Meet the Board

  • Adam Wiles (Chair)

    Gascoyne Holdings

  • Ray Newton (Vice Chair)

    Edwardian Group

  • Ewan Venters (Vice Chair)

    Fortnum & Mason

  • Claude Abi-Gerges

    Capital Arches Group

  • Christine Baldwin

    Landsec

  • Oliver Smith

    The Crown Estate

  • John James

    Soho Estates

  • Andrew Love

    The Ritz Club

  • Angus Monteith

    McAleer & Rushe

  • Rob Russell-Smith

    Great Portland Estates

  • Julian Shaw

    BAFTA

  • Tim Sketchley

    Old Park Lane Management

  • David Stewart

    Standard Life

  • Tessa Street

    Odeon Cinemas

  • Simon Thomas

    The Hippodrome Casino

Adam Wiles (Chair)

Gascoyne Holdings

Gascoyne own a number of properties within the Heart of London area and are pleased to be involved with Heart of London Business Alliance. Adam’s vast local knowledge and extensive experience as Estate Manager has meant he has proven to be an invaluable asset to our organisation.

Ray Newton (Vice Chair)

Edwardian Group

Adviser to the Chairman Edwardian Hotels (comprising Radisson Blu and May Fair brands) and currently developing a new 380 room “lifestyle” hotel and cinema complex in Leicester Square. Ray is also very active with London First, London & Partners and Visit Britain. Ray’s full time career was spent with HSBC and he is Chairman of their Pensioners Association with 42,000 members.

Ewan Venters (Vice Chair)

Fortnum & Mason

Ewan joined Fortnum & Mason as the new CEO in the Summer of 2012. Food has always been Ewan’s passion and it is where he has spent his entire career, which began at Sainsbury’s in its management trainee programme just before his 17th birthday in August 1989. Ewan moved from Sainsbury’s to food service supplier Brakes before being snapped up by Weston family-owned Selfridges where he was Executive Director for Food, Restaurants, and Online from September 2005 to June 2012.

Claude Abi-Gerges

Capital Arches Group

Claude Abi-Gerges is a McDonald’s franchisee and the Managing Director of Capital Arches Group Ltd, a franchise that owns and operates a group of 21 McDonald’s restaurants in the West End and City of London with over 1,700 employees.

He brings to the board a wealth of knowledge acquired through his 22 years of experience in the hospitality and services sector, and a strong background in business and finance. Prior to starting his latest venture in Central London, Claude owned a group of restaurants in Cambridgeshire and worked as a Director of Franchising at McDonald’s UK, as well as a member of the Company’s Promotion Team and the Supply Chain Tactic Board; he currently sits on the Apprenticeships Steering Group.

In addition to his extensive business experience, as a Londoner, Claude has a real passion for getting involved locally and contributing back to the community. 

Christine Baldwin

Landsec

Christine has worked for over twenty years in Commercial Property, in the Portfolio Management field, previously for private equity investors (JER Partners, MGPA) and in the Operator/Developer field for McArthurGlen Group and as a freelance for a variety of owners and investors. Prior to this, Christine worked for the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and for a variety of performing arts companies.

Christine is a Surveyor (MRICS), a member of the Investment Property Forum, a non-executive director of Bromford Housing Group and is currently The Head of Portfolio Management for Landsec.

Oliver Smith

The Crown Estate

Oliver Smith is Head of St James’s at The Crown Estate. Oliver is responsible for driving forward the Crown’s ambitious vision and investment programme in the area to maintain St James’s as a world class retail, residential and office destination.

John James

Soho Estates

John is a Director of Soho Estates, who are key long term investors in the area. They understand the importance and value of working with local communities, Councils and associations to promote and improve local neighbourhood environments.

Andrew Love

The Ritz Club

Andrew Love is Chairman of The Ritz Club and Deputy Chairman of The Ritz London. Prior to joining The Ritz Club, Andrew was the Managing Director of the casino division of Ladbroke Group PLC. Throughout his career, he has been heavily involved in the leisure industry. He has held several positions on the main board of leading casino and leisure groups. Andrew’s knowledge and experience has enabled him to make a significant contribution to the Gaming and Hospitality industry.

Angus Monteith

McAleer & Rushe

Angus Monteith is a Director at property development and construction company McAleer & Rushe and they have been involved in the regeneration of Leicester Square for many years. Angus represents the owner and tenants of the W hotel and M&Ms World building.

Rob Russell-Smith

Great Portland Estates

Rob Russell-Smith is Investment Manager at Great Portland Estates who own significant property holdings in the Piccadilly and the St. James’s area.

His role includes strategic planning of the estate with particular focus on business planning and total returns of each asset.

Rob has previously sat on the committee for the Jermyn Street Association.

Julian Shaw

BAFTA

Julian has 25 year of experience in the world of hospitality, incorporating all aspects of the service industry (from waiter to multi-site operations director). Prior to joining BAFTA 195 Piccadilly in 2014 he spent over a decade working on the creation of numerous award-winning food and beverage concepts in the London and the rest of the UK, Europe, US and Asia.

Tim Sketchley

Old Park Lane Management

Tim Sketchley is Managing Director of private investment company, Old Park Lane Management. He brings to Heart of London Business Alliance over 36 years experience of property investment and has extensive market knowledge of the industry.

David Stewart

Standard Life

David Stewart is a Chartered Surveyor with 26 years experience in the commercial real estate market. He holds the Investment Management Certificate and IPF diploma in property investment.  His current role is Fund Manager for the Standard Life Pooled Pension Property Fund, a large UK  balanced open-ended  real estate fund. David is actively involved in the Central London real estate market, having overall responsibility for a portfolio of prime London assets as well as having acquired, developed and sold a number such properties.

Tessa Street

Odeon Cinemas

Tessa Street is General Manager of the two Odeon Cinemas in Leicester Square, both of which host a number of World, Royal and Gala Premieres every year. As an employer of the major film exhibitor in the UK, Tessa brings extensive experience of the entertainment sector to the Board.

Simon Thomas

The Hippodrome Casino

Simon Thomas was born in 1965. He received a First Class Honours Degree from Bristol University and then worked in the City before entering a family business.

He was the youngest ever President of the industry trade association BACTA and he is also on the strategy committee of NCIF, the main casino association. His various roles have led to high level involvement with Parliament, the Gaming Commission, the Department of Culture, Media and Sport and Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs.

Simon has extensive multi-site leisure experience ranging from sites with six to 450 employees and services including gambling, bars, restaurants, cinema, cabaret and live entertainment.

He is currently chairman of Hippodrome Casino Limited, which is an extensive leisure-based casino complex at the Hippodrome in Leicester Square, He is a Director of a number of other companies, and is also a trustee of Gamcare, the UK’s main problem gambling charity. He is married with 3 children and lives in London.