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65 of the most influential business figures in the Cotswolds

PUBLISHED: 13:54 25 February 2019 | UPDATED: 17:27 04 November 2020

Top row (L-R): Lady Bathurst, Giles Cross, Sir David McMurtry; middle row (L-R): Dr Diane Savory OBE & David Owen, Alex Caccia; bottom row (L-R): Chris Morling, Nick Grey, Julian Dunkerton

Top row (L-R): Lady Bathurst, Giles Cross, Sir David McMurtry; middle row (L-R): Dr Diane Savory OBE & David Owen, Alex Caccia; bottom row (L-R): Chris Morling, Nick Grey, Julian Dunkerton


From the creators of driverless cars to wealth managers, global inventors to sporting legends, who are the Cotswolds’ movers and shakers? Here’s our guide to the 65 most influential business people in our region. Did you make the cut?

John Workman

BPE Solicitors LLP

John is the Senior Partner at Cheltenham-based BPE, where he has worked for 22 years. In 2005 he led a management buy-out of the practice. A keen long-distance cyclist, in 2016 he cycled 1,000 miles through France and Spain to raise money for the Footprints Foundation.


Frank Bachmann

BMW Cowley

Mechanical engineer Frank started as a trainee at BMW in Bavaria before moving to the car manufacturer’s operations in the US and South Africa, via China and Mexico. He took up the Plant Director’s post at Cowley in the autumn of 2012 and now heads up Mini production in the UK.


The Rt Hon Lord Bamford


Chairman and managing director of global plant manufacturer JCB - a position he took over from his father at the age of 30 in 1975 - Lord Bamford lives on the 2,000-acre Daylesford estate near Kingham, Oxfordshire, with his wife Carole. A Tory party donor, the billionaire led the 12,500-employee firm to a record £3.3bn turnover in 2017 and has an obsession with vintage Ferraris.


Stewart Barnes


Cheltenham-based QuoLux runs high-performance leadership programmes for senior executives to grow businesses across the region, including MBAs thanks to a groundbreaking partnership with the University of Gloucestershire. Managing Director Stewart launched QuoLux in 2011 following a 10-year career on the board of the multi-national HansenGroup.


Peter Bungard

Gloucestershire County Council

Peter, a Chartered Engineer, has been Chief Executive of Gloucestershire County Council since 2005 and oversees its 3,145 staff and a £420m budget.


David Carter

Warwickshire County Council

David is Warwickshire County Council’s joint Managing Director with Monica Fogarty, and also Strategic Director. With a legal background, he directs the Resources Group, which encompasses customer service, finance, HR and organisational development, information assets, law and governance, physical assets and performance.


Anne Dawson

University of Gloucestershire

Anne is head of the Media School at the University of Gloucestershire, one of the highest-rated in the UK. She spent 20 years at the coal face as a TV and radio journalist before moving into academia.


The Rt Hon The Lord Patten of Barnes

University of Oxford

Chris Patten, the last Governor of Hong Kong, was elected Chancellor of the University of Oxford in 2003 and has held high-profile positions including Environment Secretary in the Thatcher Government and Chairman of the BBC Trust. Louise Richardson is the university’s Vice-Chancellor.


Matthew Burgess

Gloucestershire College

Matthew was appointed Principal and CEO of Gloucestershire College in 2013, when it was rated Outstanding by Ofsted. There are 14,000 full and part-time students taking courses there from GCSEs to vocational qualifications and apprenticeships.


Andrew Croft

St James’s Place

Andrew was appointed CEO of the Cheltenham-based wealth management company in January 2018. He joined the company in 1993 and was CFO until 2017. He is a Trustee of the St James’s Place Charitable Foundation and a lay member of the Audit & Risk Committee and Finance & Investment Committee of the Royal College of Surgeons.


Julian Dunkerton

Lucky Onion Group

Founder of global super-brand Superdry, Julian is in control of the Cotswolds-based hotel group he set up, The Lucky Onion, which owns No 131, No 38 The Park and a series of gastro pubs across the Cotswolds. He lives in an £11m house on the outskirts of Cheltenham and is in the top 15 of the Sunday Times Rich List with a fortune of £366m - kick-started by sending a Superdry jacket to David Beckham in the hope he would wear it. He did.


Lady Bathurst

Cirencester Park

Lady B, as she’s affectionately known, is a devoted champion of the emergency services and a passionate supporter of prisons, she is renowned for her commitment to and influence over the region’s farming community. She lives at Cirencester Park.


Alex Caccia

Animal Dynamics

Serial entrepreneur Alex is CEO of Animal Dynamics, a company he launched with Prof Adrian Thomas. The Oxford-based firm designs super-efficient vehicles inspired by the deep study of evolutionary biomechanics. It is working with the Ministry of Defence on its Stork project - an autonomous paraglider designed to deliver munitions and supplies to troops safely on the front line.


Giles Cross


Folk2Folk, the award-winning lending platform for local and rural businesses, appointed Giles Cross as Chief Executive Officer at the beginning of 2018. He joined the lender in June 2017 and has been instrumental in defining brand, driving awareness and boosting sales. Folk2Folk has branches in Tewkesbury as well as Somerset, Cornwall and Yorkshire.


Sarah Dunning


Former London headhunter Sarah now heads up Gloucester Services for the Westmorland Group, the independent motorway services company, of which she is Chair. An OBE, she works closely with her sister Jane to ensure the connection between farm and business remains strong as Gloucester Services continues to change the way travellers see motorway rest breaks and becomes a shopping destination in its own right.


Sir James Dyson


Inventor and industrial designer Sir James is the founder of the Dyson company, best known for inventing the dual cyclone bagless vacuum cleaner. The group is now working on a £2bn electric car project. Married to Deirdre Hindmarsh, billionaire Sir James has a fortune estimated at £7.4bn and lives in Dodington Park, an 18th century pile in Gloucestershire.


John Hitchcox


Billionaire loft apartment developer John Hitchcox dreamed up the idea for the Cotswolds’ luxury second homes development Lakes by Yoo with designer Philippe Starck, whom he met 20 years ago. He is Chairman of parent company Yoo, which is the largest residential design and development brand in the world, working in 34 countries.


Monica Fogarty

Warwickshire County Council

Joint Chief Executive with David Carter, Monica is responsible for the Communities Group, which brings together the units responsible for education and learning localities, community safety, public health & transport and economy. She was educated at Trinity College, Dublin and was appointed Strategic Director for Communities in 2011 before she took the top job.


William Kozyra

TI Fluid Systems

William, also known as Bill, has been Chief Executive Officer and President at TI Fluid Systems in Oxford since June 2008. The company develops, manufactures and supplies automotive fluid storage and employs 23,000 employees in 29 countries.


Prof David Green

University of Worcester

Professor Green has been the university’s executive head since 2003, accountable to the Board of Governors for the strategic leadership, performance and management of the university. He succeeded former Vice-Chancellor Dorma Urwin, and two years after his appointment, he led Worcester through successful applications for the full university title.


Mike Lowe

Cotswold Life

Editor of Cotswold Life, Mike’s background was in regional newspapers, latterly as Editor of the Bristol Evening Post, the then biggest-selling evening paper in the South West. He moved to media company Archant in 2007 to take the helm of flagship title Cotswold Life.


Dr Dawn Harper


Dr Dawn has transformed the health of millions of TV viewers through her controversial, award-winning Channel 4 series Embarrassing Bodies and Born Naughty? A private practitioner in Harley Street, she also works as an NHS doctor in Gloucestershire. She is the author of several Dr Dawn’s Guide To health books.


Stephen Marston

University of Gloucestershire

Stephen, Vice-Chancellor of the University of Gloucestershire since 2011, has been instrumental in driving the team behind Gloucestershire 2050 - an ambitious new vision for Gloucestershire which could see a new super-city created out of Gloucester and Cheltenham, and a new river crossing at Sharpness.


Darryl Eales

Solihull Moors

Darryl, ex-Chairman of Oxford United FC, was Chief Executive of Lloyds Development Capital, which bought adult training provider Learndirect from the Government in 2011. He moved from the US last year and has invested heavily in the National League club.


Eve Jardine-Young

Cheltenham Ladies’ College

Principal of Cheltenham Ladies’ College, Eve oversees the academic and pastoral welfare of 850 girls. Founded in 1853, the illustrious boarding school charges fees of £37,000-a-year and its alumni include financier Nicola Horlick, actor Kristin Scott Thomas and several notable politicians.


Liv Garfield

Severn Trent Water

The former Chief Executive of Openreach, a BT Group business, Liv became the Chief Executive of Midlands water company Severn Trent in 2014. With one-time ambitions to be a Blue Peter presenter, the Cambridge graduate worked at the British Consulate in Brussels after university. She spearheaded the £2.5bn rollout of fibre broadband while she was at BT. Last year, she was named Veuve Clicquot Business Woman of the Year.


Deborah Lee

Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust

One of the Top 50 Inspirational Women in Healthcare according to the Health Service Journal, Deborah originally trained as a registered nurse before gaining an MBA from Bristol Business School and taking the Chief Executive’s job at Gloucestershire Hospitals NHS Trust.


Nick Grey


Worcestershire entrepreneur Nick Grey - a lab technician at Vax - launched Gtech from his garage in 2001 and, backed by a vigorous marketing campaign, his cordless lightweight vacuum cleaner has now swept the Warndon company to a £120m turnover. The firm also makes floor sweepers, grass trimmers and bikes. He is worth £95m.


Simone Mann

Commercial Group

Simone is the Director and Co-Founder of Cheltenham-based Commercial Group. Ex-Milfield, she has grown the group - one of the largest independent suppliers of office products and services in the UK, to a £40m operation. Passionate about the environment and social value, she has plans to grow the business to £70m by 2020.


Suzannah Harvey

Cotswold Airport

Former model Suzannah is the CEO and Group Managing Director at Cotswold Airport in Kemble, the former home of the Red Arrows. It’s Europe’s number one airliner recycling and salvage facility.


Sir David McMurtry


Dubliner Sir David has recently stepped down from his role as Chief Executive at Renishaw, the £600m global matriculation company he founded in Wotton-under-Edge in Gloucestershire in 1973, though he remains as Executive Chairman. A prolific inventor, he has named on 47 patents at Rolls Royce and 150 at Renishaw.


Jeremy Fleming


After an early career in the private sector, Jeremy joined MI5 where he became Assistant Director in 2011 and Deputy Director-General in 2013. He replaced Robert Hanigan as Director of the Government Communications Headquarters, GCHQ, in Cheltenham last spring.


David Keene


David Keene founded Coventry-based Aurrigo is a world-leader in first and last mile autonomous technology. Aurrigo’s PodZero pods are already changing the way we transport people on the last stage of their journeys, from transport hubs to a wide range of destinations. A fleet of these four-man, 15mph, zero carbon driverless pods is currently being trialled in Milton Keynes.


Ian George

Cheltenham Festivals

Ian is Director of Festivals at the internationally-renowned Cheltenham Festivals, which plough millions into the Gloucestershire economy every year. He joined the company in 2005, following its split from Cheltenham Borough Council, and in 2009 was appointed Director of Cheltenham Jazz Festival.


William Lee


Will stepped into the considerable shoes of Renishaw founder Sir David McMurtry in February last year when he took on the Chief Executive role at the global matriculation company. He joined the Wotton-under-Edge firm in 1996 and has a degree in physics from Oxford University and an MBA from Bath.


Rod Hansen

Gloucestershire Constabulary

Rod joined Gloucestershire Constabulary as Deputy Chief Constable in 2013 and, four years later, was appointed to the top job. He started his career at Avon and Somerset Constabulary and is a child protection expert and hostage negotiator and the chief adviser to JTFHQ - the military Joint Task Force Headquarters.


Russell Marchant

University of Hartpury

Russell joined Hartpury College in 2012 and oversaw its transition to university status. He is now Vice-Chancellor, Principal and CEO of one of the most dynamic seats of learning in the agricultural, equine, sport and veterinary nursing fields.


Liz Hazeldene

Kohler Mira

Liz joined the Mira Showers team in Cheltenham in 2014 after 12 years as Business Director for Rada - the commercial arm of Kohler Mira. She is now the company’s Managing Director, defining and delivering strategies that will drive growth at the £131m firm.


Ella Mills

Deliciously Ella

One of the UK’s most influential food bloggers, Ella - daughter of former Witney MP Shaun Woodward - has changed the way the nation eats. Vegetarian, wheat and refined-sugar free, she started on her healthy eating mission when she fell ill with a debilitating illness. She grew up at Sarsden House in Chipping Norton.


Chris Morling


Serial entrepreneur Chris founded money.co.uk’s parent company Dot Zinc Ltd at the height of the dot com bust in 2000. Thanks to his shrewd eye for business and innovation, the Cirencester-based price comparison website - famed for its Laurence Llewelyn-Bowen-designed castle HQ - was targeted by Zoopla in a £140m buy-out deal. He is Director at young people’s empowerment organisation The Big Choice Group.


Dr Gill Rouse

Charity founder

Haematologist Dr Rouse founded Gloucestershire cancer charity LINC in 1988 with the late Dr Robert Dalton. Today, the charity still transforms thousands of patients lives every year as they undergo debilitating chemotherapy at the county’s hospitals.


Dr Andy Palmer

Aston Martin

Chartered engineer Andy is the CEO of Aston Martin, a position he took up in 2014 following an illustrious career at Nissan. Born in Stratford-on-Avon, he now lives in Silverstone and was last year awarded the prestigious Eurostar Award for Superluxury CEO by the editors of Automotive News Europe. He hit the headlines in 2013 for allegedly calling the Toyota 86 and Subaru BRZ “midlife crisis cars”.


Denys Shortt OBE


Former England international hockey player Denys founded Oxfordshire-based health, beauty and household distribution group DCS in 1994, aged just 29. The company now has sales of £212m and 350 employees. It is the official UK sales and distribution company for P&G, Unilever, Colgate, PZ Cussons and SC Johnson.


Prof Joanna Price

Royal Agricultural University

Prof Price is Vice Chancellor of the illustrious Royal Agricultural University in Cirencester. Formerly of Bristol Veterinary School, she’s an animal pathologist specialist and is dedicated to animal charities including Horses4Homes.


Prof Adrian Thomas

Animal Dynamics

Adrian Thomas is Professor of Biomechanics at Oxford University’s zoology department, where he founded and runs the animal flight research group. A British paragliding champion, he founded Animal Dymanics with Alex Caccia and the company develops autonomous vehicles based on the study of evolutionary biomechanics, from bird flight to the way dragonflies hover and fish swim. It is currently working with the MoD to develop crucial last-mile technology on the battlefield.


Dame Fiona Reynolds

Academic & author

Dame Fiona is Master of Emmanuel College in Cambridge, but spends her down time at the family home in Cirencester. She was the first female Director General for the National Trust and has turned her hand to writing, penning The Fight For Beauty - a call to protect Britain’s countryside.


Stephen Vaughan

Gloucester Rugby Club

Ex-Club 18-30 rep and former professional footballer Stephen discovered his talent for leadership at Thomas Cook, where he ended his highly successful career there as Managing Director of the London 2012 Olympics. He is now Chief Executive at Kingsholm.


Prof Paul Newman


Prof Paul Newman co-founded Oxbotica, the UK’s leading autonomous vehicle software company, with Ingmar Posner in 2014. The company’s pioneering, platform agnostic technology is being integrated on multiple domains from airports and warehouses to farms and mines. Prof Newman is Principal Investigator at the University of Oxford’s Oxford Robotics Institute.


JK Rowling


JK was born in the Forest of Dean and has transformed the reading habits of generations of children with her Harry Potter books. She has a net worth of £700m thanks to her critically-acclaimed film Fantastic Beasts and spin-off stage show, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child. Famously left-wing, she is a long-time critic of Jeremy Corbyn.


Nigel Portwood

Oxford University Press

Nigel, the former Chief Financial Officer at Penguin, now heads up Oxford University Press. A department of the University of Oxford, its origins date back to 1478 and it further’s the university’s objectives of excellence in research, scholarship and education by publishing academic texts worldwide.


Richard Smith

Yamazaki Mazak

Richard is European Group MD for global engineering company Mazak, based in Worcester. With an MBA from Warwick University, he took on the role in April last year and is responsible for Mazak’s European and UK Operations - a company he joined in 1987 as a Graduate Production Engineer. The firm has almost 8,000 staff worldwide.


Matthew Rawnsley

Worcestershire County Cricket Club

Matthew took the Chief Executive’s job at WCCC at the beginning of the year, following the departure of Tom Scott. Since his appointment, the former England spin bowler has brought vast commercial and cricketing experience to the role following 15 years in high-performance sales and marketing roles.


Nigel Tipple


Nigel joined OxLEP in 2013 and made his mark with energetic and inspirational leadership. Chair of the organisation, he spearheaded the bid of the Oxford and Oxfordshire City Deal, the EU Structural and Investment Fund and Strategic Economic Plan submissions and is helping the county’s businesses through a period of exceptional growth.


Paul Robinson

Worcestershire County Council

Paul was appointed Chief Executive of Worcestershire County Council last December, replacing Steve Stewart. He was previously Chief Executive of Derby City Council, a role he had held since 2015. He has worked in local government for more than 30 years.


Dale Vince OBE


Former New Age Traveller Dale - who left school at 15 to join a hippie commune and live in an old fire engine - is a green energy industrialist, founding Stroud-based Ecotricity, the UK’s biggest green energy supplier. Now a multimillionaire, he owns Forest Green Rovers FC. He is worth £107m.


David Owen

GFirst LEP

David is Chief Executive of GFirst LEP, one of the most successful Local Enterprise Partnerships in the UK. He is also a Non-Executive Director of the South West Investment Group and training and development company, Gloucestershire Enterprise Ltd.


Dr Diane Savory OBE

GFirst LEP

Diane is the Chair of GFirst LEP and represents Gloucestershire as part of the Future High Streets Forum with the High Streets Minister. Awarded an OBE in 2013 for her work with GFirst, she was one of Gloucestershire’s Deputy Lord Lieutenants in 2015.


Prof Ingmar Posner


Prof Posner, an Associate Professor in Information Engineering at the University of Oxford, founded Oxford-based Oxbotica with Prof Paul Newman in 2014. The autonomous software company has developed its control system, Selenium, which enables driverless cars to understand their environment, and Caesium, its cloud-based fleet management system which coordinates fleets of autonomous vehicles.


Mark Stansfield


In additional to being Chair of the Worcestershire Local Enterprise Partnership, LEP, Mark is Chairman of giffgaff, the fastest-growing mobile network in the UK and digital consultant to a number of start-ups.


Ian Renton

Cheltenham Racecourse

Ian is Regional Director for the South West at Jockey Club Racecourses and oversees the operation at Cheltenham, including this month’s Festival, which brings in more than £100m to the Gloucestershire economy. He is also in charge of Wincanton, Warwick and Exeter and took Cheltenham through its £45m redevelopment programme in 2015. Racing is in his blood. His grandfather trained the 1050 Grand National winner Freebooter.


Dame Janet Trotter


Kent-born Dame Janet, a former Lord Lieutenant of Gloucestershire, helped found the University of Gloucestershire in 2001 and became its first Vice-Chancellor in the same year. She was appointed OBE in 1991, has honorary doctorates from universities across Europe and is a Lay Member of the Chapter of Gloucester Cathedral.


Nicholas Rogers

Jaguar Land Rover

Former engineering apprentice Nicholas is the Executive Director of Product Engineering at Jaguar Land Rover in Gaydon. Born in Wallingford, Oxfordshire, he leads a team of thousands at the company he joined more than 30 years ago.


Steve Wadey

QinetiQ, Malvern

Steve was appointed to the board of defence technology company QinetiQ in 2015. A fellow of the Institution of Engineering, he is CEO of the Malvern agency, an organisation he came to from his position as Managing Director MBDA UK, a missiles systems business with 3,000 staff an and £800m turnover.

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