Meet the Team

The Board of Directors

Click the images to find out more

  • Alex Robinson

    Chair

    Alex Robinson

    Chair

    How long you have been an esbs Non-Executive Director (NED) and your current position(s) held?

    Since November 2020. I chair the Nominations Committee and I am a member of the Remuneration Committee and the Risk and Compliance Committee

    In July 2022 I became the Society’s Chair

    Career background?

    I originally started in the City and then took an MBA at Cambridge and enjoyed specialising in investing in businesses to help them grow and prosper. Before starting a portfolio career in 2019, I was Group Commercial Director for Skipton Building Society for 10 years. At Skipton, I had the pleasure of running a portfolio of 11 companies, where I was typically chair of the board or a Non-Executive Director.

    I am currently Chair of two of Titan Wealth Holdings subsidiaries, which specialise in investment management.  I was also a co-founder and Chair of The Skipton & Ripon Enterprise Group, which was a network that provided free mentoring to over 200 small businesses

    Why did you join the esbs Board?

    I was originally involved with esbs over 10 years ago when I was chair of Mutual One, which provided esbs with compliance and internal audit support (and still does, although it is now part of RSM). The team has a great reputation and I always believe that Building Societies have a very important place in helping individuals own their homes and offer savers security and returns. esbs is a great example of this and I will enjoy offering my help to support esbs in its success

    What it is about working at the Society which you enjoy the most?

    Although the Covid-19 restrictions have complicated matters and Zoom has featured more than I would like, I have enjoyed meeting the team and find their friendliness, enthusiasm and professionalism inspiring

    Hobbies and Interests outside of work?

    I enjoy working with people and businesses and, in my spare time, I mentor individuals and help them to develop and grow their businesses. I like walking, especially if this can be combined with a beer and a friendly village pub! I appreciate spending time with my family and like to travel, read and invest in wine. I enjoy the odd rugby match and have been known to fish, take a stroll on the golf course and go running

  • Paul Tilley

    Chief Executive

    Paul Tilley

    Chief Executive

    How long you have been in your current role?

    Since December 2011

    Career background?

    I’ve worked in building societies my entire career in roles ranging from sales, compliance, risk management and governance to operations

    Why did you join esbs?

    I joined because of the opportunity I was given to lead and run a well-respected building society

    What it is about working at the Society which you enjoy the most?

    The wide variety of the role ranging from strategy and oversight to speaking to members

    Hobbies and Interests outside of work?

    I’m a Justice of the Peace (Magistrate) and a rugby union referee

  • Ian Dale

    Non-Executive Director

    Ian Dale

    Non-Executive Director

    How long you have been an esbs Non-Executive
    Director (NED) and your current position(s) held?

    I have been an esbs Non-Executive Director since May 2015. I am the Society’s Senior Independent Director and I am also a member of the Society’s  Audit Committee

    Career background?

    I am a Chartered Accountant and have spent the majority of my career working in the mutual building society sector, particularly within the balance sheet management field

    Why did you join the esbs Board?

    Since retiring, I’ve wanted to try and use my skills, knowledge and experience to help people in their local communities. I’m passionate about the difference that mutual, community orientated building societies can make to local people and wanted to help the Society to continue its long and successful track record in doing this

    What it is about working at the Society which you enjoy the most?

    Working with all the directors and staff at esbs, and getting involved as much as I can in meeting members and new customers and learning more about the local community whilst participating in Society events

    Hobbies and Interests outside of work?

    As well as esbs, I am also a Board Member of Cross Key Homes based in Peterborough, and a Trustee Director for a pension fund – so perhaps not entirely retired! I enjoy all sports especially football and cycling. I am a keen cyclist and participate in a 100 mile charity ride every year. My wife and I also enjoy travelling and have a “bucket list” of destinations which we are slowly working through

  • Chris Greenwell

    Non-Executive Director

    Chris Greenwell

    Non-Executive Director

    How long you have been an esbs Non-Executive Director (NED) and your current position(s) held?

    I have been a Non-Executive Director since October 2021. I  am a member of the Nominations Committee, the Remuneration Committee, and the Audit Committee

    Career background?

    I qualified as Solicitor in April 1986 and have practised across a wide range of Litigation disciplines at Tollers, Nelsons, and latterly from May 2008 to date, Gateley PLC.  From 1st September 2021 I have become a part time Ambassador for Gateley PLC and have largely withdrawn from practising as a solicitor

    Why did you join the esbs Board?

    I believe that my extensive career experience is suited to helping esbs continue to thrive in its market place

    What it is about working at the Society which you enjoy the most?

    I have lived in Leicestershire for 35 years and esbs is part of the fabric of the County. esbs is aligned with my zest for community support and represents a conduit through which my lifetime experience can be put to good use

    Hobbies and Interests outside of work?

    I am a Trustee at Dove Cottage Day Hospice, and an Ambassador for LOROS, plus I am a committee member of Leicestershire Wooden Spoon Society which is the children’s charity of rugby.

    From 1st May 2024 I became Solicitor, Head of Legal at  Champions (UK) PLC one day a week alongside being an Ambassador at Gateley Solicitors.

    I am also an Ambassador for Anthony James Insurance Brokers Limited, Loughborough.

    I love mountaineering and hill/dog walking, watching rugby, playing golf, and skiing, I also enjoy wine, cooking and military history; I’m hoping to study with the Oxford University department for Continuing Education commencing with the Wars of the Roses!

  • Darren Hickman

    Non-Executive Director

    Darren Hickman

    Non-Executive Director

    How long you have been an esbs Non-Executive Director (NED) and your current position(s) held?

    I have been a Non-Executive Director since November 2020. I chair the Risk and Compliance Committee

    Career background?

    Until December 2019 I was the Finance and Relationship Director for the Insurance Company of Santander Bank, based at Narborough. I worked for the Bank, under its different names, for 37 years, starting with the Leicester Building Society. I held a variety of executive positions including Operational Management, Marketing, IT and Change Management

    I am a qualified accountant and an associate member of the Chartered Banking Institute

    Why did you join the esbs Board?

    There are two main reasons why I was keen to join the esbs Board. Firstly, having lived and worked in Leicestershire all my life I am a passionate supporter of esbs’ local community-based approach. Secondly, after a career working exclusively in financial services, I hope my skills and knowledge will help to ensure the Society continues to be successful in the future

    What it is about working at the Society which you enjoy the most?

    There is a great team spirit and positive belief to drive the Society forward, maximising its mutual status and delivering benefit for all of its members and community

    Hobbies and Interests outside of work?

    I am also a Non-Executive Director for an NHS Integrated Care Board and Insurance Company.

    I am a keen supporter of Leicester’s football, rugby and hockey teams. I try to keep active by cycling, walking and going to the gym. I enjoy spending time with my family, reading and am very content just pottering in the garden

  • Laura Mackie

    Non-Executive Director

    Laura Mackie

    Non-Executive Director

    How long you have been an esbs Non-Executive
    Director (NED) and your current position(s) held?

    Since November 2017. I am also Chair of the Remuneration Committee, and a member of the Society’s Audit Committee

    Career background:

    I am a Chartered Banker and spent my early career with HSBC Bank, primarily in retail branch management. I moved out of financial services into the fast-moving consumer goods sector, predominantly within finance, sales and marketing

    Why did you join the esbs Board?

    As part of the esbs team, I welcome the opportunity to meaningfully contribute to the prosperity of my local community. I feel proud to have joined an organisation that has put its customers first for over 160 years and am eager to safeguard and promote the benefits of mutual membership for future generations

    What it is about working at the Society which you enjoy the most?

    Delivering results as part of a diverse, talented and driven team, with a shared set of beliefs and heartfelt commitment to its customers, colleagues and community

    Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of work?

    Most of my time outside of work is spent with family and friends.  I’m constantly planning adventures and have recently discovered the joys of camping and climbing

  • John Stables

    Non-Executive Director

    John Stables

    Non-Executive Director

    How long you have been an esbs Non-Executive
    Director (NED) and your current position(s) held?

    Since November 2017. I am also  Chair of the Audit Committee and a member of the Society’s Nominations Committee

    Career background:

    I am a Chartered Accountant and retired as Chief Financial Officer of Openfield Group in December 2016. Openfield is the UK’s largest farmer-owned grain marketing mutual

    Why did you join the esbs Board?

    Many people do not understand the mutual business model and the concept of being responsible to the individual members of the Society, who all have equal standing. I am keen to support the executive management and employees in delivering continued long-term benefits to members

    What it is about working at the Society which you enjoy the most?

    Working with fellow Directors and other stakeholders in problem solving, promoting lateral thinking, encouraging, challenging, mentoring and supporting, drawing on nearly 40 years of diverse business experience in finance and general management

    Do you have any hobbies or interests outside of work?

    I have a keen interest in the UK’s  Inland Waterways. I enjoy travelling, following England cricket as a Marylebone Cricket Club member and rugby (live and from the armchair). I also love spending time with my children and, particularly, my grandchildren, who leave insufficient time to get the golf handicap lower!

  • Helen Stevens

    Non-Executive Director

    Helen Stevens

    Non-Executive Director

    How long have you been in your current role?

    Since March 2024

    Career background?

    I have almost 30 years experience in Financial Services and I’ve worked for a variety of investment management firms, banks and asset servicing businesses during that time.

    All of the roles that I’ve enjoyed the most over the course of my career to date have had a strong customer focus – from client service roles in London and Sydney at the very beginning of my working life, to more recently leading an asset servicing and fund administration business as CEO, back in my home town of Nottingham.

    In 2020, I embarked on a new phase of my career and began building a portfolio of roles as a Trustee and Non-Exec Director. This allows me to work for a variety of interesting organisations across the charitable and private sectors and gives me the flexibility to balance my professional life with home and family. In addition to esbs I am currently a trustee of Handmade – an inclusive theatre company, and of Epic Partners – a community engagement charity, which supports children and young people in Nottingham City.

    Why did you join esbs?

    I am a strong supporter of the mutual model and believe that its commitment to delivering fairly priced, clearly defined, high quality financial products and services is especially important in the current economic climate.

    I also believe that it’s vital that trusted financial institutions continue to flourish outside the financial hubs of London and Edinburgh so that people can access services locally. Being from the East Midlands myself, the opportunity to join esbs was really exciting.

    What is it about working at esbs which you enjoy most?

    I am enjoying the collaborative approach that the team takes to problem solving and helping the Society to evolve.

    Hobbies and interests outside of work?

    Outside of work I love to travel and spend time with my family exploring Britain’s coast and countryside. I also love music and theatre, and playing the piano (as long as there’s nobody within earshot!).

  • Stephen Wigfull

    Deputy Chief Executive & Finance Director

    Stephen Wigfull

    Deputy Chief Executive & Finance Director

    How long have you been in your current role?

    Since August 2019

    Career background?

    I qualified as an chartered accountant in 2007 and worked for Barclays Bank (both in the UK and abroad) before joining the Society in 2016

    Why did you join esbs?

    To contribute to a building society who promote saving and home ownership which align with my values. I was also, and continue to be, impressed by the skills and character of the staff at the Society

    What is it about working at esbs which you enjoy most?

    Supporting the success of the Society through financial analysis and strategic decision making

    Hobbies and interests outside of work?

    I enjoy running, swimming and cycling and have competed in triathlons. I am also a member of a sailing club in Wanlip and am hoping to start sailing more