Abcam Board and Company Secretary
Key to committees/roles:
- E Executive
- N Nomination
- A Audit and Risk
- R Remuneration
Murray Hennessy MBA
Appointment: November 2011
Background: After an early career as a management consultant in the London, Tokyo and Boston offices of Bain & Company, Murray held a number of senior positions in the restaurant industry with PepsiCo and Yum Brands and also led an internet start-up. Between 2001 and 2004, Murray was the Commercial Director of John Lewis Department Stores, where he pioneered the store’s online presence, johnlewis.com. Following this, Murray became Chief Executive of Avis Europe plc, the car rental company, until 2008. Murray then took the role of Chief Executive of thetrainline.com, the online train ticket retailer, until June 2014.
Current external appointments: Murray is Chairman of TGIF UK (Thank God It’s Friday, UK), Non-Executive Director for SEDCO Holding Company (Saudi Arabia), Chairman of Receipt Bank, Chairman of Talon Outdoor and a Non-Executive Director of Great Wolf Lodges.
Skills and experience: Murray has an impressive track record of working internationally in customer-facing industries, as well as significant experience of online businesses. His experience across various consumer-facing sectors where technology plays a key role is valuable to Abcam’s digital and customer-facing strategy and his background in management consulting and executive leadership positions supports Abcam’s strategy development.
Alan Hirzel MS, MBA
Chief Executive Officer
Appointment: January 2014
Background: Alan joined Abcam as Chief Marketing Officer in 2013 to implement the growth strategy he defined with the Board and the CEO. In 2014, he became CEO and succeeded Abcam founder Jonathan Milner. Prior to joining Abcam, Alan spent 14 years with Bain & Company helping companies grow organically and through acquisition. Earlier in his career, he led product innovation efforts for several brands at Kraft Foods. He was trained as a life science researcher with BS and MS degrees from Cornell University. He also has a passion for social enterprise and was involved in establishing two social venture philanthropy organisations in the UK and later acted as a Trustee for the National Citizen’s Service Trust.
Current external appointments: Alan has no external appointments.
Skills and experience: Alan brings the Abcam Board an impressive combination of a strong scientific background, global business and leadership experience as well as strong consumer knowledge. Alan has a keen focus on the consumer, helping Abcam’s strategic vision to be a successful global business by placing the customer at the heart of the business.
Gavin Wood, BA (Hons) ACA
Chief Financial Officer
Appointment: September 2016
Background: Gavin is a chartered accountant who started his career in practice in London before moving to Grant Thornton's Thames Valley office. After five years in practice Gavin moved to Unipart Group of Companies where he had a number of roles of increasing responsibility including Global ERP implementations and Business Unit Controller. Gavin then moved into the life sciences sector and spent nearly a decade at Nasdaq quoted Affymetrix Inc in a variety of roles, most recently as Executive Vice President & Chief Financial Officer leading the global Finance and Information Technology functions.
Current external appointments: Gavin has no external appointments.
Skills and experience: Gavin has over twenty years' experience as an accounting professional with broad and international exposure in a number of sectors and roles including corporate, statutory and operational accounting, project management and investor relations.
Jonathan Milner, PhD
Appointment: April 1998
Background: Having worked in the life sciences industry for over ten years as an academic researcher, Jonathan identified the market opportunity for supplying high quality antibodies to support protein interaction studies and, in 1998, founded Abcam with Dr David Cleevely and Professor Tony Kouzarides.
Current external appointments: Jonathan is a Non-Executive Director of Horizon Discovery Group plc, The Evolution Education Trust, Repositive Ltd, Syndicate Room Group Ltd and HealX. He is also Chairman of Axol Bioscience Ltd, PhoreMost Ltd, Definigen Limited and CamAllergy Ltd. Jonathan holds an Executive Director position at Meltwind Limited, being a designated member of Meltwind Advisory LLP, and is a member of the Advisory Panel of Cambridge Innovation Capital plc.
Skills and experience: Jonathan is an experienced entrepreneur and investor and is passionate about supporting UK life science and high-tech start-ups. He has provided considerable investment and support to over 40 companies and has assisted three AIM IPOs.
Louise Patten, MA (Oxon)
Non-executive and Senior Independent Director
Appointment: March 2014
Background: Having started her career in corporate and investment banking, Louise moved into management consultancy and became a Board Director for the Hilton Group. Since then she has served on a succession of multinational listed company boards for more than 20 years as a Non-Executive Director, Senior Independent Director, a Remuneration Committee Chairman and a company Chairman at companies including the retailers Marks & Spencer plc, GUS plc and Somerfield plc.
Current external appointments: Louise is currently a Non-Executive Director of the FTSE 100 property group Intu Properties plc, a senior advisor to Bain & Company and a Non-Executive Director of Arthur J. Gallagher Insurance Brokers Limited.
Skills and experience: Louise’s highly recognised career in business, with her extensive board and corporate governance experience, brings Abcam the knowledge and proficiency required to support its strategic growth plans and, whilst doing this, ensures that the Abcam Board is led by a robust governance framework.
Sue Harris, BSc ACMA
Appointment: December 2014
Background: A chemist by training, Sue began her career at Ford Motor Co. before moving to oil company Amerada Hess. She subsequently held senior executive roles at Marks & Spencer plc across finance, and latterly as Head of Corporate Development and Group Treasurer, and Managing Director Finance at Standard Life, where she led the process to float the company in 2006. She then joined Lloyds Banking Group (LBG), where she was Finance Director of, respectively, Cheltenham and Gloucester, LBG’s Retail Bank and LBG Group Finance, and latterly Group Audit Director. Previously, Sue was a Non-Executive Director of St. James’s Place (representing LBG), a member of the audit and remuneration committees of the British Bankers’ Association, chair of trustees for KCP Youth and during a ten-year association with Mencap chaired both the finance and audit committees.
Current external appointments: Sue is an independent Non-Executive Director of Bank of Ireland UK, Chair of the Audit and Assurance Council, a member of the Codes and Standards Committee of the Financial Reporting Council, a Non-Executive Director of Schroder & Co. Limited, a member of the Audit and Risk Committee of Schroder Wealth Management Division and a Non-Executive Director of Barclays Pension Funds Trustees Limited.
Skills and experience: Sue has over 30 years' of financial and commercial experience. Along with her corporate board experience and scientific background, Sue brings a wealth of finance and commercial skills that strengthens the Abcam Board in its current growth strategy and is the ideal person to chair the Audit and Risk Committee.
Mara Aspinall, MBA
Appointment: September 2015
Background: Mara was the President and Chief Executive Officer of Ventana Medical Systems, the Tissue Diagnostics Division of the Roche Group. While at Ventana, she led the company to increased market leadership worldwide and primacy in companion diagnostics. Previously, Mara spent twelve years at Genzyme Corporation (now part of Sanofi) where she was the President of Genzyme Genetics and Genzyme Pharmaceuticals. She was also the founder and Chief Executive Officer of On-Q-ity, a circulating tumour cells company. Mara is co-founder of the International School of Biomedical Diagnostics at Arizona State University and Dublin City University, the only institution dedicated to the study of diagnostics as an independent discipline. She is a fellow of the American Institute for Medical and Biological Engineering.
Current external appointments: Mara is the Chief Executive Officer of Health Catalysts, Executive Chairman of GenePeeks Inc., Director of Allscripts Healthcare Solutions Inc., Castle Biosciences, Blue Cross Blue Shield Arizona, OraSure Technologies, 3Scan and CA Therapeutics and is on the non-fiduciary advisory boards of ProMIS Neurosciences, Inc., Slone Partners and Greybird Ventures.
Skills and experience: Mara has considerable international experience in the biotechnology and diagnostics industries with public and private companies. Mara’s specific focus areas are in her operational expertise including acquisition integration, global manufacturing, quality systems and strategic marketing. Her knowledge of the diagnostics industry is helpful in establishing Abcam’s business in this sector.
Suzanne Smith, LLB (Hons) MBA
Company Secretary & Chief Legal Officer
Appointment: July 2015
Background: Before joining Abcam, Suzanne was Executive Director, Legal at Actavis plc where she was responsible for the leadership of the legal function internationally (excluding Americas). Previous positions include Legal Director at Genzyme Therapeutics Ltd, General Counsel and Company Secretary at Phoqus Pharmaceuticals plc and Group Legal Counsel and Company Secretary at LGC Ltd, together with positions at SmithKline Beecham and Aventis.
Current external appointments: School Governor of Maidstone Grammar School for Girls
Skills and experience: Suzanne is a qualified solicitor with over 20 years' global legal, business and leadership experience within the life sciences industry. Her experience in legal and company secretarial roles brings Abcam additional knowledge and skills in corporate governance.