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Board of Directors

The role of our PLC Board is to promote the long-term sustainable success of  DWF, generating value for shareholders and contributing to wider society.

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Jonathan Bloomer

Chairman

 
 
Jonathan Bloomer

Appointed to Board
Jonathan Bloomer was appointed as Chairman on 1 August 2020. 

Jonathan has over 40 years of experience is financial services.  He has previously held a number of board positions including Chairman of the JLT Employee Benefits Group, Senior Independent Director of Hargreaves Lansdowne Plc, Non-Executive Director of Railtrack Plc and Director of Egg Plc. From 2006-2012, Mr Bloomer was European Partner at Cerberus Capital. Between 2000 and 2005, he was Group Chief Executive Officer of Prudential Group plc, having previously served as Deputy Group Chief Executive Officer and Group Finance Director. Prior to his time at Prudential, Mr Bloomer held senior roles at Arthur Andersen. Jonathan is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales.

External appointments
Bloomer is Chairman of Morgan Stanley International, Arrow Global Group Plc and SDL Group Limited.

Committee memberships
Chair of the Nomination Committee and a member of the Remuneration Committee from 1 August 2020.

Chris Sullivan

Deputy Chairman and Senior Independent Director
 
Chris Sullivan

Appointed to the Board  
Chris was appointed to the Board of DWF Group plc in November 2018. Chris acts as Senior Independent Director. He was appointed Deputy Chairman in August 2020.   

Background and experience 
Chris retired from his role as Chief Executive of the Corporate and Investment Bank at Santander UK in October 2018.

He was the Deputy Group Chief Executive at RBS Group plc (‘RBS’) from 2014 to 2015, the Chief Executive of the Corporate Banking Division at RBS from 2009 to 2014 and the Chief Executive of RBS Insurance (now Direct Line Group) from 2006 to 2009. 

Chris started his career at RBS in 1975. In recognition of his services to Scottish banking during his various roles at RBS, Chris earned a Fellowship of the Chartered Institute of Bankers Scotland. 

In 2014, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the European Leasing Association for his contribution to the asset finance industry. 

In 2011, Chris was recognised as the European Diversity Champion of the Year.   

External appointments 
Chris has been a member of the Westminster Abbey Investment Committee since 2014 and was appointed as Chairman in 2017. He serves as a Non-Executive Director of The Goodwood Estate Company Limited, Guild Esports PLC, and is also Non-Executive Director and Senior Independent Director of Alfa Financial Software Holdings PLC.

Committee memberships 
Chris is a member of the Audit, Nomination, Remuneration and Risk Committees.

 

Sir Nigel Knowles

CEO
 
Sir Nigel Knowles

Sir Nigel is Group CEO (having previously served as Chairman of the Group from September 2017 to May 2020). He spent over 38 years at DLA Piper, a global law firm, where he was Global Co-Chairman and Senior Partner, and, previously, Global Co-CEO and Managing Partner from 1996 to 2015. During his tenure as leader of DLA Piper and its legacy firms, revenues of DLA Piper grew from £52 million to in excess of £1.5 billion.

Sir Nigel received a knighthood in 2009 in recognition of his services to the legal industry. In 2015, he was awarded the Legal Business “Outstanding Individual Achievement Award” and in 2016 the Financial News “Editor’s Choice” award. He is the Senior Independent Director of Morses Club plc, the Chairman of Zeus Capital and a Trustee of The Prince’s Trust. He was also High Sheriff of Greater London 2016/17. Sir Nigel holds an LLB degree from the University of Sheffield and a Postgraduate Diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, Chester. He received an Honorary Doctorate of Laws from the University of Sheffield and is a Fellow of Harris Manchester College Oxford. Sir Nigel was admitted as a solicitor by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in 1980 and is a registered foreign lawyer with the Law Society of Scotland. Sir Nigel is currently Senior Independent Director of Morses Club plc, as well as Chairman and Chair of the Remuneration Committee of Zeus Capital Limited. He is a Trustee of The Prince's Trust.  

Chris Stefani

Chief Financial Officer
 
Chris Stefani

Appointed to the Board 
Chris joined the management team of DWF LLP in April 2016 and was appointed to the Board of DWF Group plc in September 2018. 

Background and experience 
Chris has around 20 years of experience in the professional services sector. 

He was previously the Finance Director of Ernst & Young’s EMEIA Advisory business (2014 to 2016), the Global Service Line reporting lead of Ernst & Young London (2013 to 2014), a director in the UK Core Business Services Finance team of Ernst & Young London (2012 to 2013) and the CFO of Ernst & Young Republic of Ireland (2010 to 2011). 

Chris has extensive experience in advising executive boards on all aspects of financial management, control, and performance and profitability improvement, as well as a track record of business optimisation to drive profit improvements and/or cost savings while also supporting revenue growth. 

Chris holds an LLB degree from the University of Strathclyde and was admitted to the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants in 2001.

External appointments 
Chris is a trustee and honorary treasurer of the UK-based charity KIDS, which delivers services to support disabled children and their families.

 

Matthew Doughty

Group Chief Operating Officer
 
Matthew Doughty
Appointed to the Board
 
Matthew was appointed to the Board of DWF Group plc in November 2018 as a Partner Director. Also in May 2020, he agreed to become our Group Chief Operating Officer, a new position on our Executive Board. On 22 October 2020, Matthew’s position on the Board will change from Partner Director to Executive Director to reflect his position on the management team.
 
Background and experience
 
Matthew has been a partner at DWF since June 2016.  
 
He was previously a corporate partner at Squire Patton Boggs (2013 to 2016), a corporate partner at Dorsey & Whitney (2009 to 2013) and a corporate partner of Addleshaw Goddard (2007 to 2009).
 
Matthew holds an LLB degree from the University of Birmingham and completed the Law Society Final Examination in 1993 from the College of Law, Chester.
 
He was admitted as a solicitor by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in 1996 and is a registered foreign lawyer with the Law Society of Scotland.

Teresa Colaianni

Independent Non-Executive Director
 
Teresa Colaianni

Appointed to the Board 
Teresa (‘Tea’) was appointed to the Board of DWF Group plc in November 2018.

Background and experience
Tea has more than 20 years of experience in human resources management. She has previously served on the boards of Bounty Brands Holdings, Mothercare plc, Royal Bournemouth and Christchurch Hospitals, Poundland Group plc and Alexandra Palace Trading Company. 

She was Group Human Resources Director at Merlin Entertainments plc (2010 to 2016) and Vice President of Human Resources, Europe, of Hilton Hotels Corporation (2002 to 2009). 

Tea holds a law degree from the University of Bari, Italy, and a master’s degree in European community law, economics and politics from the University of Perugia, Italy. She was admitted to the Italian Bar in 1995. 

Tea also holds an advanced diploma in coaching and mentoring from Oxford Brookes University. 

External appointments
Tea is the interim chair of The Watches of Switzerland Group plc and also serves on the board of SD Worx NV.

Committee memberships
Tea is Chair of the Remuneration Committee and a member of the Audit, Nomination and Risk Committees.

Samantha Tymms

Independent Non-Executive Director
 
Samantha Tymms
Appointed to the Board 
Samantha (Sam) was appointed to the Board of DWF Group plc in December 2018. 

Background and experience 
Sam has more than 30 years of experience in the financial services sector, including extensive work in corporate governance and risk management. She has also undertaken a number of roles at the Financial Conduct Authority. 

Sam served as a non-executive director on the board of IG Group plc from 2013, and from 2016 she chaired its risk committee. She left IG’s board in 2019. Sam has also been a managing director at Promontory Financial Group (UK) Ltd since 2007. 

Sam holds a bachelor’s degree from the Roehampton Institute of Higher Education. 

Committee memberships 
Sam is Chair of the Risk Committee and a member of the Audit, Nomination and Remuneration Committees.
 

Luke Savage

Independent Non-Executive Director
 
Luke Savage
Appointed to the Board 
Luke was appointed to the Board of DWF Group plc in November 2018. 

Background and experience 
Luke has more than 35 years of experience in the financial and professional services sector, with experience in managing regulatory, analyst, investor and banking relationships for major institutions. 

He has previously served as a non-executive director on the boards of HDFC Life Insurance Company Ltd, Standard Life Employee Services Ltd, Standard Life Finance Ltd and Standard Life Oversea Holding Ltd. He was Group CFO at Standard Life (2014 to 2017) and CFO of Lloyd’s of London (2004 to 2014). 

Luke holds a bachelor’s degree in electrical and electronic engineering from Imperial College. He also holds an ACA qualification and is a member of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales. 

External appointments 
Luke has served on the board of Liverpool Victoria Friendly Society Ltd as a non-executive director since January 2018 and chairs its audit committee. He is also on the board of Numis Securities Plc, chairing both its risk and audit committees.  Luke is Chairman of Chesnara PLC 

Committee memberships 
Luke is Chair of the Audit Committee and a member of the Nomination, Remuneration and Risk Committees. Luke is deemed to have recent and relevant financial expertise.
 

Vinodka Murria OBE

Independent Non-Executive Director
 
Vinodka Murria OBE
Appointed to the Board
Vinodka (Vin) was appointed to the Board of DWF Group plc in November 2018. 

Background and experience
Vinodka (Vin) has more than 25 years of experience in the software sector. She was the founder and CEO of Advanced Computer Software Group plc and Computer Software Group plc. Both were acquired by private equity in 2007 and 2015 respectively.  She was previously a Non-Executive Director of Zoopla Property Group plc, Sophos plc and Chime plc. Vin was previously COO of Kewill Systems plc.

Vin holds a bachelor’s degree in computer science, an MBA from the University of London and a Doctorate in Business Administration (Honorary) from Edinburgh Napier University. Vin became an Officer of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire in 2018 for her services in empowering women in technology. 

External appointments 
Vin has been an operating partner at HG Capital since 2016 and is a Non-Executive director of Bunzl plc and Softcat plc.

Committee memberships 
Vin is a member of the Audit, Nomination, Remuneration and Risk Committees.
 

Michele Cicchetti

Partner Director 

 
Michele Cicchetti
Appointed to the Board
 
Michele was appointed to the Board of DWF Group plc in October 2020. He fulfils the role of Partner Director alongside Seema Bains representing the interests of DWF partners on the Board.
 
Background and experience
 
Michele is Managing Partner of DWF in Italy and joined the firm in November 2017. He is widely regarded in Italy as a specialist in acquisition finance, mergers and acquisitions and finance related transactions and in 2019 and 2020 has been included in the list of the 100 most influential lawyers in Italy by Forbes magazine.
 
Before joining DWF he was a corporate finance partner at Pavia e Ansaldo (2011 to 2017), having also gained significant experience in the banking and finance sector at White & Case LLP (2001 to 2008). 
 
Michele holds a law degree from the University of Milan and he was admitted as a solicitor by the Italian Bar Association in 2005.

Seema Bains

Partner Director
 
Seema Bains
Appointed to the Board
 
Seema was appointed to the Board of DWF Group plc in October 2020. She fulfils the role of Partner Director alongside Michele Cicchetti representing the interests of DWF partners on the Board.
 
Background and experience
 
Seema is a senior partner in the Insurance division and joined the firm in March 2009. She leads the Global Diversity and Inclusion Leadership Group and has done so since its formation in 2014. 
 
Before joining DWF she was an insurance partner at Weightmans (2006-2009).
 
She holds an LLB degree from the University of Kingston and completed the Legal Practice Course in 1995 from the College of Law, Guildford. 
 
Seema was admitted as a solicitor by the Solicitors Regulation Authority in 1997 and is a registered foreign lawyer with the Law Society of Scotland.

Mollie Stoker

Group General Counsel & Company Secretary
 
Mollie Stoker

Mollie joined the Group as Group General Counsel and Company Secretary in January 2019. She is responsible for providing senior management with strategic legal advice, while overseeing legal compliance, corporate governance and limiting risk.

 

Background and experience

Mollie has more than 18 years of private practice and in-house legal experience. Previously, Mollie worked for the Suntory Beverage and Food Group, where she was the Director of Business Development at Suntory Beverage and Food Europe and the General Counsel and Company Secretary at Lucozade Ribena Suntory.

 

She also practised as a corporate/ commercial lawyer at Orrick, Herrington & Sutcliffe LLP, K&L Gates LLP, and at Slaughter and May, where she trained and qualified.

Mollie holds a master’s degree in Classics from Cambridge University, and a postgraduate diploma in Law and a postgraduate diploma in Legal Practice from the College of Law, London. Mollie is a member of the Law Society of England.

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