Simon is a hands-on finance director and MD with more than 25 years’ achievement at Board level in big groups and SMEs, delivering business change and improvement in the UK, Germany, Switzerland and France. He qualified as a chartered accountant with Ernst & Young in London in 1986 and made an immediate move into commerce with Terence Conran’s Storehouse retail group.
After working at the Mothercare subsidiary putting in place the central distribution strategy and also at the Group’s corporate finance team, Simon left to spend six years as a divisional finance director integrating newly acquired subsidiaries and creating a new Division for the printing group St Ives plc. During this time St Ives became Europe’s most profitable independent printer and started the transformation into a new media publishing and marketing group.
Simon built the Financial Planning and Analysis team around new global operating technologies and ran the finance teams at Hertz Europe and Hertz Germany, successfully delivering a profit turnaround. As divisional finance director for Thomas Cook, Simon set up the Global Services division pulling all travel and financial products together on a new technology platform.
Having caught the bug for early stage businesses, and transactional e-commerce businesses, Simon went on to FD and MD roles at start-ups Dreamticket.com, Opodo.com (Europe’s largest internet start-up), Lowcosttravel.com and Thehealthcounter.com. All required fund raising, tight resource management, the delivery of rapid growth and a culture of teamwork and getting stuck in across all disciplines.
Implementing new operations led to business transformation roles as Group FD at The Telegraph Media Group, installing new technologies and developing the on-line content while focusing on publishing and taking the business out of printing; as Group FD at Monarch installing a new ERP systems and transforming the liquidity and working capital position through cost controls, daily cash management and negotiating new relationships with banks and card acquirers; and as Transformation Director at IATA consolidating operations in a single hub using new processes and systems and achieving material operating efficiencies.
As an interim director and hands-on NED Simon has helped SMEs return to profitability through cost reductions, margin improvements and revenue initiatives, growth, acquisition, funding, working capital crises and delivery of new business systems. Simon also provides Advisory Board support for a London based PE firm.