Culture Secretary appoints new Gambling Commissioners
John Whittingdale has appointed Sarika Patel, John Baillie and Catharine Seddon for five years and Simone Pennie and Stephen Cohen for four years.
Sarika Patel is a business leader with over 25 years blending of public, private organisational experience. She is a qualified Chartered account and also a graduate in law.
Sarika’s experience includes leading large multi-sited teams, corporate development and finance, acquiring, integrating and developing businesses as well as company restructuring and turnaround.
Sarika is a partner at Zeus Capital leading cross-border transactions focused on infrastructure, real estate and technology sectors. Sarika has served on a number of public and private sector boards and is currently vice chair of Centrepoint. She is also a Trustee of the Royal Institution where she chairs the audit committee. She is on the Board of Imperial Healthcare Trust where she is a member of the audit, risk and governance committee and the remuneration committee.
John Baillie is a Chartered Accountant and former partner of a Big Four firm.
He is immediate past Chair of the Accounts Commission for Scotland, the local authority watchdog. He was also Chair of Audit Scotland, the Scottish Government-sponsored independent public sector audit organisation.
He served for nine years as a Member of the Reporting Panel of the Competition and Markets Authority.
John is a visiting professor of accountancy at the University of Edinburgh Business School.
He is also a Trustee of a charity, The ICAS Foundation, that sponsors young people from disadvantaged communities to pursue a university degree in accounting or finance.
After many years as a film documentary maker for BBC TV and then as an independent producer for Channel 4, Catharine Seddon began working for the judiciary in 2002. She now sits on tribunals in the jurisdictions of Social Security, Employment and Mental Health; she is a presiding magistrate in the City of Westminster and she sits as a Lay Assessor under the Equality Act in county court cases. Her national public appointments include Audit and Risk Assurance Committee Chair and member of the Human Tissue Authority and member of the Determinations Panel of The Pensions Regulator. A former member of the independent appeals committee for the Human Fertilisation and Embryology Authority, she is also a trustee for the London Centre for Children with Cerebral Palsy.
Having qualified as a chartered accountant in 1991, Simone spent 18 months with KPMG in Toronto before joining P&O Nedlloyd in 1994. She subsequently joined BBC Worldwide in 1996 and became Finance Director of BBC World News in 2005.
Since 2011 Simone has maintained a portfolio career including Chair of the Audit Committee and Non Executive Director for Wye Valley NHS Trust, Independent Risk & Audit Committee member for Ofcom, Governor for Westonbirt Schools and Independent member of the inaugural Audit & Assurance Board for the National Police Chiefs Council.
Stephen Cohen has worked in the financial industry for over 35 years in London, New York and Tokyo. He has managed large institutional portfolios as well as fund management businesses. He has set up multiple new businesses and restructured old ones; he has worked on industry panels proposing changes to regulators and responding to regulators policy proposals. He has served on multiple boards and has focussed latterly on governance and engagement including being CEO of an activist asset manager. He is a member of the Health and Care Professions Council, has chaired a financial technology business and acted as Advisor to the UK’s leading independent technology research business. He was a Trustee of the Beacon Charitable Trust for ten years, gaining wide experience of best practice in the Third Sector.
Mr Cohen has declared a political donation to the Conservative party within the last 5 years.