Our history

Bird & Co Board and Executive Mentoring was developed as part of the Bird & Co group in 2008 to provide top class mentoring services. Since then, we have developed into a broader leadership consultancy offering both search services and coaching through our sister companies The Coaching House and Bird & Co.

We have always been ahead of the curve, whether it be on gender diversity on boards or on-boarding for new Chief Executives. We are still evolving, driven by the needs of our clients in a rapidly changing market. We are constantly thinking of ways to improve what we do. We shape leaders.

Our in-house team

We have decades of experience and knowledge of executive coaching and mentoring. But our individual back stories are as diverse as those of the clients and candidates we work with. Everyone is different which is why our approach is highly personalised.


Kathleen O’DonoVan
Founding Partner

Kathleen draws on extensive experience of executive and non-executive responsibility on a global scale in multiple sectors. She has a deep understanding of boardrooms and their dynamic, with broad experience of financial strategy, M&A and restructuring. Trained as a chartered accountant, Kathleen was the youngest-ever CFO of a FTSE 100 company at the age of 34. Previous key roles: Deputy Chairman of Great Portland Estates, Non-executive Director of the Bank of England, Prudential plc, EMI plc and O2 plc; CFO of BTR plc/ Invensys plc; Partner at Ernst & Young. Current board roles: DS Smith (RemCo Chair); Trinity Mirror (Audit Chair); Invensys Pension Scheme (Audit Chair). Kathleen is also co-Chair of International Rescue Committee UK, a charity supporting conflict zone refugees.


Sarah Hurst
Managing Partner

Sarah is responsible for business development, managing client relationships and delivering and expanding all mentoring programmes. She previously spent five years at Korn/Ferry International, in the Madrid office, as a consultant and senior coaching manager. She has developed skills for talent identification and leadership development across multiple sectors from operational levels to board effectiveness. She spent her early career in London as a relocation specialist for John D Wood, the property company. She has a modern languages (French & Spanish) from the University of St Andrews. She is certified in key Lominger assessment tools for competency modelling, high potential identification, feedback facilitation and coaching.


James Hallam

James graduated in 2015 from the University of Exeter with a degree in History and gained experience at companies such as Close Brothers, BlueBay Asset Management and, prior to joining Bird & Co, at Gore Browne Investment Management where he was involved in organising numerous projects alongside his research based role. His position now focuses on research and administrative functions.

Our mentors

Current directors of FTSE and large private organisations, our mentors have substantial experience of both executive and non-executive life. Collectively, they have been on the boards of 60 FTSE companies as well as regulators, private equity organisations, asset management companies, pension schemes and charities.

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David GrEgson

David is a Trustee of The Institute for Fiscal Studies, and of Pro Bono Economics; a Board member of the Sutton Trust, which seeks to improve social mobility through education; and a member of the Advisory Boards of Phoenix Equity Partners, a leading UK mid-market private equity business, and also of the Apeldoorn Conference Series, which promotes shared understanding between the British and Dutch in areas of common interest.

Previously, David was a co-founder and Chairman of Phoenix. Over his career, he has been a director or Chairman of some thirty companies or charities. Most recently, David has been Chairman of the LTA, which is responsible for tennis in Britain; Chairman of CGL, the UK's largest social and health care charity; and a Director of LLDC, which is transforming East London following the 2012 Games. David has an MBA from Alliance Manchester Business School (where he was awarded the Alumnus of the Year in 2016) and an MA in Maths and Physics from Cambridge University. He is currently:

Current Non Executive roles:

Advisory Board - Phoenix Equity Partners, Apeldoorn

Trustee - The Institute of Fiscal Studies, Pro Bono Economics, Sutton Trust

Previous Roles:

Chairman - CGL, Phoenix Equity Partners, The Jane Goodall Institute, HPI, Abel & Cole, The Mayor of London’s Legacy Board, Precise Media Group, Letts Filofax Group, Karma Group, Lawn Tennis Association, LLDC Investment Committee

Director / Trustee - Chelsea Harbour, Raleigh Bicycles, Globe Investment Trust, Onion Publishing Group, Wentworth Research, Pinnacle Leisure Group, Lombard Insurance Group, Silver Platter, WWF-UK

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David Grigson

David is a highly experienced Non-Executive and Executive Director who has spent over 30 years on public company boards. He spent much of his Executive career in senior financial positions, firstly with EMAP where he served as Group Finance Director and then with Reuters Group plc, where he was Chief Financial Officer.

David is currently Chair of the private equity owned digital communications company InvestisDigital. He has also held Chair positions with Reach plc (formerly Trinity Mirror), Creston plc and Radianz, a subsidiary of Reuters Group PLC. He has been a Non-Executive Director of Standard Life plc, where he was the Chairman of the Audit Committee and a member of the Risk & Capital and Nomination Committees; Ocado plc where he was the Senior Independent Director; Carphone Warehouse, where he Chaired the Audit Committee and New York based Instinet Group.

As well as his public company board positions, David sits on the Board of the Himalayan Climate Fund based in Nepal and acts as an advisor to a number of start-ups and charitable organisations.

David lives in London and spends time in Sri Lanka where he owns a small tea and cinnamon plantation.

Current Non Executive roles:
Chair - Investis (PE owned start-up)

Director - Himalayan Climate Fund

Previous Roles:

Non-Executive Chair – Creston, Reach (formerly Trinity Mirror), Radianz Inc

Senior Independent Director – Ocado (Chair of Nomination)

NED – Standard Life (Chairman of Audit and member of Risk & Capital and Nomination), Carphone Warehouse (Chair of Audit), Instinet Group

CFO – Reuters Group

CFD - Emap

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Genevieve Shore

Genevieve Shore is currently a Non-Executive Director at Santander UK plc, the global marketing and communications group Next 15 PLC, London based financial services business moneysupermarket.com, The Rugby Football Union (RFU) and multinational professional services firm Ove Arup Ltd .

She served as a Non-Executive Director of STV Group plc from March 1, 2012 to June 2, 2016 and the Lego Education Advisory Board from September 2015 to May 2018.

She has chaired the Remuneration Committees at STV and Next 15 and is a member of the Nomination, Risk and Audit Committees at MSM.

She was also a member of the advisory board of Great Fridays, a product and service design company based in San Francisco and London. She has advised and invested in education starts ups in the US and the UK.

Previously Genevieve has held senior leadership roles at Pearson PLC including chief information officer, chief product officer and chief digital officer. Genevieve has an extensive digital, technology and commercial background in the media, education and technology sectors, and strong experience of working in the USA and Asia.

Current Non Executive roles:
NED - Santander UK Plc, Next Fifteen Communications Group Plc, Moneysupermarket.com, RFU, Arup

Advisor - Edukey Education Ltd,

Previous Roles:

Non-Executive Director - STV Group Plc (Chair of Rem)

Advisor - Great Fridays, Scott & Doodle, Education Appstore, Lego Education

Chief Product and Marketing Officer - Pearson PLC

Gillian Sheldon

Gillian Sheldon is a Senior Banker at Credit Suisse in the UK Investment Banking division. She provides corporate finance advice to the Boards of a wide range of clients, focused on the consumer, leisure, media, retail, telecom and technology sectors.

At Credit Suisse, Gillian was a member of the European Investment Banking Committee 2000 - 2006 and became Head of the Media and Telecoms Group in Investment Banking in 2004.
Prior to Credit Suisse, she spent seven years at N M Rothschild & Sons in London within the corporate finance division.

Current Non Executive roles:
SID - Capita

Trustee - BBC Children in Need (Chair of Investment Committee)

Corporate Advisory Committee - The Royal Academy of Arts

Fundraising Committee - Breast Cancer Now

Current Executive Role:

Managing Director, Investment Banking Division - Credit Suisse

Previous Roles:

NED - Capita

Head of Telecoms, Media & Technology - Credit Suisse

Corporate Finance - N M Rothschild & Sons

Helen Owers

Helen is a Non Executive Director at PZ Cussons plc and Informa plc and Co-Chair of The Eden Project International.

Prior to becoming a Non Executive Director, Helen les the Emerging Markets Division In Thomson Reuters and was tasked with accelerating growth of this strategically critical area. Prior to taking on this challenge, Helen was the President/CEO for the Global Businesses Division with revenues of $600m and 4,000 staff. Prior to that Helen was COO of the International Legal/Regulatory Publishing division ($500m turnover and 3,000 people).

Helen has a track record of success gained over 30 years in the media sector and 5 years with a top strategy consultancy. She has strong experience of building positions in emerging markets through organic development and M&A; changing business models (from print to online); building scale from geographically disperse business units; restructuring organizations; and developing talent.

Helen is energetic, strategic and able to synthesize complex issues. She is an effective communicator with an open approach. Helen’s career has spanned a range of global locations, including China, India, Brazil, Argentina, Japan, Australia, Canada, US and UK. Helen has strong leadership and consulting skills that have enabled her to successfully work across boundaries and through complexity to deliver results.

Prior to joining Thomson Reuters in 2001, Helen was a principal consultant for Gemini Consulting. Before joining Gemini,she spent nine years at Prentice Hall, where she was responsible for the European English language publishing program.

Helen holds an MBA from the International Institute for Management Development (IMD) in Lausanne, Switzerland.

Current Non Executive roles:
NED - PZ Cussons plc, Informa plc, The Eden Project

Previous Roles:

Chief Development Officer, Strategic Markets - Thomson Reuters

President and COO, Global Legal Business - Thomson Reuters Professional


Sir Ian Cheshire

Sir Ian Cheshire was announced as Chairman of Barclay’s new UK Ring Fenced Bank in February 2017. In November 2017 he was made the Chairman of The Food, Farming and Countryside Commission and also currently chairs The Prince of Wales Charitable Fund, United for Global Mental Health and the Leadership Council of Thriving at Work. He was also Senior Independent Director of Whitbread plc, lead Non-Executive member on the Department for Work and Pensions Board, Chairman of the Prince of Wales' Corporate Leaders Group on Climate Change and the British Retail Consortium, along with President of the Business Disability Forum.. He was knighted in the 2014 New Year Honours for services to business, sustainability, and the environment.

Ian was previously Chief Executive, B&Q UK from June 2005. He was appointed Chief Executive International and Development in September 2002, Chief Executive of e-Kingfisher in May 2000 and was Group Director of Strategy & Development. Before joining Kingfisher he worked for a number of retail businesses including Sears plc where he was Group Commercial Director.

Cheshire's first job was with Boston Consulting Group, before working for Guinness, and Sears, before joining Kingfisher as strategy director in 1998. In January 2008, Kingfisher appointed Cheshire as Group Chief Executive.

Current Non Executive roles:
Chair – Barclays UK Retail Bank, Menhaden Capital plc, The Food, Farming and Countryside Commission, The Prince Of Wales Charitable Fund, United for Global Mental Health, Leadership Council of Thriving at Work

Campaign Chairman - Heads Together

President of the Board – Maisons du Monde

NED – Barclays, UK Cabinet Office

Advisory Board - True Capital Partners,

Previous Roles:

Chair – British Retail Consortium, Debenhams, Ecosystem Markets Task Force

Lead NED – Whitbread (Nomination and Remuneration), UK Department for Work and Pensions

Supervisory Board – Hornback Holding Group AG

NED – Kingfisher Information Technology, Bradford & Bingley

Non Executive VP – Maisons du Monde

Advisory Board - Cambridge Institute for Sustainability Leadership


Group CEO – Kingfisher

Executive Director - Kingfisher

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Jane Lighting

Jane is a highly experienced Non-Executive and Executive Director with over 20 years’ experience mainly within the television industry. In 2003 she was appointed Chief Executive of Channel Five where she launched the channel’s digital channel strategy and developed its programme strategy with the acquisition of key series such as CSI, NCIS and Neighbours.

She had previously been Chief Executive at Flextech (later renamed Virgin Media) where she was responsible for all of Flextech’s channels, which included LivingTV, Bravo, Virgin One and Trouble. She was also responsible for the UK-TV joint venture channels with the BBC, including UK Gold and UK Style.

Prior to her Broadcasting career, Jane was a leading independent programme entrepreneur founding Minotaur International in 1991, which became one of the UK’s most successful independent programme sales and marketing businesses. She sold this business to Flextech where it became the core of their international programme strategy. Jane is also a member of the British Screen Advisory Council.

Current Non Executive roles:
NED - Countrywide

Previous Roles::

Chair - Royal Television Society, British Television Distributors Association, Reach

Senior NED - Reach (Chair of Remuneration, Member of Nomination and Audit & Risk)

NED - Paddy Power (Member of Audit and Remuneration)

Trustee - Royal Television Society (Chair of Audit)

Chief Executive - Channel 5, Flextech Television, Minotaur International, Video Arts Television

Governor - National Film and Television School

Fellow - Royal Society of Arts


Jennifer Duvalier

Ms. Jennifer Duvalier, also known as Jenny, served as Executive Vice President of People at ARM Holdings plc for four years and left in 2017 following the £24bn acquisition of ARM by Softbank. Since then she has been reconnecting with life outside the technology industry, and now holds Non-Executive Director positions in two different plc’s. Jennifer has sustained a track record of defining and delivering high impact agile people and culture strategies, and has broad experience in managing stakeholders across Main Board, Executive Committee and Divisional Executives.

Prior to joining ARM, Jennifer was Group People & Culture Director at UBM plc for 6 years, and was previously Group Human Resources Director for the international media and marketing services group Emap plc. The majority of her career spent in management consultancy and financial services, she has been a Non-Executive Director of Mitie Group plc since July 2017 and of Guardian Media Group plc since May 2014. Also a Member of Council of the Royal College of Art where she chairs the People Committee, Jennifer has an MA from the University of Oxford in English and French.

Current Non Executive roles:
Independent Director - Guardian Media Group

NED - Mitie Group, NCC Group

Council Member - Royal College of Art

Previous Roles:

Executive VP People - ARM Holdings

Group People and Culture Director - UBM

Group HR Director - Emap

Director - Haygroup, Boyden International

Manager - Lloyds IInternational Private Banking

Julia Wilson

Julia has been a Board Member and Group Finance Director at 3i Group since October 2008. She is the Co-Chairman of the Investment committee.

Julia began her career at Arthur Andersen. After senior tax roles with Hanson plc and Tomkins plc, she became Group Tax Director at Cable & Wireless plc in 2000 and subsequently Group Director of Corporate Finance.She is also a Senior Independent Director of Legal & General Group plc, and a member of the ICAEW (ACA) and the Chartered Institute of Taxation.

Current Non Executive roles:
Co Chairman - 3i Investments

SID - Legal & General Group

Current Executive Role:

Group Finance Director - 3i Group

Previous Roles:

Group Director - Cable and Wireless

Finance Director Designate - 3i Group

Group Head - Tomkins

Kathleen O’Donovan

Kathleen draws on extensive experience of executive and non-executive responsibility on a global scale, serving on major UK and overseas boards including multi-sector businesses. She has a deep understanding of boardrooms and their dynamics, with broad-based experience of the City, financial strategy, M&A and restructuring.

Her career earned her places in The Times ‘40 under 40’ list of young high fliers, the World Economic Forum’s Global Leaders of Tomorrow and The Times Power 100.

Kathleen chalked up this remarkable breadth and depth of boardroom experience by starting early. Trained as a chartered accountant, she was a partner in Ernst & Young by 31 – leading major international audits and M&A deals for the Big Four firm and already mentoring younger colleagues. At 34 she joined the board of global conglomerate BTR (subsequently Invensys): the FTSE 100’s first female executive director and its youngest-ever CFO.

Current Non Executive Roles:
Chairman - Invensy Pension Scheme (Chair of Investment Committee)

NED - DS Smith (Chair of Remuneration)

Previous Roles:

Senior Independent NED - ARM Limited

SID - ARM Holdings (Chair of Audit)

Non Executive Deputy Chairman - Great Portland Estates (Chair of Audit and Chair of Nomination)

Co Chairman - International Rescue Committee UK

NED - Prudential ( Chair of Audit & Risk), Bank of England (Chair of Audit & Risk), EMI ( Chair of Audit), O2, Reach (Chair of the Audit & Risk)

Chief Financial Officer - BTR/ Invensys

Nina Bibby

Nina has a strong leadership style and the ability to engage and empower a team to make a step change in business performance; exceptional communication and presentation skills; solid strategic thinking and excellent consumer insight; focus on building high performance teams. Nina joined Barclaycard in 2010 as Global Chief Marketing Officer with responsibility for the overall marketing function, including brand management, customer engagement, insights and innovation. She joined from InterContinental Hotels Group, where she was Senior Vice President of Global Brand Management, responsible for the brand portfolio, insights, innovation and the branded guest experience. Achievements there included the $1b re-launch of the Holiday Inn estate across 3000 hotels around the world. Prior to joining IHG, Nina spent close to 9 years at Diageo in a variety of marketing roles, both in-market and global, working on brands such as Baileys, Pimms and Johnnie Walker. Before Diageo, Nina worked in consultancy for both Gemini Consulting and The Henley Centre. Nina is a member of WACL (Women in Advertising and Communications London) and sits on the council of the Marketing Group of Great Britain. She has a BS in International Economics from Georgetown University and an MBA from INSEAD.

Current Non Executive Roles:
NED - Barratt Developments PLC (Audit, Nomination and Remuneration)

Trustee - Great Ormond Street Hospital

Current Executive Role:

Chief Marketing Officer - O2 (Telefonica UK)

Previous Roles:

Chair - International Business Advisory Board (British Airways)

Global Chief Marketing Officer - Barclaycard

Senior VP - Intercontinental Hotels Group

Commercial Director - Diageo

Associate Director - Henley Center


robert walker

Robert Walker is a highly experienced Chair and Non-Executive Director who has served on a wide range of FTSE 100/250 boards, including Wolseley, BAA, Signet, Thomson Travel Group and Severn Trent, where he was Group Chief Executive. He has also served as Adviser to Cinven. Robert is Chairman of Ei Group PLC and Busy Bees Ltd. He was previously Chairman of Travis Perkins plc, WH Smith, Williams Lea, British Car Auctions, and Americana International; and was Senior Independent Director of Tate and Lyle plc. He started his career at Procter and Gamble and McKinsey & Co., then spent over 20 years with PepsiCo, culminating as a Division President.

Current Non Executive Roles:
Chairman - Enterprise Inns, Busy Bees

Deputy Chairman - Camelot UK Lotteries

Governor - Hampton School

Previous Roles:

Chairman - WH Smith, BCA Europe Holdings, Williams Lea Group, Americana International, Travis Perkins (Chair of Nomination Committee)

Senior Independent Director - Tate & Lyle

NED - BAA, Signet Group, Wolseley, Severn Trent, Thomson Travel Group

Group Chief Executive - Severn Trent

Advisory Board - British American Business Council, Oxinia Limited

Division President Europe, Middle East, Asia & Africa - PepsiCo

Ruth Markland

Ruth is an experienced Non-Executive Director who brings a wealth of practical experience in managing and advising international businesses. She was a partner of the international law firm Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer from 1983 to 2003, and Managing Partner, Asia of the firm from 1996 to 2003. During her legal career, Ruth gathered deep operational experience of services businesses in an international context and participated extensively in board-level strategy development.

She has subsequently established a highly successful Non-Executive portfolio career across software, construction and financial services sectors. Ruth was formerly Vice Chair of the British Chamber of Commerce in Hong Kong.

Current Non Executive Roles:
Independent NED - Deloitte

SID and NED - Quilter

Supervisory Board - Arcadis NV

Previous Roles:

SID - Standard Chartered (Chair of Remuneration), Sage Group (Chair of Remuneration )

Chair - Women’s Royal Voluntary Service

Managing Partner - Freshfields Asia

Partner - Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

tim score

Tim has extensive experience of the technology sector in both developed and emerging markets, having served as chief financial officer of ARM Holdings plc, the world’s leading semiconductor IP company, for 13 years. He is an experienced non-executive director and currently sits on the boards of Pearson Group Plc, British Land plc and HM Treasury. In addition he is on the board of trustees of the Royal National Theatre and chairman of the group audit committee of the Football Association. He served on the board of National Express Group plc from 2005 to 2014, including time as interim chairman and six years as the senior independent director. Earlier in his career Tim held senior finance roles with Rebus Group, William Baird, LucasVarity plc and BTR plc.

Current Non Executive Roles:

Chair - British Land
NED - Pearson plc (Chair of Audit), HM Treasury, Football Association (Chair of Audit), Great Ormond Street Hospital (Chair of Corporate Partnerships Board)

Board of Trustees - National Theatre

Previous Roles:

NED - National Express Group

Interim Chairman - National Express Group

Chief Financial Officer - ARM

Finance Director - Rebus Group

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Tracey Graham

Tracey Graham is an experienced Non-Executive Director, and former Chief Executive, with proven commercial success in her Executive career both in Plc and Private Equity. Tracey’s Non-Executive portfolio includes Financial Services (Royal London Group and Link Ltd) and publically listed companies (Ibstock plc (FTSE 250) and DiscoverIE plc (FTSE Small Cap). Tracey is an experienced Remuneration Committee Chairman, and has significant experience across all Board Committees.

Tracey was Chief Executive of Talaris Limited, an international cash management business, from 2005 to 2010 and led the management buyout of that business from De La Rue plc, backed by the Carlyle Group. Prior to that, she was President of Sequoia Voting Systems, customer services director at AXA Insurance plc and held a number of senior positions at HSBC.

Current Non Executive Roles:
NED - Royal London Mutual Insurance Society Ltd (Chairman Remuneration and sits on Risk and Nomination, in addition Chairman of IFDL a subsidiary company of the Group) , DiscoverIE Plc (Member of Audit, Remuneration and Nomination), LINK Scheme Limited (Chairman of LINK Consumer Council, and member Remuneration and Risk)

SID - Ibstock (Member of Audit, and Nomination, Chair of Remuneration)

Previous Roles:

NED - Dialight (Chair of Remuneration), RPS Group (Chair of Remuneration), Albemarle & Bond Holdings (Chair of Remuneration)

CEO - Talaris

President - Sequoia Voting Systems

Divisional Managing Director - De La Rue

Managing Director - De La Rue Identity Systems


William Eccleshare

William has a wealth of experience in Chief Executive roles across his executive career. As Chairman and Chief Executive of Clear Channel International, one of the world’s largest out-of-home media companies, he has lead a customer focused transformation driving innovation and digital growth in multiple markets across Asia and Europe, whose combined assets reach an audience of over 400 million people every month. In January 2019 he was appointed Worldwide CEO of Clear Channel and will lead the business as it separates from iHeartMedia becomes a fully independent publicly traded company.

Prior to joining Clear Channel in 2009, he became Chairman and CEO of BBDO Europe, Middle East and Africa in 2005. William joined WPP’s Young & Rubicam as European Chairman and CEO in 2002. In 2000, he joined McKinsey & Company as a Partner and leader of the European Branding Practice in 2000, leading major assignments in the media, and technology and mining sectors before returning to the advertising industry.

Current Non Executive Roles:
Deputy Chairman - Clear Media

SID - Centaur

Trustee - Donmar Warehouse


Current Executive Role:

Worldwide CEO -Clear Channel Outdoor

Previous Roles:

NED - Hays plc

CEO - Clear Channel Outdoor Global


Chairman and CEO EMEA - Young & Rubicam