Our directors

  • R Remuneration & Appointments Committee
  • A Audit Committee
  •   Chairman
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Nick Prest

Chairman

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Term in office

Nick became Chairman of Cohort on flotation in March 2006.

Background and experience

After graduating from Oxford in 1974 Nick joined the UK MOD. In 1982 Nick moved to Alvis, the defence contractor, undertaking a variety of roles before becoming Chief Executive in 1989 and Chairman and Chief Executive in 1996. Nick left Alvis following its acquisition by BAE Systems in 2004, by which time the company had become a leading international business in military land systems.

Nick was also Chairman of Aveva Group plc from 2006 until 2012.

External appointments

In addition to being Chairman of Cohort, Nick is also Chairman of Shephard Group, a privately owned media company specialising in defence and aerospace.

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Andrew Thomis

Chief Executive

Term in office

Andrew took over as Chief Executive of Cohort in May 2009.

Background and experience

Andrew graduated with an M.Eng degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering from Imperial College London in 1987. He spent nine years in science, technology and policy roles in the UK MOD. He left in 1996 and, after a period working with public and private sector clients at Capita plc’s management consultancy arm, he joined Alvis in a role covering strategy, M&A and business development. Following the acquisition of Alvis by BAE Systems in 2004, he worked with Nick Prest and Stanley Carter on the creation of Cohort plc, acting as Finance Director during the flotation and subsequently Corporate Development Director. From 2007 to 2009 he was Managing Director of MASS. Andrew is a Fellow of the Institution of Engineering and Technology.

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Simon Walther

Finance Director and Company Secretary

Term in office

Simon joined Cohort as Finance Director in May 2006.

Background and experience

After graduating with a BSc in Toxicology and Pharmacology from University College London, Simon went on to qualify as a Chartered Accountant with Touche Ross in 1992. Simon moved to the Peninsular and Oriental Steam Navigation Company (P&O) in 1993 where he was appointed a Chief Accountant for P&O European Ferries in 1995. He has 20 years’ industry-relevant experience, with previous senior finance roles at Alvis and BAE Systems.

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Stanley Carter

Non-executive Director

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Term in office

Stanley has been with Cohort since its formation, initially as its Chief Executive before becoming Co-Chairman in 2009. In 2015, Stanley stepped down from Co-Chairman to become a Non-executive Director.

Background and experience

Stanley jointly founded Cohort with Nick Prest in 2006 with SCS as the launch vehicle on flotation. Prior to that he was Managing Director of SCS, which he founded in 1992 on leaving the Regular Army. During his military service as a Royal Artillery Officer he held a wide range of posts in the MOD’s central staff, in procurement and at government research establishments, and represented the UK on NATO technical committees. He received an award for the invention of a missile launcher from the UK MOD. He has held a number of directorships in technology companies and has degrees in Technology and Behavioural Science and an MSc in Information Systems.

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Jeff Perrin

Independent Non-executive Director and Senior Independent Director

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Term in office

Jeff joined Cohort on 1 July 2015.  He is Chairman of the Audit Committee.  Jeff was appointed Senior Independent Director on 23 July 2019.

Background and experience

A Chartered Certified Accountant, Jeff has held a number of senior financial positions including roles within Unilever, Oriflame, and the defence businesses of GEC and Radstone Technology Plc. In the latter company, he was also Chief Executive for four years until his departure a year after its acquisition by the General Electric Company in 2006.  He was Chairman of the private equity-backed defence company, Chess Technologies Limited, from 2008 until its acquisition by Cohort on 12 December 2018.

External appointments

Jeff is also Chairman of the private equity-backed defence company Chess Technologies Ltd, a position he has held since 2008.

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Sir Robert Walmsley KCB, FREng

Non-executive Director

Term in office

Sir Robert joined the Board of Cohort on flotation in March 2006. He was Chairman of the Remuneration & Appointments Committee until 23 July 2019.

Background and experience

Sir Robert served in the Royal Navy from leaving school until his final appointment as a Vice Admiral. After retiring from the Navy, he was appointed as Chief of Defence Procurement for the UK MOD, occupying that position from 1996 until 2003. He served on the British Energy board from 2003 until 2009 and until 2012 was a senior adviser at Morgan Stanley International and Chairman of the Major Projects Association. From 2004 until 2015, he served on the board of General Dynamics Corporation in the United States.

External appointments

Sir Robert is on the board of Ultra Electronic Holdings plc and holds a number of other advisory roles in the defence and energy sectors. Since 2013 he has been the independent Chairman of the Department for Work and Pensions’ Universal Credit programme and since 2014 he has been a Crown Representative within the Crown Commercial Service.

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Edward Lowe

Independent Non-executive Director

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Term of office

Ed was appointed to the Board on 1 July 2019, and became Chairman of the Remuneration and Appointments Committee on 23 July 2019.

Background and experience

Ed joined Racal Electronics in 1980 and, over a twenty-year period, undertook a variety of commercial, sales and managerial roles. In 2000, he was appointed Vice President within Thales UK with responsibility for the commercial, sales and strategy functions. In 2005 he was appointed Managing Director of the Thales UK naval activities and led the international business line for naval platforms and services. In 2010 he was appointed Chief Operating Officer for Thales UK with operational responsibility for all Thales UK activities.

External appointments

Ed remains as an adviser to Thales UK.

Subsidiary Managing Directors

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Graham Beall

Group Managing Director, Chess Technologies

Term in office

Graham has held the role of Managing Director of Chess since its formation in 1993

Background and experience

Graham is the founder and Group Managing Director of Chess Dynamics.  He began his career as an apprentice at Philips Electronics, becoming their youngest Mechanical Design Engineer, moving into the defence industry in 1984. As Senior Mechanical Engineer Graham managed the development of new generation servo controlled, high accuracy stabilised radar platforms and positioning and tracking systems for the UK and European defence markets.  His subsequent roles have included Manufacturing Manager and then Lead Engineer for all new development projects. 

Graham set up Chess in 1993, initially focusing on high precision automation products and solutions for the electronics, medical and aerospace sectors. Under his direction it has evolved into a leading provider of surveillance and tracking systems for defence and security customers worldwide. 

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António Marcos Lopes

Managing Director of EID

Term in office

Antonio was appointed as Managing Director of EID in July 2016.

Background and experience

António graduated from the University of Lisbon as an electronics and telecommunications engineer in 1977, immediately joining the Portuguese Navy as an officer. At the same time, he was Assistant Professor of Mathematics at the University of Economics in Lisbon. António joined EID 35 years ago, as a research and development engineer. He assumed the leadership of the Naval Communications Division in 1996 and was appointed to the board of directors in 2000 as an Executive Director of the company. He was appointed Managing Director in July 2016 following Cohort’s acquisition of EID.

From 2001 to 2003 António was a Non-executive Director of STE, Serviços de Telecomunicações e Electrónica, S.A. and from 2001 to 2010 he was a member of the board of directors of NEC Portugal – Telecomunicações e Sistemas S.A.

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Chris Stanley

Managing Director of MASS

Term in office

Chris was appointed as Managing Director of MASS in April 2017.

Background and experience

After graduating from the University of Leicester with a BSc in Astrophysics and obtaining a master’s degree in Microwave Solid State Physics from the University of Portsmouth, Chris started his career designing radar systems and antennas for Racal Defence before spending six years developing radar and IR countermeasures for the RAF at the Electronic Warfare Operational Support Establishment. Chris then spent four years as the Mathematical Modelling Group Manager at GEC Avionics, designing and developing advanced radar systems. During this time, he also gained an MBA from Henley Management College.

Chris managed and directed the Technical Services business unit within the VT Group before moving to MASS in December 2007 as Director of the EWOS division and most recently filling the position of Managing Director.

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Shane Knight

Managing Director of MCL

Term in office

Shane was appointed as Managing Director of MCL in January 2019.

Background and experience

Shane served in the Army until his final appointment as a Captain in the Royal Signals. Throughout his Army career he worked in a range of posts within the Electronic Warfare arena.  He joined MCL in 2003 as Business Development Management (Communications) and became Sales and Marketing Director in 2011 before his appointment to Managing Director in 2019.  Shane has over 15 years business experience in the international defence sector.

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Stephen Hill

Managing Director of SEA

Term in office

Stephen was appointed as Managing Director of SEA in March 2011.

Background and experience

Stephen has held senior managerial positions, predominantly in the international aerospace and defence sector since the mid- 1990s. He began his career in 1983 at GEC-Marconi as an Electronics Engineer, eventually becoming Business Director, with responsibility for the Land Systems electro-optics business at Basildon. In 2000, he moved to Thales, where his roles included Managing Director of the Air Operations business at Wells and Vice President with responsibility for the UK Air Systems division. Prior to joining the Cohort Group, he was Chief Executive of CircleBath, a venture capital-backed private hospital in Bath. Stephen has a first class honours degree in Electrical and Electronic Engineering and a master’s in Engineering Project Management, and is a qualified Chartered Director.

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