Leadership and governance

Our leadership team has the experience and expertise to provide industry-leading business insight. Our executive and non-executive directors come from a range of backgrounds and industries - so we’re confident we have the best team to help evolve and grow.

Board of Directors

Graham Holden
Graham Holden
Non-Executive Chairman

Graham has significant experience as a director at various large listed companies. He joined the KCOM board as a non-executive director in November 2007 and became our non executive chairman on 1 April 2014.

Before this, Graham held senior roles at Marshalls plc, a listed Yorkshire-based landscaping company. He was group chief executive there from 2004 until 2013 and before that was a divisional chief executive, starting in 2000. He originally joined the business as group financial director in 1992 and is a Chartered Accountant.

Graham is based in Yorkshire, so he understands the regional market. Graham brings considerable financial knowledge and expertise to the board. Graham also is a Visiting Fellow in the School of Management at Cranfield University.

Board committees

  • Nomination Committee Chairman
  • Remuneration Committee Member
Chief Executive Graham Sutherland
Graham Sutherland
Chief Executive

Graham joined the Board as Chief Executive on 15 October 2018. He has a strong track record in strategic transformation and driving improved financial and operational performance. He has a wealth of experience in the communications industry and will bring a fresh perspective to the Board and leadership of the business.

Graham has held a number of senior leadership positions in the UK telecommunications services sector serving both consumer and business markets. Over the last decade he has held a number of Chief Executive roles within BT Group PLC, including BT Business and Public Sector and BT Ireland (covering consumer, business and network interests across the island of Ireland). Previously he held senior roles at NTL and Bombardier.

Interim Chief Financial Officer Anna Bielby
Anna Bielby
Interim Chief Financial Officer

Anna joined KCOM in 2014. During her time here, she has held several roles including that of finance director. As FD she led the creation of a group-wide finance function.

In June 2018, Anna stepped up to take on new responsibilities as interim chief financial officer, joining the board in July 2018.

Before joining KCOM, Anna spent 13 years at PricewaterhouseCoopers, most recently as a director. She is a Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of England and Wales.

Bill Halbert
Bill Halbert
Executive Director

Bill has been with us since he joined as a non-executive director in 2006. He stepped up to become executive chairman in 2009.Bill was then appointed as Chief Executive on 1 April 2014.

He has worked in the information technology sector for more than 40 years. Prior to starting at KCOM, Bill founded BT’s global consultancy and integration subsidiary Syntegra – where he was chief executive for 13 years.

Bill has also had many years of experience of working on the board of a listed company, and currently is a director at power supplies company, Excelsys Ltd and artificial intelligence specialist, Tacit Connexions Ltd.

Following the appointment of Graham Sutherland as Group Chief Executive on 15 October 2018 Bill will remain with the business for a sufficient period to ensure a smooth transition of his existing responsibilities and to complete some activities relating to a number of strategic projects.

Senior Independent Non-Executive Director Patrick De Smedt
Patrick De Smedt
Senior Independent Non-Executive Director

Patrick has been on the board of KCOM since January 2016. He has a huge amount of experience in the technology sector, having held senior positions at Microsoft between 1983 and 2006. There he founded the Benelux, subsidiaries of Microsoft, led the development of the Western European business, and served as chairman of Microsoft for Europe, the Middle East and Africa.

He’s a great strategist in the communications sector and has taken on a range of non-executive roles in his career, which have given him extensive experience on the boards of listed companies. Patrick is also a senior independent director at Pagegroup plc and Morgan Sindall Group plc, and chairman of GCI Limited.

Board committees

  • Audit Committee Member
  • Remuneration Committee Member
  • Nomination Committee Member
Non-executive director Liz Barber
Liz Barber
Non-Executive Director

Liz joined the KCOM board in April 2015, bringing a breadth of financial experience to the team.
A Fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, Liz was a partner at Ernst & Young from 2001 and its head of audit for the North of England from 2006 to 2010. She joined Kelda Group in 2010 as group director of finance, regulation and markets.

As well as her full-time role at Kelda, Liz is a non-executive member of the board for Leeds University, a member of the Prince of Wales Accounting for Sustainability Group and a Steering Group member of the Two Percent Club, which seeks to support balanced board memberships.

Board committees

  • Audit Committee Chairman
  • Remuneration Committee Member
  • Nomination Committee Member
Non-executive director Peter Smith
Peter Smith
Non-Executive Director

Peter joined the KCOM board in January 2015, having worked for L.E.K. Consulting LLP for 30 years.

He brings to the team a broad range of experience in assisting companies across a range of sectors in setting their strategic plans and helping optimise performance. Prior to joining L.E.K., Peter worked for Schlumberger Wireline in the Middle East as a field engineer and a line manager.

Board committees

  • Audit Committee Member
  • Remuneration Committee Chairman
  • Nomination Committee Member
Sally Jones
Sally Jones
General Counsel and Company Secretary

Sally joined KCOM as General Counsel and Company Secretary in November 2018.

Prior to joining KCOM, Sally was the General Counsel and Company Secretary at Zenith Vehicle Contracts for eight years and before that was a corporate lawyer at Addleshaw Goddard and Squire Patton Boggs.

Corporate governance

We’re committed to high standards of corporate governance and responsiveness to stakeholder expectations. We take full account of the principles of good governance, and in particular the UK Corporate Governance Code.

We report as fully and transparently as possible each year in our Annual report and accounts on our methods of corporate governance and on whether we have complied with the UK Corporate Governance Code.

We regularly review published guidance regarding corporate governance and, wherever possible, we aim to follow that best practice.

 

Board Committees

Find out who sits on our various board committees and what these committees do.

The Board has established and delegated specific responsibilities to audit, remuneration and nomination committees. Committee meetings are always minuted, and a committee update is provided to the board after each meeting.

Each committee has its own report that sets out membership and attendance at the meetings throughout the year.

 

Board committee members

Audit committee members

  • Liz Barber (Chair)
  • Patrick De Smedt
  • Peter Smith

Remuneration Committee

  • Peter Smith (Chair)
  • Liz Barber
  • Patrick De Smedt
  • Graham Holden

Nomination Committee

  • Graham Holden (Chair)
  • Liz Barber
  • Patrick De Smedt
  • Peter Smith

Board committee attendees by invitation

Audit Committee

  • Graham Holden
  • Graham Sutherland
  • Anna Bielby
  • Sally Jones
  • External Auditors

Remuneration Committee

  • Graham Sutherland
  • Sally Jones

Nomination Committee

  • Graham Sutherland
  • Sally Jones

Terms of reference

Executive Leadership Team

The Executive Directors Graham Sutherland and Anna Bielby work with the Executive Leadership Team (ELT) to shape the future strategy of the business. The ELT has collective responsibility for investing in and driving opportunities that are consistent with supporting long-term sustainable growth plans.

Stephen Long OBE
Stephen Long OBE
Managing Director

Business area - Enterprise

Stephen joined KCOM in January 2013. Prior to that he was Director of the Enterprise Business Unit at Fujitsu, responsible for the UK private sector. An engineering graduate, he retired from the Royal Air Force as a Wing Commander in 2000. Stephen has also worked for Hewlett Packard and in 2007 joined the board of Adecco UK, a subsidiary of the world’s largest recruitment and general staffing company.

Sean Royce
Sean Royce
Managing Director

Business area - Hull and East Yorkshire and Technology, Service and Operations

Sean joined the business in 1989 and has held a number of senior roles within KCOM including finance and commercial operations director. He leads our Hull and East Yorkshire operations as well as our Regulatory, Engineering and Customer Service Operations teams. He is also responsible for managing the full lifecycle of our product portfolio and the product and technology roadmap for our business.

Sean is the vice chair of the East Yorkshire branch of the Institute of Directors and a governor at Hull’s Ron Dearing UTC (university technical college). He also helped establish Hull’s Centre for Digital Innovation (C4DI).

Iain Shearman
Iain Shearman
Managing Director

Business area - National Network Services

Iain Shearman has led the National Network Services business at KCOM since its inception in 2017. He joined KCOM in 2000 and founded and developed the channel business. Since then, Iain has held a number of senior sales, product management and operations-related roles at KCOM with a focus on the development of network and related application solutions and markets.

Mike Davies
Mike Davies
Chief Information Officer

Mike joined KCOM in 2006, and has been focused on evolving the business from a technological standpoint. Prior to that, he worked in financial services for a leading consumer lending business, where he was focused on transformation and joint ventures with leading financial institutions. As CIO, he currently heads our IT and Estates functions for the business.

Cathy Phillips
Cathy Phillips
Chief Marketing Officer

Cathy has been at KCOM since 1995. She leads the teams responsible for brand management and marketing, media relations, financial PR and internal communications. She is also responsible for KCOM's community relations programme, leading relationships that include KCOM's patronage of The Prince's Trust and its partnership legacy with Hull UK City of Culture 2017.

Chris Whitaker
Chris Whitaker
HR Director for Business Services

Chris joined KCOM in 2000, having worked in the public sector for nine years in various HR roles. His career at KCOM has focused on employee relations, pensions and business partnering. He’s currently involved in our approach to achieving gender pay equality and advising the remuneration committee on governance, pay and reward matters. Chris is a graduate of Huddersfield University.

Related pages

History

We started life as the telephone department within the Hull Municipal Corporation and in the subsequent 114 years we’ve evolved and transformed into the business we are today.

Customer case studies

We’re privileged to work with some of the UK’s biggest names in retail, financial services, insurance, transportation and the public sector.

Strategy

Our goal is to make life easier and better for our customers by creating greater value from the way they interact, collaborate and connect with what matters to them.

Partners

We work closely with carefully selected partners and use our skills and experience to design, create and support solutions based on their market leading technologies.