Our Group Board

John Connolly

John Connolly, Non-executive director/chairman of the board

Non-executive director/Chairman of the board

Appointed: June 2012

Committee membership: Nomination Committee (chair) and Risk Committee

Skills and experience:A chartered accountant with extensive experience working in a global business environment and in sectors with strategic relevance to the Group.

Career experience:Spent his career until May 2011 with global professional services firm Deloitte, was Global Managing Director and then Global Chairman between 2007 and 2011. He was Senior Partner and CEO of the UK Partnership from 1999 until his retirement from the firm.

Current external commitments: Chairman of a number of private companies.

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Ashley Almanza

Ashley Almanza, chief executive officer

Chief executive officer

Appointed: May 2013

Committee membership: Risk Committee

Skills and experience: Extensive board and executive management experience in complex international businesses. Holds an MBA from the London Business School.

Career experience: Senior executive roles at BG Group from 1993 to 2012, including CFO from 2002 to 2011 and Executive Vice President from 2009 to 2012, during which time he led BG Group’s UK, European and Central Asian businesses and the group’s commercial strategy in Central Asia. Formerly non-executive director (chair of Risk and Audit) of Schroders plc between 2011 and 2016 and Noble Corporation Inc between 2013 and 2018. He previously served as Chairman of the Hundred Group and was a member of the Advisory Board for the Oxford University Centre on Business Taxation.

Current external commitments: Chairman of the International Security Ligue.

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Michel van der Bel

Michel van der Bel, Non-Executive Director

Non-executive director

Appointed: May 2020


Skills and experience: MBA from Henley Business School. Extensive executive and senior international management experience in technology working in different cultures across the globe. Bringing leadership, culture and technology changes together for successful digital transformation.

Career experience: Served a 20 year career with Microsoft, during which he held a number of senior management positions before serving as Microsoft’s Chief Operating Officer in the Greater China Region, then taking on the role of CEO of Microsoft UK and for the 4 years, leading Microsoft EMEA. Earlier in his career, Michel spent seven years with Getronics.

Current external commitments: Employed by Microsoft.

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Clare Chapman

Clare Chapman, Non-executive Director

Non-Executive Director

Appointed: September 2019

Committee membership: Remuneration Committee (chair)

Skills and experience: Clare has international expertise from a series of high-profile leadership roles and through her mix of executive and non-executive experience and in private and public sectors, Clare has become an influential voice nationally and internationally on work, governance, remuneration and business transformation.

Career experience: Prior to becoming a NED, Clare was the Group People Director at BT. She began her career in fast moving consumer goods with Quaker Oats and PepsiCo in the UK, USA and mainland Europe. She was then appointed as the Group HR Director for Tesco. Between 2007 and 2011 Clare was the Director General of Workforce for the NHS and Social Care covering a workforce of over 2.2 million people.

Current external commitments: Non-Executive Director at the Weir Group and at Heidrick & Struggles, chair of the Advisory, Conciliation and Arbitration Service (Acas) Council, Co-Chair of The Purposeful Company (Task Force established in 2015 with the support of the Bank of England). Clare is also a Low Pay Commissioner representing business and a Trustee of the Lambeth Partners supporting the Archbishop of Canterbury.

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Elisabeth Floriet

Elisabeth Fleuriot, Non-executive director

Non-executive director

Appointed: June 2018

Committee membership: CSR Committee (chair) and Remuneration Committee

Skills and experience: BA in Economy, Finance and Marketing and an MA in Economic Sciences from the Institut d’Etudes Politiques de Paris. Awarded the title of Chevalier de L’Ordre national de la Légion d’honneur.

Career experience: Over 20 years’ experience as President and CEO in FMCG multinational companies based in Europe, the USA and Asia. Served as CEO of Thai Union Europe & Africa between 2013 and 2017. Prior to this, she spent 12 years with the Kellogg Company, in various roles including Regional President and Senior Vice President Emerging Markets. Earlier in her career she was General Manager, Europe for Yoplait, having spent the first 18 years of her career with the Danone group.

Current external commitments: Non-executive director of Stora Enso Oyj,a company listed on the Helsinki and Stockholm stock exchanges, board member of a private company investing in foodtech start ups and board member of Fondation Caritas.

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Adine Grate


Non-executive director

Appointed: July 2020

Committee membership: AUDIT COMMITTEE  and RISK COMMITTEE

Skills and experience: A highly experienced board director, in both non-executive and executive roles, with more than 25 years of experience in international business, with a primary sectoral interest over the years in TMT and financial services where-in she has had a particular focus on technological and business innovation and has been involved both in the development and implementation of transformative corporate plans and the successful completion of large M&A.

Career experience: A long and distinguished career with Investor AB (the leading owner of Nordic-based international companies controlled by the Wallenberg family) where she was an executive vice president and a director of the Executive Board, with a broad portfolio of senior responsibilities including heading corporate finance, corporate governance, equity capital markets, public affairs, strategy and co-managing the portfolio of listed investments.

Recent board directorships have included roles as non-executive director of Sky Plc (the leading listed media company in Europe until its acquisition by Comcast) between 2013 and 2018, Sampo Plc (the largest listed financial holding group in the Nordic region) between 2011 to 2019,  Swedish Orphan Biovitrum AB (an international biopharmaceutical company) between 2010 and 2016, director of Three Group (a major telecom group belonging to the Hong Kong conglomerate CK Hutchison Holdings) between 2001- 2019  and of AP7, the Swedish state-owned investment fund where she was Vice Chairman between 2011 and 2019.

Current external commitments: Senior advisor to CK Hutchison Holdings, a Council Member of the Swedish Chamber Commerce in the UK, director of a small number of private companies and runs her own business advisory company.


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Steve Mogford

Steve Mogford, Non-executive/Senior Independent director

Non-executive director/Senior independent director

Appointed: May 2016

Committee membership: Audit Committee, Nomination Committee and Risk Committee (Chair)

Skills and experience: First Class BSc Honours Degree in Astrophysics, Maths and Physics from Queen Elizabeth College, University of London. Extensive experience of delivery of complex programmes in the defence, infrastructure and utilities market. 

Career experience: Served a 30-year career with British Aerospace, later BAE Systems, during which time he held several senior management positions before becoming COO, with particular responsibility for programmes, major projects and customer support, and a member of the BAE Systems plc board. Chief executive of SELEX Galileo for four years prior to joining United Utilities Group plc in 2011 as CEO.

Current external commitments: CEO of United Utilities Group plc.

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John Ramsay

John Ramsay, non-executive director

Non-executive director

Appointed: January 2018

Committee membership: Audit Committee (chair)CSR Committee and Risk Committee

Skills and experience: A chartered accountant with extensive international experience in innovation-focused businesses.

Career experience: Began his career at KPMG and developed his experience in emerging markets, working in Malaysia, Hong Kong and Latin America for the manufacturer ICI. In 1993 was appointed Finance Head, Asia Pacific for Zeneca Agrochemicals and later promoted to Global Financial Controller. In 2000 he joined Syngenta AG, as Group Financial Controller, later being promoted to CFO until his retirement in 2016. Whilst at Syngenta he also served as interim CEO for nine months.

Current external commitments: Member of the Supervisory Board of Koninkijke DSM N.V and a non-executive director of RHI Magnesita N.V. and Croda International plc.

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Barbara Thoralfsson

Barbara Thoralfsson, Non-executive director

Non-executive director

Appointed: July 2016

Committee membership: Nomination Committee and Remuneration Committee

Skills and experience: MBA in marketing and finance, Columbia University, New York and a BA in psychology, Duke University, North Carolina. International executive with experience using technology to meet customers’ needs and develop new business models. Strong knowledge of North America, Latin America and Scandinavia.

Career and experience: After an early career in marketing in North America, held senior management roles in the consumer goods and telecommunications sectors including CEO of NetCom ASA, Norway’s second largest mobile network operator. Extensive board experience with global companies including several international technology companies.

Current external commitments: Non-executive director of Svenska Cellulosa Aktiebolaget SCA (publ), Essity Aktiebolag (publ) and Hilti AG.

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Tim Weller

Tim Weller, chief financial officer

Chief financial officer

Appointed: October 2016 having previously served as non-executive director since April 2013.

Committee membership: Risk Committee

Skills and experience: BSc (Hons) Engineering Science degree from the University of Exeter. An accountant by training and a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales with significant experience of the energy and utilities sectors.

Career experience: Joined KPMG in 1985, rising to partnership in 1997 before joining Granada plc as director of financial control. Held CFO positions with Innogy, a leading integrated energy company at the time, RWE Thames Water and United Utilities Group plc. Was CFO of Cable & Wireless Worldwide plc between 2010 and 2011 and CFO of Petrofac Limited between 2011 and October 2016.

Current external commitments: Non‑executive director of the Carbon Trust.

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board culture

Creating and maintaining an effective board culture is vital to ensuring good decision making, healthy debate and challenge and also to set the tone for the rest of the organisation.

selection process

A key element of the selection process for each new board member is to assess whether a particular candidate will bring the right level of challenge, independence and openness. The result is a board where members are both challenging but also supportive of each other.