General Sir Richard Barrons KCB CBE (Co-Chairman)
Richard served as Commander Joint Forces Command until April 2016, one of the six ‘Chiefs of Staff” leading the UK Armed Forces, where he was responsible for 23,000 people worldwide and a budget of £4.3Bn, delivering intelligence, Special Forces, operational command and control, surveillance, reconnaissance and information systems and communications, operational logistics, medical support, and advanced education and training across the Armed Forces.
His military career included the last decade of the Cold War and leadership from Captain to General on military operations in Bosnia, Kosovo, Northern Ireland, Iraq and Afghanistan – often as part of US-led coalitions and in NATO. He was responsible for Military Strategy and Operations in the MoD as a Lieutenant General 2011-13 and President and Colonel Commandant of the Honourable Artillery Company 2013-2019.
He is a Distinguished Fellow at RUSI, and a Visiting Senior Fellow at LSE IDEAS. He read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at The Queen’s College, Oxford en route to becoming an artillery officer.
Currently he is Managing Partner of Wychwood Partners and advises and lectures regularly on defence transformation, security policy, digital risk, and senior leadership to City, academic, parliamentary, military and commercial audiences.
Peter L R Hewitt JP, FCSI, FRSA (Co-Chairman)
Peter has been Chairman or Director of 11 UK Public Companies over the last 25 years and was a founding director of 8 of these. He is currently a director of the Armadillo Group; a non-executive director of Puma 10 VCT PLC, a company quoted on the UK’s Official List of the London Stock Exchange and a senior Adviser at Brennan and Partners. In 2018 he stepped down after a 6 year term as an Alderman in the City of London where he sat on numerous committees including City’s Finance, Investment and Property Committees (£6bn under management) and was the inaugural Chairman of the City's £20m Social Investment Fund.
Peter is a member of the Governments Taskforce on Retail Social Investment and is a former member of the Associate Parliamentary Group on Wholesale Financial Markets; a UKTI Catalyst member and advisor to the Financial Services Organisation of the UKTI, writing a number of papers on overseas investment opportunities.
He is very involved in charitable and pro bono work being on the Finance Committee of ABF the Soldiers Charity; an Appeal Patron of the Sea Change Sailing Trust; and the founder of Raleigh 400. He is a past Master of the Worshipful Company of Woolmen and Master of the Guild of Entrepreneurs.
Vice Admiral Duncan L Potts CB (Director Designate*)
Maritime, Joint, Service Training and Education
Duncan served as Director General Joint Force Development until 2018, responsible for ensuring the single Services can integrate on operations both with other Government Departments and internationally. This included articulating trends out to 30 years and providing individual through-career education and collective training to meet contemporary challenges. Previously he led capability development for the Royal Navy and has commanded at 1 & 2* level for NATO, EU and US led coalition operations.
Duncan served as a Royal Navy officer for 39 years. Originally a surface warfare anti-submarine officer, he commanded 3 major warships on operations, principally in the Middle East. He commanded the US led Coalition Task Group in the Northern Gulf as a Commodore and as a Rear Admiral led NATO’s High Readiness Force (Maritime) and commanded the European Union’s counter-piracy operation in the Indian Ocean at the height of the scourge of piracy. On his watch piracy was defeated. Also, as a Rear Admiral he was head of capability for the Royal Navy, Chief of Staff overseeing HQ reorganization, was an executive director on the Navy Board and was head of the surface ship fighting arm. More widely he has worked in the Ministry of Defence in resource programming and capability planning and as Military Assistant to the Vice Chief of Defence Staff. He has a strong background in Joint operations, notably as the 1* head of planning at the UK’s National Joint Operational HQ (PJHQ) and on the Joint Forces Command Board as Director General Joint Force Development and Director General of the Defence Academy of the UK. He is a graduate of The City University (Systems and Management), a fellow of The Windsor Leadership Trust and a Younger Brother of Trinity House.
Lieutenant General Sir Mark Poffley KCB OBE (Director Designate*)
Land, Defence Programming and Force Design
Mark has extensive operational experience as both a planner and field logistician. Most recently serving as the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff leading the UK MOD’s strategic Balance of Investment and force design teams. Overseeing a budget of £38 billion, he was responsible for the coherence of the UK’s defence portfolio including the most sensitive strategic capability programmes. Previously, he was the Deputy to the Head of the British Army and led the Royal Logistic Corps.
Sir Mark’s service over 34 years has included tours in both heavy armoured and light forces, including operational roles with 1 (UK) Armoured Division and 16 Air Assault Brigade. He has seen active service on operations during the first Gulf War, UN operations in the Balkans, and operations in Afghanistan and Iraq. He has commanded on operations at every level up to and including brigade level. His staff appointments have included specialist assignments in planning the introduction of the UK’s attack helicopter, logistics, force design, finance and strategic planning. The latter part of his military career was dominated by senior appointments including two years as the principal aide the UK Chief of the Defence Staff, the Chief of Staff of the Army HQ and the Assistant Chief of the Defence Staff in the MOD responsible for Resources and Plans across the three Services. He was awarded his 3rd star in 2014 and appointed as the commander of the Army’s Force Development and Training organisation. He went on to be the Deputy Chief of the General Staff before his last appointment as the Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff responsible for the delivery of coherent tri-service capability plans and strategic balance of investment. He was personally responsible for the delivery of many of the most strategic Defence programmes such as the international capability dialogues, national shipbuilding and combat air strategies and the introduction of the UK’s aircraft carriers and the UK F35 programme. In his last appointment, he acted as the National Armaments Director and sat on the MOD executive committee, People and Infrastructure Boards and the main board for the Defence Equipment and Support organisation.
He was knighted in 2018 and retired from the Army in April 2019. He remains connected to the military in an honoury appointment as the Master General Logistics and is a trustee of the Blind Veterans charity.
Will Jessett CBE (Director Designate*)
MoD, Policy and Strategy, Civil Service and Acquisition
Will retired from the MOD in Jan 2019. His last role was as the department’s strategy director, in which he led work on the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review and the 2017/18 National Security Capabilities Review and Modernising Defence Programme. He worked in a variety of policy, strategy and operational roles during his 33 years in public service, specialising in strategic planning. He spent more than a third of his career living and working overseas (Namibia, Poland, Cyprus, USA).
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Air Marshal Phil Osborn CBE, FRAeS
Air, Space, ISR and Cyber
Additionally, we anticipate that Air Marshal Phil Osborn will join us later in 2019, subject to ACOBA approval when he retires from the RAF. Originally Tornado aircrew, Phil was Chief of Defence Intelligence until the end of 2018, and over his three decades in UK Defence he has accrued extensive experience of leadership and transformation, intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance, cyber, and counter-intelligence, force design and capability planning, as well as operational command.
*Director Designate, pending ACOBA approval.