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Our Board

Bill Ferris OBE 

In 1988 Bill became the first Commercial Manager at the Yorkshire Mining Museum (now the National Museum of Coalmining), seeing it through its last phases of development and early years of operation.

He went on to run a series of commercial heritage programmes for Heritage Projects Ltd and later became their Operations Director, and was responsible for seven projects nationally with combined visitor projections in excess of one million a year.

He joined Chatham Historic Dockyard Trust as Chief Executive in December 2000, where he developed a strategy for long-term revenue sustainability. More than £30 million has since been raised to invest in the site, and today it accommodates 115 homes, more than 100 businesses and welcomes more than 170,000 visitors a year. The Historic Dockyard’s combined activities generate more than £16m to the local economy.

Mark Anderson

Mark Anderson is Customer and Commercial Director at global passenger transport operator Go-Ahead Group, with a remit spanning marketing, communications, customer experience, sustainability and innovation across bus and rail companies on three continents. He has worked within Go-Ahead for seven years and works across diverse strategic areas from climate change and future mobility to capturing the voice of the customer.

Prior to joining the rail and bus industry Mark Anderson served as Head of Marketing at the LEGOLAND® Windsor Resort during which time the world’s first fully LEGO® themed hotel opened on site. He was also Sales and Marketing Manager at Warwick Castle when the attraction was successfully launched to the international market.

Mark has also held marketing roles in high street fashion retail and the mail order sector, and was a founding member of destination marketing consortium Shakespeare’s England. Mark regularly speaks at events on topics relating to tourism, climate change, innovation and sustainable transport.

Doug Bannister

Appointed in January 2019, Doug is the CEO of the Port of Dover, the busiest port in Europe.  Prior to joining the Port of Dover, Doug was Group CEO for Ports of Jersey. In addition to Ports of Jersey, Doug has had over 25 years’ experience in leading international businesses.  This experience included Managing Director of Maersk Line UK, as well as various executive roles managing shipping businesses in North America, Europe, Asia, India, Australia and New Zealand. Doug is skilled at turnaround, restructuring and transformation of capital intensive transportation businesses.

He holds an MBA in International Marketing (Seton Hall University, New Jersey 1997) and a B.A in Economics (St Lawrence University, New York 1988).  In 2016 Doug was awarded the Institute of Directors Jersey Director of the Year for large businesses.

Born in Summit, New Jersey, USA, Doug holds dual British and American citizenship. 

Joanna Richardson

Joanna holds an Executive MBA (London Business School, 2019) and a BA in Modern Languages with Interpreting (University of Sheffield, 2004) and joined Shepherd Neame in 2018 after over 15 years’ experience in the international drinks and hospitality industry.

Joanna has developed, led and embedded a new consumer-centric integrated marketing strategy across all parts of the business, step-changing the approach to recruit new audiences and reappraise the existing consumer-base through a variety of brand, PR, pub and partner initiatives.  Joanna also champions a strong commercially-focused digital approach and has pioneered a new social media strategy which has resulted in significant reputational and consumer loyalty gain.

She has also played a key role in award-winning hospitality mentoring initiative “Plan B” and has been involved in a number of coaching and mentoring projects.

Prior to Shepherd Neame, Joanna held senior international marketing and business development roles in Bacardi, Pernod Ricard and Edrington, based in Lisbon, Helsinki, Glasgow and London. 

Joanna has a real passion for travel and took a career break in 2014 to spend nine months solo backpacking through South East Asia and South America, taking part in a number of volunteering projects.  

Deirdre Wells OBE
Chief Executive Officer

Deirdre Wells OBE was appointed as CEO of Go To Places in September 2018 and is also CEO of Visit Kent, the official Destination Management Organisation of Kent. 

Prior to her appointment, Deirdre was Chief Executive of UKinbound, representing nearly 400 UK inbound tourism businesses. During her tenure at UKinbound, Deirdre was a passionate advocate on behalf of the industry on a broad range of issues including the impact of BREXIT,  Visas, Air Passenger Duty and skills.  

Deirdre joined UKinbound following 20 years in Government at the Department for Culture, Media and Sport working on a variety of high-profile projects including the Millennium Dome, Liverpool Capital of Culture 2008 and the 2012 London Olympic and Paralympic Games.

Deirdre was awarded an OBE in 2007 in recognition of her work in leading the team behind the national memorial services for the UK victims of the 9/11 attacks, the Bali bombings, the 2004 Asian Tsunami and the London 7/7 attacks.

Appointed the Government’s Head of Tourism in 2010, Deirdre was instrumental in the delivery of the GREAT campaign – an ambitious and far-reaching marketing campaign aimed to help the world discover why Britain is such a great place to visit, study, work, invest, and do business.

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