heather jackson

Heather Jackson – Managing Director

For the last 25 years, Heather has worked as a consultant, a full-time executive director and as a non-executive director in roles focused upon shaping and implementing business change to bring about a step-change in effectiveness and efficiency.  This has been across a range of business sectors, especially retail and financial services and for a variety of business organisations from start ups to major FTSE top 10 corporates.  Examples since founding Actinista include: working with the top teams in Nationwide and Aviva to increase their value-add, assessing the risk profile of several financial services organisations; working with the senior team at Morrisons to produce a commercial strategy; assessing the health of key change programmes at Boots and training their top IT team in some key leadership skills; supporting the CEO transition in a high street fashion retailer.

Heather's roles prior to Actinista included CIO and COO of HBOS, responsible for all aspects of IT (£1Bn budget); CIO and HR Director of Retail Bank, HBOS, responsible for integration of BOS and Halifax banks and the launch of IF; IT and Change Director at Capital One, launching a new bank in the UK; IT Director at Boots the Chemist, responsible for delivering multi channel capability and the Advantage card; IT Director at George Clothing during the doubling of turnover of George at Asda. Heather has experience of public sector through her early Accenture career and also now as a non-Executive Director of CMEC (Child Maintenance Enforcement Commission).

She is accustomed to interacting with stakeholders at all levels – senior Board, colleagues ‘on the coal face’, unions, suppliers, customers, specific interest groups etc.

She has a direct and open approach and can be relied on to ‘say it how it is’ and to make fact-based decisions.  Her passion is about doing the right thing for a business and adding value.

Outside work, Heather enjoys spending time outside with her three teenage boys.  As well as fund raising for a variety of charities, she counsels cancer patients.


Gavin Stevens – Business Development Director

For the last 10 years Gavin has worked in sales consultancy and client development. Previous to Actinista he worked for Harvey Nash Plc where he was a Principal Consultant in IT leadership and business change recruitment.

His main agenda is building brilliant business relationships that stand the test of time and anything else the British economy throws in the mix. Whilst at Harvey Nash he opened doors and transacted with numerous businesses including well- known organisations like BBC North and Reckitt Benckiser.

Essentially Gavin owns the client development strategy at Actinista and spends most of his time forging relationships with IT leaders and executive sponsors of change. His main focus is understanding an organisation’s strategic aims and associated challenges and establishing consulting engagements for Actinista to help with these. He is also involved in delivery management of client assignments and Actinista Health Checks.

Gavin is a people person. He has a natural tendency to make others feel at ease and builds rapport quickly. This is backed up by a strict code of doing the right thing by people. His commercial approach and moral values define his wide reaching network, not to mention his past successes.

Another string to his bow is that he owns a specialist recruitment consultancy - elephantintheroom - that operates in the IT leadership and business change space across all sectors, and can also deliver retained searches where required.

Outside work, Gavin rides mountains, surfs waves, writes words, breaks technology, burns food and loves his two young children to the ends of the earth, and back.


adrian marks

Adrian Marks – Senior Business Adviser

Adrian is an accomplished and trusted business adviser who over many years has delivered business change, growth and increased profitability to numerous organisations. He has worked with organisations as diverse as Lloyds Banking Group, Specsavers, Boots, Leeds University, amongst others, to help them drive strategy, set up change programmes for success and find the right people to lead change.

Prior to Actinista, Adrian has held Director positions in various consultancy businesses and senior management positions within a number of retail organisations. His experience includes leading the IT integration of the business merger between the Co-operative Wholesale Society and the Co-operative Retail Society; turning around failing outsourced service contracts between Diagonal and GE Lighting; independent review and advice on setting up programmes for success for organisations such as HBOS, the Co-operative Group, William Hill and Morrisons.

His outstanding strength is his ability to articulate and illustrate the most complex of problems in a clear and easy to understand way. This, combined with consummate people management skills, has resulted in him becoming a much sought after troubleshooter.

Adrian continues to support a variety of charities and when he's not working he's usually up to something mad involving either running, swimming, cycling or a combination of all three.


david johnston


David Johnston – Senior Business Adviser

David is Senior Business Adviser with a proven track record of delivering change, performance improvements, strengthening business relationships, implementation of outsource agreements, strategy definition and execution. He has worked at Board level with FTSE 100 companies and acted as an interim manager in a number of high profile clients.

His experience includes IT Director for Bradford and Bingley. Whilst there he gained Compass ‘best in class’ status for Data Centre efficiency. Other achievements include acting as Programme Director for major mortgage systems implementations; delivering a demutualisation programme; management of a major rebranding exercise; integration of a corporate credit system and day to day management of an Oracle Financials E-business Delivery Centre. He also set-up and chaired the IBM UK Strategic Outsourced Customer Forum.

His key strength is his excellent relationship management and listening skills. This has helped him turn around failing outsourced contracts into ‘best of breed’ relationships.


peter hindle

Peter Hindle – Senior Business Adviser

Peter is a Senior Business Adviser with over 20 years of experience of IT line, project and programme management.
Previous employers include Accenture and PriceWaterhouseCoopers where he gained extensive experience of the supply and demand sides of the systems integration and sourcing markets. At PWC he led the development of the firm’s IT Performance Improvement and Outsourcing services lines.

During his career he has supported clients across most sectors but has specialised in financial services working on more than 20 engagements for Banking and Insurance sector clients. Past engagements have included developing and implementing IT strategy, evaluating the effectiveness and competitiveness of a £300m outsourcing project, IT technology, people, process and organization diagnostic reviews and managing and implementing a £400m outsourcing contract.

An accomplished project and programme manager, Peter has implemented a number of transformational strategies all of which have been accomplished within both timescales and budgets allocated. He has also led a number of high profile turnarounds rescuing ailing departments and programmes usually under extremely tight timescales.


paul bradbrook

Paul Bradbrook – Senior Business Adviser

Paul is a Senior Business Advisor with over 25 years experience of project, programme and company management. Previous blue chip employers include The London Stock Exchange, UBS, Nomura and ABN Amro, whilst he has also built technology businesses selling both consultancy and software products in areas such as testing & quality assurance, programme & project management, project delivery with skills transfer in new technologies, and IT modernisation. As a Managing Director, Paul can demonstrate full P&L leadership of companies from start-up to 150 people and L20m turnover, including the creation and management of regional and international business units, providing an infrastructure for sustained growth and profitability.

Paul offers practical, hands-on support to help companies achieve real results. He works with you, as part of your team, to plan and carry out the kind of changes that ensure sustainable success. Whether you need to build a strong team, increase orders, manage projects and operations efficiently or simply make the best decisions for your business, Paul can help you develop and deliver a clear strategy that will take you to where you need to be.

Paul has an outgoing personality, a consultative management style, makes well thought out decisions, is delivery focused with bags of energy, drive, enthusiasm and a real passion for success. He delegates with control, is well organised, and gets issues onto the table where they can be addressed in a timely manner.


william kempster

William Kempster – Senior Business Adviser

William is a Senior Business Adviser with over 20 years experience of major business change and systems delivery in Retail, Healthcare and Banking sectors. He has also acted as a government appointed reviewer of major public sector contracts.

His experience includes the following roles: Programme Manager for a cost reduction/ programme for Kleinwort Benson Private Wealth Management business; Director of Programme Delivery for a portfolio of key NHS national modernisation programmes; IT/Business Transformation Programme Manager for developing and deploying a new HR/Payroll solution with new business process to 75,000 employees at Boots Plc and also IT Programme Manager for a new dispensing solution to all Boots Plc stores.

He has excellent communications and presentation skills, strong leadership qualities, is able to motivate staff and develop effective working relationships at all levels.


martin slade

Martin Slade - Senior Business Adviser

Martin is an energetic and enthusiastic leader who drives delivery with a sense of urgency but also takes pride in helping others achieve of their best. Martin is a strong communicator who engages well with business and senior management. He has deep experience in end to end project and programme management and establishing and operating appropriate governance mechanisms for effective portfolio management. Martin has practical, hands-on, experience across Retail and Financial Services covering the full life cycle of delivery and service. He delivers with a common sense approach whilst building the confidence of key stakeholders. Martin has over 30 years experience in Business and IT change leadership and 6 years as a Delivery Director for an IT Service Provider.


martin reay

Martin Reay - Senior Business Adviser

Martin is a proven delivery orientated executive with a track record in working with a wide range of organisations delivering Sales, Customer Service and Operational improvements.

He has a very strong customer focused perspective and has a direct approach to business challenges and opportunities, with a results orientated ethos. He is an experienced interim manager and a qualified project manager with Prince2 practitioner accreditation.

Martin gained senior management and board level experience within the Financial Services market with companies such as Bradford & Bingley, Skipton Group and Access Credit Cards. Additionally, over the past 10 years, he has worked with clients across a broad range of sectors including Retail, Motor and Leisure. That has involved managing and developing market, customer, operational, and regulatory initiatives, resulting in strategic, product and process change. Clients have been varied and included the likes of Freemans Grattan Holdings, Hitachi Capital, Deutsche Bank Group, Motorpoint, Norfolk Homes, National Australia Bank, British Gas, and Bourne Leisure.


john airey

John Airey - Senior Business Adviser

John is a Senior Business Adviser with over 20 years’ experience in delivering organisational and business process change. Previous employers include Accenture and the Littlewoods Group where he gained extensive experience in business process re-engineering and strategic planning.

During his career, he has advised clients in both the public and private sectors but with a particular emphasis in the healthcare and leisure industries. He is an established change and project manager with specific expertise in financial analysis, change planning and strategy development and delivery.


howard whiteley

Howard Whiteley - Senior Business Adviser

Howard is an accomplished results driven delivery professional with a passion for shaping business strategy, translating into practical solutions and delivering change programmes that add demonstrable business benefits.

He has worked with a wide range of organisations delivering both IT (including platform selection) and business transformational change. Skilled in all elements of project and programme delivery, Howard employs a pragmatic and highly effective approach to meet client objectives within planned timescales and budget across multiple stakeholders.

Howard gained senior management and board level experience within the manufacturing, retail and distribution sectors and has worked with both SMEs and multinational PLCs. He trained in his early career as a chartered engineer with BP. More recently he has worked across the automotive, building products, leisure, FMCG/Food and financial services sectors.

A first class facilitator and communicator combined with exceptional people management skills Howard is able to work and engage with all levels of an organisation.


ged mirski fitton

Ged Mirski-Fitton - Senior Business Adviser

Ged is an accomplished IT Leader with extensive experience of delivering successful, major IT change and business transformation programmes and projects across a broad spectrum of blue chip organisations in both the public and private sectors.

His key strength is his ability to get to the core of business problems and develop the best-fit solution. His ability to work from high level business objectives through to the fine detail of complex business processes makes him a valuable asset in any change programme.

In the past twenty years he has helped organisations, large and small, develop new capabilities, improve performance, and align focus on business objectives. This has been done in organisations in periods of significant growth, in periods of consolidation, and during mergers and acquisitions. Highly experienced in managing internal and external staff, with a coaching approach to getting the best from teams.


mark spear

Mark Spear - Senior Business Adviser

Mark is a delivery focused leader with experience of implementing complex change programmes in matrix environments within a number of industry sectors. He is a qualified project manager and an accomplished consultant who believes in client satisfaction as his main goal.

Over the last 20 years he has worked with senior leaders in financial services, the rail industry and healthcare and has proven to be a versatile, trustworthy problem solver. Mark prides himself on his ability to go into any complex situation and understand the way forward very quickly and articulate this in a way all stakeholders will understand and support it.

He is a strong leader with experience in leading not only business and IT professionals but clinical staff and administration functions. He is an excellent communicator and able to work at all levels of a business problem with stakeholders from front line staff to senior execs. He also works effectively at both ends of the detail spectrum, always with a view on the strategic implications of decisions but also able to work with the detail where necessary.


Bill Downing - Senior Business Adviser

Bill is a very experienced senior IT professional, commercially minded, results driven, with excellent team and relationship management skills. Over twenty-eight years he has worked in various multi-cultural blue chip international organisations across many sectors including Retail, FMCG, Financial Services and Motoring with RAC. He has a proven track record in setting Business lead IT strategies and delivering business change and value. Has managed programme portfolios and lead business board steering groups to ensure buy in at the most senior organisational levels. Experienced in IT Organisational design utilising both internal or external resourcing models and have lead outsourcing initiatives using both domestic and third world global service provider organisations.

With his extensive IT experience his outstanding strengths are his interaction with people at all levels and a very logical approach to any problem, whatever the scale, resulting in a clear plan for the way forward and a rigorous management of this through to delivery.


Dave Sollitt - Senior Business Adviser

Dave is an experienced senior executive who has operated as a CIO, COO and Programme Director in large global organisations. He is MBA educated, and has over 22 years in IT and Transformational Change roles where he has delivered long term tangible results through strategic problem solving.

Operating in both B2C and B2B environments, with a proven track record of shaping and driving strategic visions for organisations to meet both internal and external demands, ensuring technology is an enabler. He has an extensive skillset developed through significant international and cross cultural environments in Retail Financial Services, Energy, Government and IT Consultancy at board and executive team level.

He has extensive experience of delivering large programmes of work, service definition and delivery, business consultancy & change, stakeholder management, and shaping both IT and business strategy to help grow successful businesses. All supported by structured methodologies including ITIL, Six Sigma, Lean and PMI.


Lynda Fussell - Senior Business Adviser

Lynda is a Senior Business Adviser with over 15 years of experience in project, programme and change management, and a broad and successful track record in delivering important business and IT change.   With a strong business led approach to projects, keen attention to detail, ability to decipher real benefits, encourage collaboration and lead diverse teams, Lynda is trusted by businesses and senior management to deliver excellence. 

During her career, she has supported clients across many sectors in the UK and South Africa but has worked predominantly in Health Insurance and Financial Services. Both are heavily regulated industries, the technicalities of which Lynda has been able to work through, supporting change in the most pragmatic way.  A keen and clear understanding of subtle differences and explicit interpretations has been valued by clients.


Ian O'Reilly - Senior Business Adviser

Ian is a widely experienced Senior Business Adviser, a highly capable strategy developer and successful driver of commercially driven business change. Ian possesses an unusually strong combination of commercial acumen, IT and business operational delivery. From structured large corporate FMCG roots, Ian progressed through professional services to then enjoy high profile success in CIO/IT Director and Managing Director roles before a series of interim director/business adviser assignments.

Ian can reference a potentially unique record of strategic development and successful delivery in the most diverse and challenging of organisations and circumstances. This is combined with a depth of experience beyond the conventional corporate career path.

A personable character, with a strong intellect and capability to identify, articulate and provide practical resolutions to address what is at the core of major issues. This is achieved in an inclusive, easy to understand and down-to-earth style with an inherent ability to facilitate collaborative relationships quickly.


Paul Lilley - Senior Business Adviser

Paul is an experienced Senior Business Adviser within the Multi-Channel Retail sector, with over 25 years of experience and a proven track record of delivery and innovation.  He has a very strong focus on both designing and delivering innovative Multi-Channel/Digital solutions which meet both clients requirements and the clients' customer's needs.  Experienced in the use of Agile methodologies gives Paul the ability to quickly adapt when the business needs or markets change.

Paul has worked directly with major retail clients, brands and client design agencies up to board level necessitating effective working with their delivery partners.

His outstanding strength is his ability to design, articulate and illustrate the Multi-Channel/Digital  experience, its challenges, enabling systems and processes.  This combined with his proven track record of subsequent delivery of these solutions, has resulted in him becoming a much sought after Multi-Channel expert in the areas of Web, Mobile Apps (Web Optimised v’s Native), Digital Signage, Interactive TV and in-store inter actives.


Laura Marks – Company Secretary and Business Adviser

Laura is a highly competent, professional and experienced project manager in the field of learning & development, marketing & communications and change management. With a background in the financial services industry she gained broad based management skills and the ability to communicate, facilitate and influence at all levels.

Previous roles include: Change Management Consultant for a process improvement programme; Programme Office Manager for a major organisational transformation programme; Learning & Development Consultant leading change projects, responsible for people relations and leadership development. An Associate of the Chartered Institute of People Development, she is a qualified and experienced practitioner of various development tools including Myers Briggs Type Indicator Step 2 in group and one to one settings.

Laura supports the Follifoot Park Disabled Riders Group charity hands-on in a ride co-ordination role, as well as leading on risk management, compliance and re-branding as a Trustee. She is also Race Secretary for the Wetherby Runners Athletics Club and competes regularly at regional level.


Chris Majer – CEO of the Human Potential Project

Chris is the CEO and founder of the Human Potential Project and author of the recently released book, ‘The Power to Transform’. Chris specializes in providing leadership development, and strategic design for the Global 1,000. His firm has developed a unique and highly successful body of work that consistently produces extraordinary results for companies and their colleagues. The company is on the leading edge of developing processes and practices for transformational change in organizations and many of their practices, e.g. Commitment Based Management, are becoming mainstream practices.

Chris has managed large scale organizational transformation projects for clients such as: AT&T; Amgen; Intel; EDS; Nike; Microsoft; Allianz; Capital One; and CitiBank. He pioneered leading edge training programs for the US Army Special Forces, Navy SEALS, and at the request of the Commandant, taught leadership and combat skills to Marines. His wide range of experience has brought him and his firm considerable media attention. More information can be found at www.humanpotentialproject.com.

Actinista has a strong alliance with Chris and his firm for the delivery of business organisational design, leadership development and practices that drive cultural and financial improvement.