NEDworking event

Holly Addison, Sophie Barker (née Roebuck) 11 Apr 2024

photo from the first nedworking event at leathwaite of people watching a panel of speakers

Leathwaite’s Board Practice hosts regular events to bring together established Chairs and NEDs from multiple industry sectors to share their learnings and journeys. Our next event is on the 5th June. If you are interested in joining us please email: [email protected].

Please note, these events are strictly invite only.


Guest speakers

  • Chris Clark

Chris Clark

Chris Clark is an independent consultant, adviser and Non-Executive Director. He is currently a Non-Exec Director of The Royal Marsden NHS Foundation Trust and is an Independent Non-Executive Director and SID of Aviva’s General Insurance Business where he Chairs that Boards Conduct Committee. He was also recently Chairman of Aviva’s digital specialist legal entity UKD.  

 He consults and advises a variety of organisations across Fin Tech, Banking, Technology, Charitable Sector, Private Equity and Marketing Services. In addition to these projects, he also ‘God Fathers’ several business start-ups in Tech, Marketing and Media. 

 In his corporate career Chris was CMO for HSBC and spent 16 years in a number of leadership roles in the HSBC Group. For the final 7 years he was overall CMO and a member of the HSBC Group Management Board.  

While at HSBC he helped develop the iconic air-bridge advertising programme, was one of the architects of ‘the world’s local bank’ positioning, managed the bank’s portfolio of sports sponsorships, re-shaped marketing into a truly global function and lead an organisation of over 1000 Marketing professionals.  

As part of his portfolio of responsibilities at HSBC he led the Group’s digital efforts, was Head of Customer Experience, ran the Global Sustainability Function, oversaw marketing for First Direct and M&S Bank and sat on several key management boards and committees. 

Prior to HSBC Chris was in advertising with the bulk of his career at Saatchi and Saatchi looking after major clients such as Mars, Toyota, P&G and Mirror Group Newspapers amongst others. 

When at leisure he can be found running, playing chess, fishing, painting and drawing and gardening. 

He is married to Clare, an accomplished novelist, and they have two grown up children and live in Wiiltshire. 

Brandie Deignan

Chief Executive Officer in NHS Primary Care and NED at Various. 

In early 2021 Brandie joined primary care within NHS in general practice as Chief Executive Officer. Prior to this role, Brandie was Managing Director at Marco Pierre White Restaurants, cementing her c20 years’ experience in the consumer service delivery industry across hospitality, retail, travel and aviation. Before her MD role, Brandie held senior leadership positions at British Airways Plc, Tesco Plc, Whitbread, Travelodge and Hilton Hotels, where she started her career as a graduate trainee and worked her way up. 

A true trailblazer, Brandie was the first female MD to hold her MD role at MPW Restaurants. As of 2020, Brandie was the first and only black female MD within branded restaurant groups in the UK. Brandie was recently named as one of the top 15 BAME high fliers in travel and tourism industry and was a finalist at the Black British Business Awards, Senior Leader, Consumer and Luxury 2020. 

Brandie was recently voted No 41 of the Top 50 listening leaders and also nominated in the National Diversity Awards for positive role model, gender diversity. Passionate about equity, she is sprinting in the BEDI arena, with non-executive roles held in this space in sport at Basketball England and Wales Golf. Brandie was most recently also nominated in the West Country Women’s awards for Equality and Diversity. 

Brandie is the author of ‘The Sector Agnostic Leadership Playbook: Pivoting In Heels’ 


Brandie Deignan
  • Julia Hayhoe

Julia Hayhoe

Julia Hayhoe is a seasoned Chair, NED, and Board Advisor specializing in strategic, sustainable growth. Focused on expert people businesses, typically professional and financial services, she excels in stewarding and supporting founders, CEOs, and management teams in accelerating sustainable growth, leadership transitions and development, and operational transformation.

Recognized as a thought-leader by The Economist, WEF and Duke Corporate Education, renowned for her expertise in integrating Sustainability and ESG into strategy, services, and stakeholder governance. Her portfolio currently includes:

  • Co-Chair The Institute for Professional Services Research, a centre of data and insight excellence.
  • NED and ESG Committee Specialist Risk Group, a leading international insurance broker. Majority investor HGGC Private Equity.
  • Retained Board Advisor Ashurst, legal, risk, consulting services firm. Market Growth and Sustainability.
  • Co-Chair The Economist Annual Impact Conference and GC Community.
  • Expert educator at Duke CE, board leadership and sustainability programs.
  • Pre-deal and market advisory work for Private Equity Firms including, Buy and Build growth strategies,
    CEO coaching, board transitions and ESG advisory.

In her prior executive roles, Julia served as Chief Strategy Officer for Baker McKenzie (legal, tax, risk), where she led international growth markets, innovation, and transformation. As a partner and Office Head at international professional services consultancy, working in the US, UK and Germany, she managed the successful sale of the founder business to Thomson Reuters. She began her career as a lawyer at Shoosmiths and in-house at Walgreens Boots Alliance.

Julia is a passionate advocate and mentor for social mobility and inclusive leadership. She enjoys spending time with family and friends, exploring new places, cultures, and walks by the sea.

Beatrice Lafon

She brings over 40 years of Pan European and US retail experience, underpinned by a tremendous record for achieving results, fast.

She holds a First-Class BA Hons in European Business Administration and a First Class Diplome D’Etudes Superieures Europeennes de Management (ESC Rheims). In 2013, Beatrice was awarded an Honorary Doctorate by Middlesex University, London. In 2015, she was elected a Most Influential Woman in the Mid Cap market in the USA. In 2017, she was elected Influential Business Leader by The Venus Dorset Awards and won the National title in 2018. She is fluent in English and French.

She has extensive Senior Executive experience in Buying and Merchandising, Strategy and Proposition Development, coupled with strong Operational and Leadership skills. She has worked for blue chip retailers such as Marks & Spencer, J Sainsbury’s (where she launched the first DIY transactional website in the world in 2000), BSkyB (part of News Corp) and the Kingfisher Group, sizeable private businesses such as Pimkie, River Island, Tchibo and Animal and PE backed businesses such as Claire’s, TJHughes, and Kondor. Beatrice operated at CEO level for nearly 20 years across the UK, Europe and the USA, she is known for her “turn around “expertise. She led the sale of TJ Hughes in the UK, the repositioning and return to profitability of The Etam Group in The Netherlands, the recovery of Claire’s Stores Inc (USA), the recovery of Pimkie (France) and the repositioning and sale of Kondor (UK) to DCC Plc.

Since 2016 she has been building a plural career, initially joining SuperDry as NED. She was a NED for HappyChic (Jules, Brice, Bizzbee) based in France and for Oosterdam (Pimkie, Orsay, Grain De Malice, Rouge Gorge) based in The Netherlands, until her interim CEO appointment to help recover Pimkie. She remained a NED at Orsay Gmbh until its sale in 2022. In 2020, as Chair of TMLewin, a leading global menswear brand backed by Bain Capital, she led the business through CV19 and its sale as a going concern to SCP. She also joined the board of Pizza Express Group Plc, to help drive its Restructuring. She helped Solent Group x2.5 its ebitda in 3 years and Exit to The Humble Group in 2021.

She is currently Chair at Comptoir Group Plc, Chair at Crosstown, NED at Cloud Nine, NED at Hilding & Anders (SE), NED at Spartoo SA (France), the leading Footwear & Apparel Marketplace in Europe, selling over 20 pairs of shoes every second! And a founding Member of the Leadership Council at causaLens, the pioneer in Causal AI.

Her teams talk about her, as being a human CEO, connecting with all, inspirational and full of compassion. She is able to make the complex simple, and set the course to achieve results quickly. As a NED, Beatrice is valued for her international experience, her up to date knowledge of omnichannel retailing, technology, her challenging and supportive style and authentic leadership. She engages with the management team to help drive results, fast.

Beatrice lives in Kent, UK with her son aged 16.

Beatrice Lafon

The hosts

Holly addision

Holly Addison

Holly co-leads our global product, sales and marketing practice and also our Board, CEO and general management practice. Specialising in CEO and C-level talent that drives growth, with a focus on digital transformation, leadership succession and value creation, Holly is best…

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Image of Leathwaite employee Sophie Barker

Sophie Barker (née Roebuck)

Sophie is a Consultant in the CFO & Audit  and Board practices in London. She executes on global searches, primarily in the UK, Asia, Middle East and Americas. Her primary areas of focus include CFOs and FDs as well as…

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