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Who we are

The private sector led Thames Estuary Growth Board, headed up by Government appointed Envoy Kate Willard OBE, brings together key business and political leaders from across North Kent, South Essex, East London, the City of London and the River Thames. Working together as a single, coherent voice, the Growth Board are here to drive forward their action plan, ‘The Green Blue’.

Kate Willard OBE

Chair and Thames Estuary Envoy

Kate Willard OBE is Chair of the Growth Board and the Government appointed Thames Estuary Envoy.

Kate has lived and worked in Hungary, France and Belgium working as an expert with the European Commission where she led a number of major transnational projects in employment, social cohesion and regional development. She established the first UK-Hungarian cultural partnership trust and was CEO of the UK’s first rural regeneration company. Her corporate career was primarily in logistics and transport with a focus on regional aviation.

Kate Chairs the Board of Teesside International Airport, is a Churchill Fellow, a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts (FRSA), and a Commissioner for the National Infrastructure Commission.

Kate Willard OBE

Executive Team.

Frances Moffett-Kouadio

Frances Moffett-Kouadio is the Strategic Investment Director, heading up the TEGB investment team where she will drive its mission of Good Green Growth and lead the development and implementation of its investment portfolio.

Frances previously held the position of Director Exports North America at the Department for Business and Trade and brings extensive international investment experience.

Holly Williams

Holly Williams is Chief Operating Officer, overseeing all business activities and operational strategies.

Holly spent the first 12 years of her career advising some of the world’s largest private businesses on International Tax Structuring. She is passionate about Corporate Venturing and spent 3 years as the Director of PwC UK’s Technology Investment Team, where she was responsible for driving the technology investment agenda, and built the Firm’s first investment & funding management approach for the UK technology portfolio. Holly also has significant experience leading Special Finance Projects in a scale-up environment. She is a Member of the ICAEW (Institute for Chartered Accountants).

David Godfrey

David Godfrey leads our Green Places workstream including major Economic, Housing & Infrastructure work with partners to release good growth, our relationship with the Thames Estuary Production Corridor and Creative Estuary and is leading the development of our inward investment programme.

David is a Policy Advisor at Kent County Council with wide-ranging experience from working closely with Council Leaders and Cabinet Members, both within the authority and nationally.

In addition to his current role in the promotion of economic development and local growth in Kent, David worked closely with Lord Heseltine in Government supporting the early development of the Thames Estuary 2050 Growth Commission.

David has been Policy Advisor on Local Government and Local Growth to two Secretaries of State, Director of the South East Local Enterprise Partnership and a Westminster Chief of Staff. He has worked in the public, private and voluntary sectors. David is a Visiting Fellow of the Localis think tank for whom he has written two national reports on local economic growth.

Andy Thompson

Andy Thompson is a Portfolio Director. He is leading on Hydrogen, Renewable Energy, and the Creative industry Portfolios.

Andy has a background in international trade and investment where he’s managed campaigns to secure and attract new investments and partnerships with UK, EU, Canadian, and Australian, investors, businesses, regulators, and government agencies. Prior to joining the Growth Board, Andy was employed as an Investment Director with the Australian Trade and Investment Commission and Trade and Investment Manager at the Canadian High Commission in London.

These roles have given Andy the experience of managing and advising on projects which have led to multimillion pound investments from the Financial Services, Technology, Energy, and Defence and Security industries. This includes, for example, recent investments and new partnerships from CGI, Airbus Defence and Space, Revolut, and IP Group plc.

Andy has a BA Hons, Business Management, from the University of Manchester and a Professional Managers’ Award, Business and Strategy, from Aston Business School.

Gyula Törzsök

Gyula Törzsök is a Portfolio Director. He is leading on River Freight, Digital and Green Spaces agenda.

Prior to joining our team Gyula was a managing consultant at Inner Circle Consulting, leading on major projects in the public sector. His work has enabled multi million pound inward investments and helped local authorities with infrastructure, regeneration and asset rationalisation projects. The impact of this work was recognised by the Management Consultancies Association in 2020 when he was shortlisted as a Rising Star.

As an economist, Gyula has worked in the logistics and the tech industry in Hungary, the UAE, and in the UK. He grew up next to the Danube which influenced his relation to the rivers and made him passionate about creating value in the Thames Estuary Region.

 

Hannah Staunton

Hannah

Amelia Cole

Amelia Cole is the Events Manager and is responsible for overseeing all internal and external events for the Thames Estuary Growth Board.

Amelia is also the Executive Assistant for the Envoy and provides support for the most senior staff at the Growth Board.

She has over 14 years in administrative experience predominantly within the legal sector and has worked for some of the biggest international law firms throughout her career.

She has a background in alternative dispute resolution as well as corporate litigation and finance and has supported c-suite senior executives across those sectors.

Alexis Kok

Alexis Kok is a Business & Research Analyst, who supports the development of investment propositions across workstreams, including River Freight, Digital, and Renewable Energy.

Before joining our team, Alexis was a consulting analyst at a leading specialist management consultancy, where she focused on strategy and implementation projects within the financial services industry.

With a diverse background that spans management consulting, law, renewable energy, and digital assets, Alexis brings valuable experience in strategic thinking, problem-solving, and project management to the Growth Board. She assists organisations in navigating complex business landscapes with regulatory and policy challenges.

Alexis holds a Master in Management from London Business School and a dual degree in Bachelor of Laws and Bachelor of Social Sciences (Government & Law) from the University of Hong Kong.

Board.

Councillor Kevin Bentley

Cllr Kevin Bentley Leader of Essex County Council

Councillor Kevin Bentley is a member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board, the Leader of Essex County Council and Member for Stanway and Pyefleet.

Kevin Bentley was elected to Essex County Council in 2009 and appointed as the Deputy Cabinet Member to the Leader. Having served two years in this post he was promoted to the Cabinet in 2011 and appointed Deputy Leader to the Council 2013, where he led on Economic Growth and Infrastructure. He was elected Leader of the Council in May 2021.

Kevin is also a Colchester Borough Councillor and has previously been Leader of the Conservative Group in Colchester. He has also served in the Colchester Borough Councillor Cabinet of holding the portfolio for Business, Tourism and Leisure. He has also stood for Parliament twice in Colchester. Outside of politics Kevin is the Chairman of the awarding winning PR agency Mosaic Publicity and is a journalist by profession. Before leaving to set up Mosaic Publicity in 2000 he spent 20 years working for the BBC as a radio and television reporter and producer.

He is also Chairman of LGA Brexit Task & Finish Group and Chairman of LGA People’s and Places Board.

Emily Buckley

Headshot of Emily Buckley member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board

Emily Buckley is a member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board and lead for Green Spaces.

Emily is a strategy manager at Lightsource bp, a global solar developer in which bp owns a 50% stake.

Since joining the firm in 2017, her accomplishments include supporting bp’s initial $200 million investment, helping to start a green private equity fund in India and leading Lightsource bp’s expansion into Egypt.

Emily started her career in consulting and private equity, and holds a first-class degree in Economics from UCL.

In 2019, she was listed in both the “Forbes 30 under 30” and bp’s International Women’s Day list of “women advancing the energy transition”.

In her free time, Emily is an advocate of “zero waste” living and has invested in a zero-waste beauty & personal care retail start-up.”

Devrim Celal

Headshot of Devrim Celal member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board

Devrim Celal is Deputy Co-Chair of the Thames Estuary Growth Board and joint lead for Hydrogen with Gavin Chapman.

Devrim is the CEO of KrakenFlex, formerly Upside Energy, which joined the Octopus Energy Group in 2020 to add another layer of capabilities to Octopus’s energy technology platform, ‘Kraken’.

KrakenFlex’s cloud-based technology platform controls distributed energy assets such as large-scale batteries, EVs, or heat pumps with machine learning and AI to match electricity supply and demand, helping the electricity grid deal with the natural volatility of renewable generation. KrakenFlex is currently contracted to manage over 1,600 MW of power with further 2 GWs of renewable generation to come online through 2022.

Before starting KrakenFlex, Devrim’s professional career saw him take up executive roles with blue chip management consultancies and finance companies such as Publicis Sapient, Kearney and Lansdowne. He also holds an MBA from Yale University and is an independent non-executive director of the Thames Estuary Growth Board, where he co-chairs the hydrogen committee, and a Member of the Yale University Alumni Association Board of Governors.

Gavin Chapman

Headshot of Gavin Chapman Deputy Chair of the Thames Estuary Growth Board

Gavin Chapman is Deputy Co-Chair of the Thames Estuary Growth Board and joint lead for Hydrogen with Devrim Celal.

Gavin is Managing Director, Co-Head Principal Investments, at Barclays.

He has 28 years of financial services experience across both buy-side and sell-side businesses.

He joined Barclays in 2003 in the credit trading division, working in both London and New York.

From 2008, Gavin became Chief Operating Officer of the Funds and Advisory business of the investment bank, which managed £5bn of institutional investor money invested in equity, debt and alternative asset classes and across a variety of geographies.

From 2014-17, Gavin ran Business Divestment for Barclays Non-Core, selling over twenty businesses globally.

He is currently responsible for a £3bn portfolio of mainly private equity investments for both the Bank and top tier institutional co-investors.

Before Barclays, he worked in a variety of Audit, Finance and business support roles in Lehman Brothers, Deutsche Bank and Deloitte.

Gavin is a Member of Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales and Association of Corporate Treasurers.

Stephen Dance

Headshot of Stephen Dance member of the Thames estuary Growth Board

Stephen Dance is a member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board.

Stephen is Director of Infrastructure Delivery for the Infrastructure and Projects Authority.

He has more than 30 years of experience in infrastructure projects. Recently his focus has been on the delivery of the UK’s critical economic infrastructure projects in transport, energy, water, waste and telecommunications, as well as the provision of infrastructure to deliver urban regeneration and housing.

Stephen is also a Non-Executive Director of Local Partnerships. Previously Stephen headed Partnerships UK’s major projects division and whilst at DTZ advised on a broad range of real estate areas, ranging from the privatisation of BAA to complex transactions such as the BBC’s property Public – Private Partnership (PPP) and the sale of British Coal non-mining assets.

In his current role, he leads a delivery team of commercial specialists that are deployed actively across government to provide advice, expertise and experience on the delivery of complex major projects including High Speed Two (HS2), Rural Broadband, Thames Tideway Tunnel, Mersey Bridge and Hinkley Point.

Councillor Roger Gough

Headshot of Roger Gough, Member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board

Councillor Roger Gough is a member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board and the Leader of Kent County Council.

Having served as the Member for Darent Valley – now Sevenoaks North and Darent Valley – since 2005, he previously held the Cabinet Member for Children, Young People and Education as well as other Cabinet roles since 2006.

Roger sits on the Local Government Association’s Children and Young People Board and Chairs the South East Strategic Partnership for Migration board. He has a strong record of national politics through work for think tanks such as the Policy Exchange and Localis.

Before entering local government, Roger worked in investment banking for sixteen years, including living and working in Japan for three years. He has written widely on policy issues and is the author of two books.

Carla Guerrera

Headshot of Carla Guerrera member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board

Carla Guerrera is a member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board and lead for Green Places.

As a globally recognized real estate development professional, Carla combines the fields of real estate development and urban planning. Carla has delivered over $1bn of complex, mixed-use real estate development across Canada’s top markets over the past 20 years. Notable projects include leading the West Don Lands waterfront revitalization on Toronto’s waterfront, one of the world’s most advanced waterfront revitalization initiatives.

Carla has been awarded the prestigious Urban Land Institutes Top 40 Under 40 Global Land Use Professionals Award, as well as Business in Vancouver’s Top 40 Under 40 Award.

Carla is the Founder and CEO of Purpose Driven Development and Planning, a company which brings a proven approach to unlocking successful development in our complex urban environments for developers, public sector and First Nations clients to create communities where we can all thrive.

Carla was recently appointed to the Thames Estuary Growth Board, UK’s largest growth opportunity focused on the revitalization along the Thames River with a £1.5bn investment and recovery post-Brexit and post-Covid.

Locally she also serves on the British Columbia Pavilion Corporation Board. Carla is an international thought leader and speaker on innovative approaches to development and city building.

Peter Hogg

Headshot of Peter Hogg member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board

Peter Hogg is a member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board.

Peter is Arcadis’ London City Executive, accountable for key activity in the UK’s capital. He also leads for Arcadis on Place-making. A Fellow of the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors with 24 years’ industry experience he has a keen understanding of how to align built and natural assets to the vision, strategy and key priorities of our clients. He has a particular interest in creating successful cities.

Peter has been involved in some of London’ biggest infrastructure programmes of recent years including the Jubilee Line Extension, St Pancras International Station and Heathrow’s Terminal 5.

Councillor Jeremy Kite MBE

Smiling headshot of Jeremy Kite MBE member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board

Councillor Jeremy Kite MBE is a member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board and the Leader of Dartford Borough Council.

Jeremy has been the Leader since 2006 and a Member of Kent County Council since June 2009, where he is a Deputy Cabinet Member.

Jeremy is a Director of Dartford Football Club and is involved with several local charities and groups. He has a particular interest in civic design – he has worked with designer Wayne Hemingway on a housing development, with architect Ken Shuttleworth on Dartford Dojo, and his council was responsible for commissioning the award-winning Princes Park football stadium.

In 2015 he was appointed to the Board of Ebbsfleet Development Corporation by the Secretary of State.

Jeremy was awarded an MBE in 2012.

 

Vera Kukic

Headshot of Vera Kukic member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board

Vera Kukic is a member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board.

She is a Partner in IBM’s Strategy Consulting business and is the UK lead for Sustainability in the Financial Service sector. As part of leading IBM’s Financial Services UK Sustainability team Vera is focusing on advancing IBM’s purpose in sustainability and broadening the understanding of what role data and technology can play on the sustainability journey.

Vera has 20 years’ experience in the financial services sector which spans a wide range of strategy, operating model design and business restructuring as well as large scale business and technology transformation. The last 5 years of her career have been spent on building teams, competencies, and functions into new business for the consulting firms she works for. Prior to joining IBM, she was with EY and Oliver Wyman.

She holds an MBA from London Business School and a Bachelor of Science Honours (Computer Science and Information Systems) from Rhodes University in South Africa.

Robin Mortimer

Headshot of Robin Mortimer member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board

Robin Mortimer is a member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board.

Robin Mortimer joined the Port of London Authority (PLA) as Chief Executive in 2014. The PLA is responsible for promoting the safe and sustainable use of the tidal River Thames.

Prior to joining the PLA, Robin had 20 years experience in the UK civil service working on transport, environment, infrastructure and overseas development.

Robin was the lead author of the UK Climate Change Act, which became law in 2007. As a Director in Defra, he led the Government’s Adapting to Climate Change programme, oversaw creation of the Canal & River Trust, and directed policy on farming and the environment.

Robin is a member of the CBI’s London Council and, since 2012, a trustee of the United Nations Environment Programme World Conservation Monitoring Centre.

Councillor Baroness Teresa O’Neill OBE

Headshot of Councillor Teresa O'Neill member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board

Councillor Baroness O’Neill of Bexley OBE is a member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board.

She was elected to the London Borough of Bexley to represent Brampton Ward in May 1998 and was re-elected to serve Crook Log Ward following boundary changes. Elected as Leader in May 2008 she has taken her group through four successful election campaign.

Teresa holds a number of posts, including Vice Chair (Leader, Conservative Group) on London Councils, Deputy Chair LGA, Chairman of Local London and a Board Member of Homes England.

In 2015, she was awarded an Order of the British Empire (Officer) for service to the community and local government in London, in April 2022 the Freedom of the City of London for London wider pandemic work & October 2022 the LGIU/CCLA Council Leader of the Year award.

A Londoner through and through, Teresa is passionate about the Thames and all it can offer. She has a keen vision to make sure people have the opportunity to live and work in green surroundings with good access to schools, transport and healthier lifestyles.

On 7 November 2022 Teresa was created Baroness O’Neill of Bexley having received a life peerage in the 2022 Special Honours.

Jules Pipe

Headshot of Jules Pipe member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board

Jules Pipe is a member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board.

Jules Pipe is Deputy Mayor for Planning, Regeneration & Skills. In his role, he is working on key priorities for the Mayor, including revision of the London Plan; major regeneration projects across the capital; ensuring London’s infrastructure needs are delivered to benefit all Londoners; and building a skills system that properly addresses the needs of young people and the economy.

Jules has extensive knowledge of London government, becoming the first directly elected mayor of Hackney in 2002 and serving as Chair of London Councils from 2010 until he joined the Mayor’s team in 2016.

Councillor Darren Rodwell

Headshot of Darren Rodwell member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board

Councillor Darren Rodwell is a member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board and the Leader of Barking & Dagenham Council.

Darren became the Leader in 2014. Since then, he has established the borough as one of the most important growth opportunities in London.

Darren has focused on moving beyond the borough’s industrial past, bringing the community forward as the borough embraces its identity as one of the most forward-thinking parts of London. Under his leadership, the borough has undergone a programme of sustainable regeneration, welcoming world class universities, and ground-breaking start-ups.

Most recently, the capital’s biggest film studio has been launched in the borough across two sites.

Darren is currently the Deputy Chair of London Councils, having served on the Executive since 2016 – first as the Executive Member for City Development and now as the Executive Member for Housing and Planning. In his current role he has prioritised the delivery of truly affordable housing in the capital, fire safety, reducing homelessness and reducing the use of temporary accommodation.

Darren is also a member of the Homes for Londoners Board, Arts Council England, the Arts Council for London and, since September 2019, Vice Chair on the LGA Environment, Economy, Housing and Transport Board.

Both Darren and the Council have won numerous awards, including LGC Council of the Year for 2018 and the LGIU Leader of the Year Award in 2019. Darren was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Education by Coventry University in November 2021, a reflection of his efforts to expand the educational opportunities available to Barking and Dagenham residents.

 

Rupert Wood MRICS

Rupert Wood member of the Thames Estuary Growth Board

Rupert Wood is a member of Thames Estuary Growth Board.

Rupert is Head of Strategic Land at ALMCOR, a MARCOL company, which is a real estate company specialising in investment, development and asset management. Rupert oversees ALMCOR’s strategic land portfolio of large-scale complex regeneration projects in key growth locations, including Thames Enterprise Park in Thurrock.

Prior to joining ALMCOR, Rupert worked for St. Modwen Properties Plc, a FTSE 250 company, as a senior executive, where he was latterly responsible for the group’s £750m income generating portfolio across all real estate sectors and St. Modwen Energy.  Before St Modwen, he was at Lendlease managing major urban regeneration developments in Norwich, Warrington and the Shell Centre redevelopment on the South Bank.

Rupert, having chaired the LandAid Midlands Regional Board, is a member of the LandAid Fundraising Committee, the property industry charity working to ‘End Youth Homelessness’ in the UK.

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