Entrepreneurs Advisory Group

Our non-executive advisors introduce the Phoenix team to interesting opportunities, connecting us to entrepreneurs, business owners and other sector experts. From time to time, our non-executive advisors may also sit on the boards of our partner businesses.

Geoffrey Gestetner

Geoffrey Gestetner is the founder of and runs Davidson Holdings Limited which is an owner and active manager of manufacturers of specialist branded UK plumbing and heating products. Davidson’s brands include Cistermiser, Keraflo, Salamander Pumps and Talon.

Previous experience in the sector was gained as Managing Director of the businesses of Aqualisa and Heatrae Sadia Heating.

He has an MA from Cambridge and MBA from Harvard Business School. He is a member of the Council of the City & Guilds Institute.

Sean Williams

After an initial career in industry, Sean then spent almost two decades as a partner in PwC Corporate Finance where he focused on the leisure / consumer sectors and latterly ran their M&A business.

On reaching the big "Five-O" he always planned to start his "3rd career" and now sits on 5 boards – all private equity related – and has a number of private company investments. For Phoenix, he sits on the boards of The Travel Chapter and Bridge Leisure.

Golf, rugby, travel and family take up the rest of his time.

Simon Walker

Simon Walker CBE was Director General of the Institute of Directors from October 2011 to January 2017. He previously served as Chief Executive of the BVCA.

Between 2003 and 2007 Simon worked at Reuters as Director of Corporate Communications and Marketing. He was Communications Secretary to HM The Queen at Buckingham Palace from 2000 to 2003 and earlier served as Director of Corporate Affairs at British Airways. From 1996-1997 Simon worked as a special adviser in the Prime Minister's Policy Unit at 10 Downing Street. Simon was previously a partner at Brunswick, the public relations group.

Simon read Philosophy, Politics and Economics at Oxford, where he was President of the Oxford Union.

Steve Groves

Steve Groves was a founder of Partnership Assurance, established in 2005 and backed by Phoenix. He led the business from 2006 through to a secondary with Cinven in 2008 and a £1.6bn flotation on the LSE in 2013. He recently stepped down following a merger with its largest competitor to form JRP plc.

Steve was also a founder Director of Guardian Financial Services, sold to Swiss Re – also for £1.6bn and is now Chair of Retirement Bridge, a specialist property firm, and a seed investor and adviser to a number of specialist businesses ranging from Financial Services, Classic Cars to Medical Diagnostics.

David Gregson

David is a Trustee of Pro Bono Economics; an advisor to The London Stadium on the Olympic Park; and a member of the Advisory Boards of the Sutton Trust, which seeks to improve social mobility through education; and also of the Apeldoorn Conference Series, which promotes shared understanding between the British and Dutch in areas of common interest.

Previously, David was a co-founder and Chairman of Phoenix. Over his career, he has been a director or Chairman of some thirty companies or charities. Most recently, David has been Chairman of the LTA, the National Governing Body for tennis in Great Britain; Chairman of CGL, the UK's largest social and health care charity; and a Director of LLDC, which is transforming East London following the 2012 Games. David has an MBA from Alliance Manchester Business School (where he was awarded the Alumnus of the Year in 2016) and an MA in Maths and Physics from Cambridge University.

John Treharne

John Treharne is a former accountant and England squash player who’s experience in the fitness industry spans 29 years.

In 1991 John started his first gym business, Dragons Health Clubs, which listed on the London Stock Exchange in 1997, with 22 clubs. He then lent his expertise to premium gym chain Esporta, before he concentrated on the launch of The Gym Group in 2008.

The Gym Group pioneered the low cost gym model. John worked with Phoenix Equity Partners to successfully grow the business and in 2015, The Gym Group became the first UK health and fitness group to debut on the London Stock Exchange in over 15 years.

John stepped down as CEO of The Gym Group in September 2018, but remains on the board as Founder Director.