Richard Ashton commences his role as Chief Financial Officer (“CFO”) of the NEC Group next week following the unanimous approval of his appointment earlier in the Summer by the NEC Group’s Board.
Ashton takes up his position following 15 years at Home Retail Group Plc. From 2001 to 2016 he was CFO of Home Retail Group Plc, which owned businesses including Argos, Homebase and Habitat. He held this role until the high-profile takeover of Home Retail Group Plc by Sainsbury’s Plc occurred in September 2016. Prior to this Ashton worked for the American corporation, GE, in a variety of finance roles based in Leeds, London, New York and Amsterdam.
Following the sale of Home Retail Group Plc, Ashton took a career break to pursue his passion for sport. He has represented Great Britain in the Age Group Teams at World Championships in both Duathlon and Triathlon and in 2017 he finished 9th in the Ironman World Championships which are held in Hawaii each year. He is also a board member of the British Triathlon Federation.
Paul Thandi, Chief Executive Officer of the NEC Group said:
“I am delighted to welcome Richard Ashton at such a significant time for the NEC Group. We have put in place ambitious plans in partnership with our majority shareholder Blackstone, across our existing businesses, real estate opportunities and extensions to our current model and capabilities. Richard is an accomplished Chief Finance Officer with leadership experience across financial, capital and investment management, as well as proven expertise in business transformation.
“We are working hard across all our core business units to improve profitability and to ensure that the NEC Group becomes a European and Global leader in venue and live event management for years to come. I know that Richard will greatly help us on this journey.”
Commenting on his appointment, Richard Ashton added:
“The CFO role at the NEC Group gives me an incredible opportunity to play a part in the NEC Group’s future success, shaping the way we grow under Blackstone. Since the sale of Home Retail Group Plc, I have taken my time to find an exciting role in the right organisation. The NEC Group has been leading the way in the live events and venue management industry for over 40 years. No other organisation can compare to its wealth of experience, knowledge and of course amazing venues. I am thrilled to be taking up the CFO role and I can’t wait to get started.”
As CFO, Ashton will also assume a Board position and he will have a remit across the entire Group as a business partner to Paul Thandi. His key areas of focus will be the Group’s financial performance, acquisitions, major development and transformational programmes. Ashton will also be overseeing the activity of the Group’s Finance, IT, Legal, Procurement and Group Operations departments.
The role of CFO has been created following the departure of Chief Operating Officer, John Hornby. Alongside Ashton’s CFO role, an additional new Executive Board position, Chief Development Officer, will be appointed in the coming weeks.