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The WH Smith PLC Main Board is led by the Chairman and includes five non-executive directors and two executive directors, with support from the Company Secretary.


  • Henry Staunton

    Henry Staunton, Chairman

    Henry Staunton joined the Board in September 2010.  He has extensive finance, media and retail expertise, and was appointed Chairman of Capital and Counties Properties PLC in June 2018.  Previously he was Finance Director of Granada and ITV, and Chairman of Phoenix Group Holdings.

  • Carl Cowling
    Chief Executive

    Carl Cowling, Chief Executive

    Carl has spent much of his career in the electrical retail industry including over a decade at Dixons where he held the roles of Ecommerce director, Commercial director and Managing Director of the airport retailing business Dixons Travel. Prior to joining WH Smith, he held the role of Managing Director Global partnerships at Carphone Warehouse. Carl has been at WH Smith for over 5 years; he spent the first 3 years as Managing Director of WH Smith Travel across all UK and International operations, becoming Managing Director of WH Smith High Street at the end of 2017. In November 2019, Carl stepped up to the position of Chief Executive.

  • Robert Moorhead
    CFO and COO

    Robert Moorhead, CFO and COO

    Robert Moorhead was appointed Group Finance Director and joined the Board on 1 December 2008. He joined WH Smith PLC in 2004 as Finance Director - Retail. Robert is also a Non-Executive Director of Watches of Switzerland Group PLC. Previously, he was appointed Group Finance Director at Specsavers Optical Group in 2002, and Finance and IT Director of World Duty Free Europe Ltd in 2001. He held a number of roles at B&Q and Kingfisher Group which he joined in 1991. He started his career at Price Waterhouse.

  • Annemarie Durbin
    Non-Executive Director

    Annemarie Durbin, Non-Executive Director

    Annemarie Durbin joined the board in December 2012 and is also a Non-Executive director of Santander UK plc. She has 25 years international banking experience particularly across Asia, Africa and the Middle East operating at board and executive committee level. In addition to her directorships, Annemarie is an executive coach, a conflict mediator and provides board governance consultancy services.

  • Drummond Hall
    Non-Executive Director

    Drummond Hall, Non-Executive Director

    Drummond Hall joined the Board in September 2008. He spent his early years with Procter and Gamble, Mars and PepsiCo, and from 2002 to 2006 was Chief Executive of Dairy Crest PLC. He is a Non-Executive Director of Taylor Nelson Sofres PLC and Sage Group PLC.

  • Maurice Thompson
    Non-Executive Director

    Maurice Thompson, Non-Executive Director

    Maurice is Chairman of Greensill.  Prior to joining Greensill, Maurice held a number of senior positions at some of the world’s largest financial institutions over his 33 years in banking. Maurice was Global Head of Equity Capital Markets at SG Warburg, Global Head of Investment Banking and on the Group Executive Committee at Deutsche Bank. Most recently, Maurice worked at Citi where his roles included Vice Chairman of Banking, Head of Continental Europe for the Corporate and Investment Bank, and Country Officer and CEO of Germany and the UK.

  • Simon Emeny
    Non-Executive Director

    Simon Emeny, Non-Executive Director

    Simon joined Fuller, Smith & Turner PLC in 1996 from Bass plc where he held a variety of senior operational and strategic planning roles. Appointed to the Board as Retail Director in May 1998, Managing Director, Fuller’s Inns in July 2006, Group Managing Director in November 2010 and Chief Executive in July 2013. Non-Executive Director of The National Gallery Company Limited. Previously Senior Independent Director and chair of the Remuneration Committee of Dunelm Group plc. An economics graduate and alumnus of Harvard Business School.

  • Suzanne Baxter
    Non-Executive Director

    Suzanne Baxter, Non-Executive Director

    Suzanne Baxter is a non-executive director and joined the Board of WHSmith in February 2013. She is a Chartered Accountant, Chair of the Audit Committee and Commissioner for the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC). She was formerly the Group Finance Director of Mitie Group Plc. She has also been the Chair of the Business in the Community South West Strategic Advisory Board and Deputy Chair of the Council of British Services Association.

  • Ian Houghton
    Company Secretary

    Ian Houghton, Company Secretary

    Ian Houghton is Company Secretary and Director of Legal Services and joined the Company in June 1996. He qualified as a solicitor in October 1992 and immediately prior to joining WHSmith was employed as a solicitor by the RSPCA.

Board Committees

The Audit, Nominations, Remuneration and Disclosure committees have written terms of reference that define their role, responsibilities and membership.

The Audit Committee meets at least three times a year. Its responsibilities include monitoring the integrity and clarity of the Company's results and financial statements; reviewing the effectiveness of the Company's internal controls and risk management systems; reviewing the effectiveness of the Company's internal audit function; and assessing the independence and objectivity of the external auditors. Members of the Audit Committee are Suzanne Baxter (Chair), Annemarie Durbin, Simon Emeny, Drummond Hall and Maurice Thompson.

The Nominations Committee advises the Board on the appointment of Directors and meets when necessary. Its responsibilities include regular reviews of the structure, size and composition of the Board; giving full consideration to succession planning; and evaluating the balance of skills, knowledge and experience of the Board. Members of the Nominations Committee are Henry Staunton (Chair), Suzanne Baxter, Carl Cowling, Annemarie Durbin, Simon Emeny, Drummond Hall and Maurice Thompson.

The Remuneration Committee is responsible for determining and agreeing with the Board the broad policy for the remuneration of the Chairman, executive directors and certain other senior executives; and in consultation with the Chairman and/or Chief Executive as appropriate, determining the total individual remuneration package of each executive director and other senior executives including bonuses and share incentives. Members of the Remuneration Committee are Annemarie Durbin (Chair), Suzanne Baxter, Simon Emeny, Drummond Hall, Henry Staunton and Maurice Thompson.

The Disclosure Committee is responsible for ensuring the company meets its legal and regulatory obligations and requirements arising from its listing on the London Stock Exchange, ensuring timely and accurate disclosure of information. Members of the Disclosure Committee are all of the WH Smith PLC directors and the Company Secretary.