Trust Board of Members

Trust Board of Members


Name:  Mr Nick Butler

I am CEO of Connect Yorkshire and its only operation, Connect Gazelles Equity Partner in DLA Piper. I have been CEO of Connect Yorkshire for 8 years, and have been employed by Connect Yorkshire as Executive Director for 7 years before that.

Our mission is to help Yorkshire companies grow and create jobs and wealth. Before starting Connect Yorkshire, in 2001 I was an equity partner in DLA Piper which is now the biggest legal firm by turnover in the world.

I created Connect Gazelles and changed the whole of the Connect Yorkshire business to what it is now, managing a complete change of people and business. I have spent 15 years as a Director of Connect Yorkshire, and 30 years as an equity partner at Linklaters.

Name:  Mr John Gough

My background is as a chartered quantity surveyor. My most recent role was as chairman of the LIFT Board for Barnsley PCT. This board was responsible for ensuring joined up services in new, bespoke facilities in local communities, working with NHS, Local Authorities and private sector developers. Between 1985 and 1999 I worked for Barnsley MBC as a contracts manager. This role involved significant quality improvement responsibilities for the Local Authority. I had key responsibilities for corporate procurement, best value processes and transfer of council services to third party charitable trusts.

In my role at Barnsley MBC, I led and managed significant change in social services following an adverse inspection report. For example, a full restructure of senior management, the development and implementation of a quality improvement plan endorsed by the social services inspectorate. The department was ultimately graded ‘outstanding’. As part of this role I reported both to elected members and to the inspectorate.

My current role is as chair of the corporation of New College Pontefract. Graded outstanding in all areas of the Ofsted common inspection framework in 2014. I have been involved with the corporation since 1993. Additionally, I am a member and trustee of Pontefract Academy Trust and chair the audit and risk committee. The trust comprises two high schools and six primaries. I am chairman and trustee of the Kings Foundation, as a nominee from the Duchy of Lancaster. This foundation provides financial assistance to students in Pontefract, with a focus on raising aspiration for disadvantaged young people.

Name:  Mr Jan Szczepanski

I have been Director of SFB Sanders Geeson (Chartered Accountants) since 2005. Prior to that I worked as a finance director across a wide variety of business sectors from start-ups to companies with a £40m turnover, employing 600 staff and an equal number of subcontractors. I trained at BHP in Sheffield where I gained experience in all areas of accounts and tax. I then moved to PWC shortly after qualification where I gained extensive audit experience. Subsequently I worked in a head office role at the Readicut Group, which had 2,000 employees, reviewing plans and budgets of subsidiary companies as well as producing group accounts.

In each of my roles I have had direct responsibility for staff with up to 20 in roles from accounts to customer service/IT. Similarly in all roles I have been part of the Board of Directors responsible for strategic planning and implementation with an emphasis on finance and systems. In my most recent role I founded an accountancy practice with responsibility for all aspects of the business. The various projects I have led include:

  • implementation of several accountancy and other systems;
  • rationalisation / reorganisation / establishing accounting departments and companies;
  • reduction of debt, part of turnaround teams;
  • investigating under-performing businesses.

I have been the Finance Director for:

  • Readicut Wool Company / The Craft Collection (including European subsidiaries), £10m, 1988-1994
  • Textile Bonding, interim, £10m, 1994-5
  • Shaw Export Services, £10m, 1995-8
  • Skillbase, £40m, 2001-2
  • Pride Valley Foods, £20m, 2002-3
  • Adler & Allen, £15m, 2003-4
  • Science Warehouse, MBA project, bio tech start up, successfully trading since 2000

I formed my own company, Sanders Geeson Chartered Accountants, in 2005. From 2014, Sanders Geeson brought on board a 50% shareholding from SFB, a 90 person Chartered Accountancy group based in the Midlands.

I have been a Governor of New College Pontefract since 2002, the treasurer of the Suzy Trust since 2002, and a trustee of the Community Foundation for Wakefield since 2014.