John Lovering – Chairman

John has been involved in retail for 25 years and has been Chairman of Debenhams, Somerfield, Peacocks and Homebaseduring the last decade. He has also been active in the leisure industry in the last decade and has been Chairman of Fitness First, Odeon Cinemas and pub chains Mitchells and Butlers and The Laurel Pub Company. 

Currently, John is Chairman of Maplin Electronics and Director of foreign companies A/S Solstra and Packlodge Limited. In addition, John is a Governor of Dulwich College and is active in the work of The Woodland Trust and the British Heart Foundation. John served as Retail Trust’s President of Appeal for the charity during his time as Chairman of Peacocks.




Paul Clarke

Paul has recently retired from Barclays where he worked for 40 years. He held a variety of senior roles in Barclays Commercial Bank, most recently the National Director, Retail & Wholesale Sectors, where he had responsibility for over £5bn worth of debt within the sector.

Paul is a well established industry commentator and regularly contributes to publications such as Retail Week, Drapers and the Financial Times. He has written on a wide range of industry issues; recent examples include the winning strategies of the luxury goods retailer. In addition Paul is a regular commentator on the ONS Retail Sales Figures.

Paul’s standing within the industry has been recognised by Drapers, the trade magazine for the fashion industry, which placed Paul within the Top 100 influential people on the UK high street for two years running and voted him number 1 Deal Maker in the same survey.
Ayo Daramola-Martin

Ayo is a professional marketer with 20 years’ experience with roles covering retail property marketing, professional services and industrial services marketing including positions at Grosvenor, PricewaterhouseCoopers and Lloyd’s Register. He now runs his own business, Admotus Marketing, which delivers applied marketing solutions across different business sectors.

Ayo has a BSc honours degree from Manchester University and an MBA from Warwick Business School. He is also a non-executive director (QHS Limited, a UKAS accredited certification body), a governor of Pennthorpe School, a Fellow of the Institute of Marketing, a Freeman of the Worshipful Company of Marketors, a guest lecturer at Oxford Brookes University and a published author.

Avis Darzins

Avis has worked in or on behalf of the retail industry throughout her career. Firstly spending several years at the Arcadia Group being promoted through the ranks in retail operations and buying & merchandising. She spent some time working for privately-owned retail businesses before taking up senior posts at Bhs, Mothercare and Littlewoods where she extended her experience into franchising and large-scale business transformation programme management.

In 2001 she moved to the management consulting, outsourcing and technology firm, Accenture where she holds the position of Partner in their retail practice supporting UK and international retail clients plan and execute business transformation programmes. In 2009 Avis joined BSkyB as their Business Transformation Director.


Richard Newman - Honorary Treasurer

Richard qualified in 1978, and is a Fellow of both the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales, and the Chartered Assocition of Certified Accountants.
He has been in professional practice throughout his career during which time he also served as Finance Director of a fully quoted property company, which Richard assisted in bringing to the market. The business became one of the largest factory outlet organisations in Europe.

His practice consisting of three partners and some twenty staff is based in Fitzroy Square in Central London and the partnership services a clientele spread over a wide range of industries. Richard has considerable experience in auditing both commercial enterprises and charities and advises on both personal and corporate tax matters.
Katherine Payne

Katherine Payne qualified as a solicitor in Scotland before moving to London, where she has lived for many years. She is now Head of Charities at the Mercers’ Company, a leading livery company in the City of London. Katherine is responsible for their sheltered housing services across 6 sites and has over 20 years’ experience of developing and refurbishing specialist housing and facilities for older people.

In addition, Katherine oversees the Company’s annual charitable grants budget which includes a large welfare grants programme. Katherine has been a Trustee of Barts and The London Charity since 2007 and is chairman of its grants committee.


Chris Tideman

The early days of Chris’ 35 years in retailing were with J. Hepworth, the multiple tailors. Through the Eighties he held various posts in The Burton Group including CEO of Burton Retail and Principles for Men, and CEO of the Group’s Retail Services and Distribution Sector.

He co-authored “Retail Marketing Plans” whilst operating as a non-executive director and running his own retail consultancy prior to going to Australia to be CEO of David Jones Ltd. Chris led “DJs”, Australia’s leading group of upmarket department stores to a successful flotation on the ASX. Since returning to the UK, he has served as a Trustee with a number of charitable organisations.

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