Membership

Current board members.

Nicola Foulston

Nicky is CEO of the City Law Firm Rosenblatt Solicitors. She was named Veuve Cliquot Businesswoman of the Year in 1997 when she was Chief Executive of Brands Hatch Leisure plc – she was, and remains, the awards youngest ever recipient. Nicky became Chief Executive of Brands Hatch in early 1990 when the business was valued at £6 million and built it into the largest organiser and promoter of motor sport in Europe. In 1996, she floated the business on the London Stock Exchange; and in 1999, she sold the business for over $195 million to Interpublic, the US marketing giant.

Nicky has since run a private family office with private equity investments in the USA and Europe. She was originally appointed to the Industrial Development Advisory Board in 2014.

Sybella Stanley

Sybella Stanley is Director of Corporate Finance at RELX Group plc where she manages RELX’s global mergers and acquisitions programmes. Before joining RELX in 1997, Sybella was a member of the mergers and acquisitions advisory teams at successively Citigroup and Barings. Sybella is also a non-executive director of Tate & Lyle plc and The Merchant’s Trust plc and is a member of the Somerville College Oxford Development Board.

Hugh Brown

Hugh Brown is currently a Senior Advisor to Adam Street Advisors. Prior to this he was the UK Senior Advsior to Anchorage Capital, a $13 billion hedge fund based in London and New York. Hugh was also previously Global head of PWC Corporate Finance and has also led their corporate restructuring and debt advisory practices. Hugh has advised on many mergers and acquisitions transactions and has 30 years’ experience in advising government, corporate and venture capital organisations.

Gillian Wilmot

Gillian Wilmot is an experienced Chairman and Non-Executive Director following an executive career as a Marketing Director then a CEO. She was recognised for governance excellence in the 2014 Sunday Times Non-Executive Director Awards. Gillian runs Board Mentoring which works with CEOs and directors of leading UK and international companies. She was appointed to the Industrial Development Advisory Board in 2012 and is on 4 other boards from energy to retail, leisure and technology. Gillian is Chair of SportsCoach UK and is committed to bringing more under-represented groups into coaching.

Vikas Shah

Vikas Shah is Managing Director of Swiscot Group, a Manchester based textiles and commodities trading firm, with operations worldwide. He is also Visiting Professor of Entrepreneurship with MIT Sloan on their European MBA programme. Vikas has built businesses in diverse sectors around the world for almost 20 years, and is also a consultant and advisor to many entrepreneurs, and organisations globally. He is President of the North West region chapter of TiE (the world’s largest entrepreneurs network), and a respected speaker and commentator on entrepreneurship, business, and social issues. Vikas is an advisor to many civic and community groups, and is a trustee of Mustard Tree, Executive Patron of the Manchester Cancer Research Centre, and a member of the University of Manchester General Assembly.

Kevin Taylor

Kevin Taylor is Managing Director of BAE Systems Applied Intelligence, the Cyber Division of BAE Systems plc. He has previously been the Group Strategy Director as well as the Managing Director of the Military Air Business, and of the Submarines Business. He is a Chartered Engineer and a Fellow of the Institute of Engineering and Technology, having graduated from Oxford with a physics degree.

John Drake

John Drake is Chief Commercial Counsel for Bird and Bird LLP, where he is in charge of several change programmes, having been Chief Operating Officer for 7 years until 2015. A qualified barrister, most of John’s career was in industry both in Asia and the UK mostly as CEO in operational engineering and service provision businesses undertaking major change in telecoms, electronics and transportation sectors.

Mark Bryant

Mark Bryant is a senior member of the Business Growth Fund plc and also brings 30 years of experience in manufacturing and industry roles such as the Managing Director / CEO of Pressurements Ltd, Druck Holdings plc, M&H Plastics Ltd and Commercial Director at General Electric. Mark has also sold a number of companies that he has successfully led as well as integrated bolt-on acquisitions.