Our leadership team

Executive Directors
Philip Thomas
Philip Thomas
Chief Executive
Philip Thomas
Philip Thomas
Chief Executive

Philip Thomas is Chief Executive of Ascential plc. He is also Chair of Cannes Lions, having been CEO of Lions Festivals for ten years, between 2006 and 2016.

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 being appointed Chief Executive Officer of Lions Festivals.

Philip is Chair of Media Trust, an honorary Fellow of the Institute of Practitioners in Advertising, and a Member of the BBC Advisory Board on AI Personalised Content. Philip was cited as one of the Agents of Change for Gender Equality by the UK's Management Today magazine.

Mandy Gradden
Mandy Gradden
Chief Financial Officer
Mandy Gradden
Mandy Gradden
Chief Financial Officer

Mandy Gradden joined the company as CFO in January 2013. As part of her role, Mandy manages leads the investor relations, finance, tax, treasury, legal and procurement teams working closely with the CEOs and finance leaders within the business divisions.

Before joining Ascential, Mandy was CFO at Torex, the privately held retail technology firm, and was a key member of the team that managed the successful turnaround and sale of that 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.

Mandy is a Non-Executive Director and the Audit Committee Chair of Spectris plc and Chair of the FCA’s Listing Authority Advisory Panel.

Executive Team
Simon Cook
Simon Cook
Chief Executive Officer, LIONS
Simon Cook
Simon Cook
Chief Executive Officer, LIONS

Simon Cook is Chief Executive of the LIONS Division, bringing together LIONS, WARC, Contagious and Acuity Pricing to champion creative marketing that matters.

Over the past decade, Simon has spearheaded the creation and introduction of two thirds of the Lions awards. Simon has expanded LIONS business which now provides year-round intelligence and advisory services beyond its flagship event, Cannes Lions, the International Festival of Creativity. Simon is deeply passionate about the work and is a tireless advocate for creative marketing excellence that drives business performance. He also founded the Global Chief Marketing Officers Growth Council.

Prior to joining Lions, Simon worked on the agency side and has been involved in the branded communications industry and Lions for over 15 years.

Tracey Davies
Tracey Davies
President, Money20/20
Tracey Davies
Tracey Davies
President, Money20/20

Tracey Davies is the President of Money20/20. With a wealth of experience in the retail and digital media industries, Tracey has led the Money20/20 business since 2016, and has subsequently been named one of the Top 100 Women in Fintech by Fintech Magazine.

Tracey is an influential diversity and inclusion advocate, and has launched significant initiatives RiseUp and Amplify. These impactful programmes ensure that women, minorities and underrepresented professionals have a louder voice and more seats at the financial services table.

William Mellis
William Mellis
Chief Strategy Officer
William Mellis
William Mellis
Chief Strategy Officer

William Mellis is the Chief Strategy Officer at Ascential plc. William joined Ascential in 2021 as Chief Operating Officer of the Retail & Financial Services division, which included Money20/20 and Acuity Pricing. Now, William leads on M&A activity and key strategic opportunities for the group.

Before joining Ascential, William spent 10 years at Alvarez & Marsal as Managing Director and Senior Advisor. William worked on many of the Ascential brands during that period in his capacity as a management consultant.

Nancy Parks
Nancy Parks
Chief People Officer
Nancy Parks
Nancy Parks
Chief People Officer

Nancy Parks is the Chief People Officer at Ascential plc.

Nancy started her career as an accountant, before moving into HR for Tesco plc. She balances the commercial aspects of business with a people-centric mindset. Driven by making a difference, no matter how small, she takes pride in seeing others develop and grow. Nancy is a big advocate of bringing your whole self to work as well as engaging and connecting with people both inside and outside of her organisation.

Kent Dreadon
Kent Dreadon
Chief Operating Officer
Kent Dreadon
Kent Dreadon
Chief Operating Officer

Kent Dreadon is Chief Operating Officer at Ascential plc.

Previously Kent was General Counsel & Director of Corporate Affairs at Ascential and prior to that he had a similar role at O2, the mobile telecoms company. He also worked for over 10 years as a disputes lawyer in international law firms, initially in New Zealand and then for several years in the UK.

Leadership Team
Paul Coxhill
Paul Coxhill
Chief Operating Officer, LIONS and President, LIONS Insight
Paul Coxhill
Paul Coxhill
Chief Operating Officer, LIONS and President, LIONS Insight
Leonie Gonzalez
Leonie Gonzalez
SVP Event Operations and Awards
Leonie Gonzalez
Leonie Gonzalez
SVP Event Operations and Awards
Hiran Pattani
Hiran Pattani
Chief Technology Officer
Hiran Pattani
Hiran Pattani
Chief Technology Officer
Alison Wood
Alison Wood
General Counsel
Alison Wood
Alison Wood
General Counsel
Caroline Jerram
Caroline Jerram
Chief Financial Officer, Money20/20
Caroline Jerram
Caroline Jerram
Chief Financial Officer, Money20/20
Mark Wilson
Mark Wilson
Chief Financial Officer, LIONS
Mark Wilson
Mark Wilson
Chief Financial Officer, LIONS
Dina Elrayyes
Dina Elrayyes
VP Content and Creative Director
Dina Elrayyes
Dina Elrayyes
VP Content and Creative Director
Nina Preston-Smith
Nina Preston-Smith
VP Communications
Nina Preston-Smith
Nina Preston-Smith
VP Communications