The Board of Directors

Presenting the current Board of Directors of DS Smith Plc with Miles Roberts as the Group Chief Executive and Geoff Drabble as the Chairman.

Name Position
Geoff Drabble Chairman
Miles Roberts Group Chief Executive
Adrian Marsh Group Finance Director
Celia Baxter Non-Executive Director
Alina Kessel Non-Executive Director
David Robbie Non-Executive Director
Louise Smalley Non-Executive Director
Rupert Soames Senior Independent Director
Iain Simm

Group General Counsel & Company Secretary

Geoff Drabble - Chairman

geoff drabble.jpg

  • Appointed Chairman of the Board on 3 January 2021.
  • Appointed to the Board on 1 September 2020 as a non-Executive Director. He is Chairman and a member of the Nomination Committee and a member of the Remuneration Committee.

Skills and experience

Geoff is Non-Executive Chairman of Ferguson plc and a Non-Executive Director of Howden Joinery Group Plc. Geoff served for 12 years as Chief Executive of Ashtead Group plc, the FTSE 100 industrial equipment rental company. He was previously an executive director of The Laird Group plc and held a number of senior management positions at Black & Decker.

Geoff’s wealth of industrial and international experience, combined with his experience of chairing boards of listed companies and his awareness of both the non-executive and chief executive perspective, means that his skills and experience contribute to the Board’s practical understanding of good governance in action, balancing stakeholders’ interests across the range of issues considered by the Board, including environmental, social and governance matters.

Miles Roberts - Group Chief Executive

  • Appointed to the Board as an Executive Director and as Group Chief Executive on 4 May 2010.
  • Member of the Nomination and General Purposes Committees.

Skills and experience

He is a non-Executive Director of Aggreko plc. He was previously Chief Executive of McBride plc from July 2005 until April 2010 having originally joined as its Group Finance Director in January 2002. 

As Group Chief Executive Miles leads the executive management of the Group and is responsible for DS Smith’s overall environmental, social and governance (ESG) performance and its clear objectives at the centre of our business model. He chairs the Group’s Health, Safety, Environment and Sustainability Committee that monitors the establishment of goals, reporting and related governance procedures.

Miles’ strong leadership skills combined with his clear strategic mindset, rooted in the practicality of his engineering and accountancy training, means that his skills and experience, and ability to identify material risks and sustainable growth opportunities for the Group’s business, contribute to the Board’s clear strategic vision.

Adrian Marsh - Group Finance Director

  • Appointed to the Board as an Executive Director and as Group Finance Director on 24 September 2013.
  • Member of the General Purposes Committee.

Skills and experience

He is a non-Executive Director of John Wood Group PLC and Chair of its Audit Committee. He was previously Group Director of Tax, Treasury and Corporate Finance of Tesco PLC. Prior to this he was European CFO at AstraZeneca plc and CFO Global Building Products at Pilkington plc. 

Adrian’s depth of experience in a range of financial roles in large listed multinationals means that his skills and experience contribute to the Board’s understanding of all aspects of the financial implications, whether risks or opportunities, of both the routine and project aspects of the Group’s business and operations.

Celia Baxter - Non-Executive Director

  • Appointed to the Board on 9 October 2019 as a non-Executive Director
  • Chairman and member of the Remuneration Committee. Member of the Nomination and Audit Committees.

Skills and experience

Celia is the senior independent director at Senior plc, where she is also the remuneration committee chair. Her early executive career was with Ford Motor Company and KPMG.  She has held HR positions with Hays plc, Enterprise Oil Plc, Tate & Lyle Plc and most recently was Director of Group HR at Bunzl plc where she was responsible for all ESG activities for 13 years. As a non-executive director, she was on the board of NV Bekaert SA until May 2020 and on the board of RHI Magnesita N.V. until June 2021.

Celia’s background of working in a range of sectors means that, as well as her experience as a remuneration committee chairman, her understanding of employee dynamics and ESG issues, she brings extensive and practical business knowledge to the Board.

Alina Kessel - Non-Executive Director

  • Appointed to the Board on 1 May 2020 as a non-Executive Director.
  • Member of the Nomination, Remuneration and Audit Committees.

Skills and experience

Alina is a Global Client Leader at WPP, a leading international marketing communications company and her current role with WPP includes working with global clients on their sustainability agenda.  She has over 25 years of experience building global brands for large multinational clients, helping them grow their business through communications, experience, commerce and technology. Originally from the Ukraine and a US national, Alina has lived and worked in the UK, US, Australia and Germany, where she was CEO of Grey Advertising and, later, of DDB Tribal Group.

Alina’s experience of living, as well as working, in a number of different countries, including the US, combined with her expertise in marketing and communications means that her skills and experience will contribute an additional perspective to the Board’s discussions, particularly when considering the interests of employees (based in over 30 countries) and our global customers and discussing how to communicate key non-financial aspects of our business.

David Robbie – Non-Executive Director

  • Appointed to the Board on 11 April 2019 as a non-Executive Director.
  • Chairman and member of the Audit Committee. Member of the Nomination and  Remuneration Committees.

SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE

David is currently a Non-Executive Director of easyJet plc. He was the Senior Independent Director and Chair of the Audit Committee at FirstGroup plc until June 2021. Prior to that he served as finance director of can-maker Rexam PLC, before its £4.3 billion acquisition by the NYSE listed, Ball Corporation, in 2016. Before his role at Rexam, David served in senior finance roles at BTR plc before becoming Group Finance Director at CMG plc in 2000 and then Chief Financial Officer at Royal P&O Nedloyd N.V. in 2004. He served as a non-executive director of the BBC between 2006 and 2010 and as chairman of their audit committee. David qualified as a chartered accountant at KPMG.

David’s strong financial, risk management and corporate finance experience combined with his international and strategic mindset and deep and practical governance experience with over 20 years serving as a director on FTSE boards means that his skills and experience add depth to the Board’s discussions in these areas.

Louise Smalley - Non-Executive Director

  • Appointed to the Board as a non-Executive Director on 23 June 2014.
  • Member of the Nomination, Remuneration and Audit Committees.

Skills and experience

She was Group Human Resources Director of Whitbread PLC and for nine years until August 2021 an Executive Director of Whitbread PLC. She previously worked in the oil industry, with BP and Esso Petroleum. Louise is an alumna of the Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership and has experience of leading timely evolutions to sustainability strategies.

Louise’s recent experience as a serving listed company executive director, combined with her extensive knowledge of progressive people management practices in multi-site large scale businesses means that her skill and experience contribute to the Board’s focus on the importance of enabling everyone who works for the Group, whatever their background, to realise their potential.

Rupert Soames   – Senior Independent Director

  • Appointed to the Board on 1 March 2019 as a non-Executive Director.
  • Appointed Senior Independent Director on 3 September 2019. 
  • Member of the Nomination, Remuneration and Audit Committees.

SKILLS AND EXPERIENCE

Rupert is currently Group Chief Executive Officer at Serco Group plc and was previously Chief Executive at Aggreko plc, and Chief Executive of Misys plc Banking and Securities Division. Until July 2016 Rupert was also Senior Independent Director of Electrocomponents plc and a member of their Remuneration, Nomination and Audit Committees.

Rupert’s hands on experience of the UK plc environment as a serving CEO, balancing the management of risk and reward, combined with the wealth of his international operational experience means that his skills and experience contribute to the Board’s international outlook, embedded in a clear-sighted view of operational realities in today’s world.

Iain Simm - Group General Counsel and Company Secretary

  • Appointed as Group General Counsel and Company Secretary
    on 6 June 2016.

Skills and experience

He has previously held General Counsel and Company Secretary roles with Signature Aviation plc and P&O Ports Ltd. He undertook his legal training with Slaughter and May and worked for a number of years in their corporate and commercial department.