People: Listed brewer adds retail heavyweights to its board; Top lawyer joins law firm’s expanding wills and estates team

Wolverhampton-based brewer Marston’s has announced two non-executive appointments to the board.

Bridget Lea and Octavia Morley will join the board as independent non-executive directors with effect from 1 September and 1 January 2020 respectively.

Lea is managing director (North) at J Sainsbury and has had a career working across multiple leading retail brands.  Starting at Marks & Spencer in 1994, she went on to hold senior positions – spanning a wide range of disciplines including sales, operations, marketing, supply chain and digital – within retail corporates such as at Body Shop International, Clarks Shoes, Uniqlo Europe, Oasis Stores, Arcadia Group Ltd and Telefonica UK Ltd/O2.  Most recently, she was director of stores, online and omnichannel at O2 where she led the re-engineering of the store experience, development of an industry-leading digital experience and the omnichannel transformation.

Morley has extensive experience in executive and non-executive roles in retail and multisite companies having held various senior operational and strategic roles across all areas of retail at companies including Asda Stores, Laura Ashley Holdings and Woolworths, she became CEO became and then chair, at LighterLife UK..  She was subsequently appointed managing director at Crew Clothing Co and then went on to become chief executive at OKA Direct Limited.

Morley is currently executive chair of Spicers-Office Team Group Ltd. She is also senior independent director at Card Factory and a non-executive director of Crest Nicholson Holdings and Ascensos Ltd; she is a former non-executive director of John Menzies.

As previously announced, Robin Rowland will step down from the board as a non-executive director of Marston’s at the end of July.

William Rucker, chairman of Marston’s, said: “I am delighted to welcome both Bridget and Octavia to Marston’s.  They are extremely high calibre additions to the board and bring with them extensive experience of a wide range of leading consumer retail businesses which is highly relevant to Marston’s pub retailing and brewing operations.  Their respective skillsets and insight will be of great value to the group and we look forward to working with them.

“On behalf of the board, I would also like to take this opportunity to thank Robin Rowland for his contribution over his nine year tenure as a non-executive director of Marston’s.  His passion, energy and experience of the wider eating out market has been hugely beneficial during his time with the business and we wish him every success with his future ventures.”

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Thursfields Solicitors has recruited an associate director to its expanding Wills & Estates team in Worcester.

Ruth Baker joins the law firm after spending seven years at Willans Solicitors in Cheltenham, where she was made a partner in June 2016. She was trained at Harrison Clark – now Harrison Clark Rickerbys – in Worcester.

Baker has specialised in wills and estate planning, the administration of estates, the creation and administration of trusts, and powers of attorney, focusing on high net-worth clients with complex estates.

Thursfields’ director Shane Miller said: “We’re delighted to have attracted such a skilled lawyer to join us in a senior position in our Worcester office.

“Ruth has built up an enviable reputation in wills and estates, and her wealth of experience will add an extra strength to our expanding team.

“The fact that Thursfields is constantly attracting lawyers of such a high calibre shows how well thought of the firm has become across the Midlands.”

Baker has joined Thursfields at the same time as Cerith Rees, a former professional rugby player, who has joined the company’s Wills & Estates team in Worcester as a solicitor from Bridger & Co in Llandovery.

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