Peter Gray, Chairman and CEO
In 1991 having previously worked for Lovell Construction as one of its youngest site managers, Peter set up BMBC a global book supply company with his brother James. From 1991 to 2001 Peter ran the operational management of the business including IT, customer services and operations in a period of significant growth. Also during this time a large number of acquisitions were undertaken including in 2000, BMBC's acquisition of John Coutts Library Services in both Canada and North America. Following this acquisition the Group was renamed as Coutts Information Services. Latterly in 2001 the Group acquired John Smith & Son, and the library supply assets were merged into Coutts with the campus retail business being run separately under the John Smith's brand.
Whilst retaining an interest in Coutts as a Non-Executive Director (a position he held until its sale to Ingram Industries Inc in 2006), Peter took on the role of Chairman and CEO of John Smith's and set a new strategic direction for the company.
At the time of acquisition, John Smith's had a retail turnover of £6m with all retail shops based in Scotland. The new drive for growth saw the Company quickly open a host of new stores in the UK and EIRE and also the placing of a significant investment in Botswana with the opening of a store and office premises at the University of Botswana. It is from here that the current International Division is based.
In 2004 Peter led the acquisition of Hammicks Legal, part of the Hammicks Bookshop Group with a strong and distinct brand in the provision of legal information around the world.
In 2006, Aztec Retail, the specialist retail software company was acquired enabling the Group to put IT at the heart of its business development. In particular it has enabled the company to develop technologically robust models that have great synergy with the new funding frameworks in Higher Education.
Under Peter's leadership John Smith's has become one of the strongest growing companies in the market. Turnover has grown consistently and the company continues to re-invest in its markets and develop up-to-date business models with integrity and value, particularly in the Higher Education sector
Andrew Moore, Group CFO
Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants, with 12 years post qualification experience at a senior level.
Initially trained with Ernst & Young, within their Corporate Recovery Division. Transferred to industry whilst qualifying, working for an aerospace component manufacturer, part of the FR Group PLC and within the engineering sector of Trafalgar House PLC.
Since qualification, Andrew's appointments have been with privately owned companies within the chemicals and oils industry and latterly with a manufacturing company supplying national supermarket accounts.
Andrew joined JS Group in 2004 as Finance Controller quickly becoming a full Executive Member of the Board as Finance Director and more recently Group Chief Finance Officer.
Peter Lake, Business Development Director
Peter joined JS Group in 2011 having previously worked in a number of senior roles at Thomson Reuters. Peter was CEO of Sweet & Maxwell from 2003 to 2011 and was also responsible for Thomson Reuters legal businesses in Europe and Asia. As well as general management roles, Peter led the development of Westlaw online services in the UK, Germany and India and was responsible for the acquisition of software and information businesses in the UK, Europe, Middle East and Asia. Before joining Thomson Reuters, Peter had worked for Reed Elsevier and Pearson.
Alan Leitch, Campus Director
Alan has worked in the UK academic book trade for over 30 years and his career has included senior management roles in both bookselling and publishing sales, giving him a unique experience of the academic and specialist market and an extensive network of professional contacts.
Having started his career as a shop floor bookseller in London in 1980, Alan then spent nearly 10 years in publishing sales with Routledge, firstly as a sales representative and then as UK Sales Manager. He returned to bookselling in 1994 and his extensive retail experience includes 4 years as Managing Director of Blackwell's UK, where he was also responsible for the company's UK library supply and online operations.
After leaving Blackwell's, Alan became Divisional Director of Hammicks Local Bookshops prior to the sale of that business to Ottakar's in 2003 and then founded his own business, Compass Academic Ltd, providing independent sales representation and market management for academic and specialist publishers. He joined JS Group as Marketing Director in 2004 and was appointed Director of the JS Campus Division at the end of 2007.
Gareth Robinson, General Manager, Hammicks Legal Information Services
Gareth has spent 17 years transforming and significantly growing small and medium size enterprises and has raised over $100M in private equity funding and completed four successful trade sales and one IPO. He joined JS Group in 2012 and sees the professional information market as a real opportunity for growth given the changing landscape driven by the adoption of digital solutions.
Gareth was educated at the London School of Economics and spent his early career in accountancy.
Brad Bence, IT Director, Aztec Retail Solutions
Brad Bence is IT Director for the JS Group and has been working in the IT industry for over 20 years. Brad's depth of experience, technical skills and management capabilities help the JS Group leverage the very best technology to deliver leading edge solutions and services for its customers and staff.
Brad has worked in both software and hardware disciplines gaining an in depth understanding of the design, development and maintenance processes in each area.
He has been instrumental in delivering innovative solutions for many companies throughout his career.
Andy Free, Divisional Director and General Manager, John Smith's International
Andy is a 30 year veteran of the Publishing and Bookselling industry and has worked at a senior management level within all the major industry sectors.
Starting his career with Longman Publisher's Africa and Caribbean division, Andy switched to International Library Supply in the late 1980's, continuing his involvement in Africa and the developing world before joining Blackwell's to head up their Publisher relations and special projects unit. Following a period of working on electronic and digital content management and print on demand technology, Andy joined Coutts Library and Information Services before moving over to JS Group in 2005 to take up the reins of the International division based in Botswana.
Andy returned to the UK at the end of 2009 and although still responsible for the International Division works closely with colleagues in the UK in the development of the Aspire business.
Stuart Lindsay BSc FCA, Non Executive Director
Stuart Lindsay has been a Non Executive Director with JS Group since 2003. He is a Chartered Accountant whose career spans 30 years with Deloitte, 19 as a partner, and subsequently as an independent director/adviser.
He was a Corporate Finance Partner with Deloitte until 2003 and during his time with the firm established three successful businesses and was seconded to government for a year. Stuart has worked in most sectors, company sizes and stages of development and has experience of both public and private companies and in public, private equity and banking finance markets.
Since leaving Deloitte he has established his own consultancy business and acts as non-executive director or strategic advisor to a number of public and private companies.
Stuart offers strong analytical, diagnostic and financial management skills. As a Non Executive Director on the Board he offers a strategic perspective and has been able to draw on a strong track record.
James Gray, Non Executive Director
James Gray is Chairman and CEO of Verso Capital Group a private investment firm which specialises in technology investments in the US and the UK. James sits on the boards of a number of companies both in the UK and the US covering a range of different industries.
Starting his career as a registered stock exchange trader, James worked in finance and IT sales and marketing until 1991 when he set up, along with his brother Peter, BMBC, a book supplier to libraries worldwide. From a standing start the company grew rapidly, culminating in its acquisition of John Coutts Library Services in North America in 2000 and of the John Smith and Son Group in 2001.
The businesses operated from key locations in USA, Canada, Europe and Southern Africa, trading with some 120 different countries around the world. In 2004 James founded MyiLibrary as part of the Coutts Group which has become one of the world's leading digital content platforms used by libraries worldwide. MyiLibrary is now used by millions of students throughout the world and has concluded landmark deals with key University groups and Government education departments across the globe.
In December 2006, under James's leadership, Coutts Information Services along with its eBook business MyiLibrary was divested from the John Smith & Son Group and was sold to Ingram Industries Inc. a company based in Nashville Tennessee, with extensive interests in the book business.
James took up the role of CEO and President of Ingram Digital Group in Nashville and led the push for Ingram to build a comprehensive digital offering for publishers, retailers, libraries and students.
The business signed a land mark deal with Microsoft in 2007 to digitize content for Windows Live and worked with Apple, Amazon, Sony, Barnes and Noble and other key players in supporting their eBook offerings. Ingram also built key services for publishers such as Core Source, a Digital asset management system which is now the industry leader in this space used by hundreds of global publishers to distribute their digital content to their channel partners.
In 2009 James was appointed to the role of Chief Strategy Officer for all the Ingram Content Group Companies. James left Ingram in January 2010 to set up Verso Capital Group and concentrate on public company investment.