Management

Duncan Painter, Chief Executive Officer

Duncan joined the company in October 2011 as Chief Executive Officer. Following four years of turnaround of the business and growth, Top Right Group (previously known as EMAP) was rebranded Ascential and successfully floated on the London Stock Exchange in February 2016.

As CEO, Duncan has a relentless focus on improving our products and services to ensure this drives greater customer retention. Ensuring our customers get improved value every year from our products and empowering our experts to be champions of insight or access to the markets we serve; have been the core ingredients of our strong growth over the last few years.

Before joining the Group, Duncan was an Executive at BskyB, where he supported their growth objectives to ten million customers. Prior to that, he was Global Product Leader at Experian plc, Founder and Chief Executive Officer of consumer intelligence company ClarityBlue, which was acquired by Experian in 2006, and European Systems Integration Director for Hitachi Data Systems.

Duncan is also a director of the Professional Publishers Association, a non-executive director at Investis Limited and a non-executive advisory board member to ThoughtRiver Limited.

Mandy Gradden, Chief Financial Officer

Mandy Gradden joined the company as CFO in January 2013. As part of her role, Mandy manages all Group financial reporting and leads the IR, central finance, technology and procurement teams. Mandy also works closely with the CEOs and finance leaders within the business operating units.

Before joining Ascential, Mandy was CFO at Torex, the retail technology firm, and was a key member of the team that managed the successful turnaround of the business. Prior to that, she was CFO at the FTSE 250 business and technology consultancy, Detica Group plc, where she was instrumental in managing the company's growth from £39 million to £203 million during her six-year term.

Earlier, she was Director of Corporate Development at Telewest Communications and Group Financial Controller at Dalgety. She began her career at Price Waterhouse, where she spent eight years and where, in 1992, she qualified as a Chartered Accountant.

She also sits as a non-executive director on the board, and is chairman of the audit committee, of SDL plc.

Philip Thomas, Chief Executive, Ascential Events

Philip Thomas is CEO of Ascential Events, the parent company of Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity and its five associated Festivals, Money2020, and a diverse portfolio of award-winning international B2B events and trade exhibitions.

He began his career as a journalist, working on national and international magazines and newspapers, and editing Empire, the UK’s biggest-selling movie magazine, before moving into publishing and becoming Managing Director of FHM worldwide, launching the iconic men’s magazine in more than 30 countries.

He was appointed Managing Director of Emap’s Australian and South East Asian division, based in Sydney for three years, before returning to the UK, and in November 2006 was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Lions Festivals. Philip began his current role when Ascential Events was established in August 2016. He remains CEO of Cannes Lions.

Natasha Christie-Miller, Chief Executive, Plexus

Natasha Christie-Miller leads the digital intelligence brands Glenigan, Groundsure, Planet Retail/Retail Net Group, DeHavilland and world-class content and events brands Retail Week and World Retail Congress. She is building these core, high growth products in scale industries delivering high value intelligence and connections for our powerful, professional audiences.

She started her career in sales and led the commercial teams on consumer brands such as Elle, Red and the Emap parenting portfolio before taking on the role of Publishing Director of Drapers, the fashion industry bible at Emap B2B in 2005. She then became Managing Director for the Retail portfolio in 2007. Natasha was appointed CEO of EMAP in 2010 and a business CEO at Ascential in 2015.

Michael Lisowski, Chief Operating Officer

Michael has been instrumental in driving our company strategy over the past four years. In July 2016 Michael was asked to expand his role to become COO for Ascential. In this new role, Michael will establish a set of specialist teams that will partner the Product Brands across Proposition and Product Development, Customer Insight and Research, and Partnerships and Portfolio Management including our M&A functions.

Michael joined the company in April 2012 as Group Director of Strategy, with responsibility for defining the Group’s strategy, working with the Operating Units to define their strategies and commercial priorities, and providing commercial diligence support on acquisitions, disposals and partnerships.

Michael joined Ascential from OC&C Strategy Consultants, where he was Partner. He joined OC&C in 2003 as Associate Consultant, becoming a partner in the Technology, Media and Telecoms practice in 2009. In the TMT practice, he worked across B2B and B2C media on both commercial due diligence for top private equity firms (typical deals £300m-£1bn) and corporate strategy work. He began his career working for the United Nations.

Michael holds a DPhil and MPhil in International Relations from University of Cambridge, and a MA in Economics from University of Toronto.

Stephen Martincic, Chief Brand and Marketing Officer

Stephen Martincic is our Chief Brand and Marketing Officer. He joined from FCB, the global, fully-integrated marketing communications company where he was responsible for building FCB’s brand across the globe. In this newly created, critical role, Stephen will ensure we are truly focussing on the fast changing needs of our customer and honing how we position and message our capabilities to maximise customer engagement and meet our organic growth ambitions.

Kevin Silk, Managing Director, WGSN

Kevin Silk became Managing Director of WGSN, the global trend authority for fashion and creative industries, in 2016. WGSN’s portfolio encompasses its Fashion and Lifestyle and Interiors trend forecasting products, the retail analytics products Instock and Styletrial and the Mindset consulting division.

Kevin was previously COO of WGSN, and had worked with the then management team to lead the WGSN business to great success over the past two years. Kevin joined from Stylesight, where he helped shape the direction of the Trend forecasting industry and subsequently lead its merger with WGSN. Prior to that Kevin held senior leadership roles encompassing finance, operations, strategy, corporate development and product development at Stylesight, SAP, OutlookSoft, and Hyperion having started his career at EY.

Kevin reports to Duncan Painter and is based at WGSN’s HQ in New York.