Board of Directors
The members of our Board of Directors draw on a deep well of experience and expertise to oversee every aspect of Connect Group’s work.
Gary Kennedy Chairman
Gary Kennedy joined the Board as a non-executive director on 2 March 2015 and subsequently became Chairman on 1 May 2015. He is Chairman of the Nominations Committee and member of the Audit and Remuneration Committees.
Gary is Chairman of each of Greencore Group plc and Green REIT plc. He was formerly Group Director of Finance and Enterprise Technology at Allied Irish Banks plc from May 1997 to December 2005, following executive positions at Nortel Networks and Deloitte. He has previously been a non-executive director of Elan Corporation plc and Irish Bank Resolution Corporation Ltd, as well as serving on the Board of the Industrial Development Authority of Ireland for 10 years, retiring in December 2005.
Mark Cashmore Chief Executive Officer
Mark Cashmore joined the Board on 31 August 2006.
Mark started his career with Pernod Ricard before moving to United News and Media in 1989. Between 1989 and 1999 he held senior positions in a number of news distribution businesses, including Sales Director of United Magazine Distribution, USM and Seymour. He joined WH Smith News in 1999 and was appointed Magazine Sales Director in 2001 and Managing Director in June 2006.
Jonathan Bunting Chief Operating Officer
Jonathan Bunting joined the Board on 1 April 2010.
Jonathan joined WH Smith News as a graduate recruit in 1994. He rose through the organisation in a variety of sales and marketing managerial roles before being promoted to the executive management team in 2001 as Trade Marketing Director. He was appointed Commercial Director in August 2006, Chief Commercial Officer in April 2010, Managing Director of Smiths News on 1 May 2012 and Managing Director of the Connect News & Media division in April 2014. With effect from 1 September 2017, Jonathan assumed the role of Chief Operating Officer, with responsibility for operations across the Group.
Mark Whiteling Senior Independent Non-Executive Director
Mark Whiteling is the Senior Independent Director and joined the Board on 1 September 2017. He is Chair of the Audit Committee and member of the Remuneration and Nominations Committees.
Mark is currently the Chief Financial Officer and executive director of Interserve PLC and has previously been Deputy CEO and former CFO of Premier Farnell plc (until June 2016). He has extensive senior international, operational and finance experience with a number of diverse organisations including Autobar Group Limited, Communisis plc, Tibbett & Britten Group plc and Enodis plc. He was a Non-Executive Director of Future plc until December 2014 and was also Chairman of its Audit Committee and a member of its Nominations and Remuneration Committees. Mark is currently the senior independent director of Hogg Robinson Group PLC where he also chairs its Audit Committee and is also a member of its Nominations and Remuneration Committees.
Denise Collis Independent Non-Executive Director
Denise Collis is a non-executive director and joined the Board on 1 December 2015. She is Chair of the Remuneration Committee and member of the Audit and Nominations Committees.
Denise was Chief People Officer at Bupa (British United Provident Association Limited), the global healthcare business, from May 2010 until December 2014. Prior to that, she held senior HR roles at a number of leading organisations including 3i Group plc, EY, Standard Chartered Bank and HSBC. She is currently a non-executive director, Chair of the Remuneration Committee and member of the Nomination Committee of SThree PLC, the Chair of the British Heart Foundation's Remuneration Committee and a member of its Nominations Committee and Advisory Council, Vice Chair to the International Advisory Board to Leeds University Business School and a member of the Advisory Board to the University of Exeter Business School.