank is Commercial Director and is responsible for leading the concessions strategy of the business.
Frank was previously CEO and Commercial Director of Betts Group, a private equity backed global packaging manufacturer supplying the major FMCG companies. He led a restructuring of the business and its key customer relationships, which dramatically improved its profitability and cash position, enabling a refinancing and the successful sale of the business.
Prior to this, Frank was Managing Director of Spirit Food, the pub and restaurant division of Spirit Group. Before joining Spirit Group, Frank spent 13 years at Yum! Brands (previously PepsiCo Restaurants) in various international supply chain and general management roles including five years as General Manager of Yum!'s businesses in Spain and France. Frank started his career at Bain & Company, the leading firm of strategy consultants.
As Marketing Director, Sarah is responsible for The Garden Centre Group's marketing, including our 'Gardening Club' loyalty programme, customer insight, online activity and customer services.
Before joining the Group, Sarah was Head of Marketing Communications for Waitrose, where she was responsible for brand strategy, through-the-line communications, loyalty, publications and customer events.
Prior to Waitrose, Sarah held the position of Director of Marketing & Insight for AIRMILES at British Airways Group. Previously, Sarah spent five years at Telewest (now Virgin Media) in various marketing and product management roles. Sarah started her career at Procter & Gamble in their Health & Beauty Care division in a variety of senior marketing and brand management roles.
Human Resources Director
As Human Resources Director, Sarah heads the human resources, training and talent functions of The Garden Centre Group, with overall responsibility for managing the attraction, retention, motivation and development of its 5000 employees.
Before joining the Group, Sarah most recently worked as an independent consultant providing interim HR cover and strategic HR projects support to a range of businesses. Previously, Sarah worked for the Virgin Group. In her initial role as HR Manager for Virgin Active, she was responsible for putting in place the HR infrastructure in the early years of the company's growth. Subsequently as Head of People for Virgin Management, Sarah led teams responsible for delivering business partnering services to Virgin Management and Virgin's smaller operating businesses, as well as managing key relationships and cross-group projects with HR teams across the Virgin Group.
Lorenzo is an Operational Managing Director at Terra Firma Capital Partners. Since joining Terra Firma in 2002 he has been involved in a number of the group's investments including Phoenix Group, AWAS, Tank & Rast, RTR and Odeon Cinemas.
Prior to joining the group his career ranged from sales management and corporate development roles for companies such as IBM and Nortel Networks to strategy work for management consultants Bain & Co.
He has a BSc in Electrical Engineering and a BSc in Economics from MIT as well as an MBA from Harvard.
Julie is a Financial Managing Director at Terra Firma Capital Partners Limited, adviser to the Terra Firma shareholders and currently focuses on the hospitality and leisure sectors. She led the team advising on Terra Firma's investment in The Garden Centre Group. She also led the team advising on the investment in Tank & Rast, another Terra Firma investment and was responsible for its refinancing in 2006 and the partial exit in 2007. Julie currently also sits on the Board of Odeon & UCI Cinemas Holdings Limited.
Prior to joining Terra Firma in 1998, Julie worked for Nomura International plc where she headed the legal team that provided legal risk analysis and transaction execution support to the group. Prior to that, she was a partner in the Banking department of the law firm Winthrop & Weinstine.
Rupert Gavin was the CEO of Odeon & UCI Cinemas, owned by Terra Firma. Prior to joining Odeon he held senior positions at the BBC, BT and Dixons.
As a keen gardener and as the former publisher of Gardeners' World Magazine and many popular gardening books, Rupert brings a personal enthusiasm and knowledge which will be a further significant contribution.