Board of Directors

Alan Hughes

Non-Executive Chairman

Skills brought to the Board: retail banking & finance; successful innovation; fintech; marketing; non-executive and chair experience.

Alan had 35 years with HSBC, rising to its UK executive board as General Manager. One of his HSBC roles was CEO of FirstDirect Bank where he introduced its digital services, significant product innovation and quadrupled its size and returns. He was responsible for all HSBC UK's products, pricing and marketing. He has had several non-executive roles, currently he is Chair of Unity Trust Bank plc and Chair of Mitsubishi HC Capital UK plc.  He has taught banking and lectured at Warwick and Oxford Universities on service and innovation. He was Pro-Chancellor and deputy Chair of Council at Loughborough University. He has an MBA from Henley, is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers, a Fellow of the Royal Society for Arts, Manufactures and Commerces and holds an Honorary Doctorate from Loughborough University.


Ian Strafford-Taylor

Chief Executive Officer

Skills brought to the Board: Investment Banking, Finance and Operational Expertise

Mr. Strafford-Taylor is one of the Founders and has been a Director since 2007. Mr Strafford-Taylor has held a number of senior banking roles, including Business Unit Controller and Head of International Securities Lending at Morgan Stanley, where he worked from 1985 to 1992. Following this, Mr. Strafford-Taylor moved to UBS where he worked for 13 years as Managing Director and Global Head of Securities Borrowing & Lending, Fixed Income Repo and Prime Brokerage. Mr. Strafford-Taylor is a chartered accountant, qualifying with Arthur Andersen in 1985


Richard Cooper

Chief Financial Officer

Skills brought to the Board: Finance, Corporate Finance, M&A, Tax

Richard joins the Board with extensive public market and growth company experience. He was the CFO of GVC Holdings plc (now renamed Entain plc), one of the world’s largest sports-betting, gaming and interactive entertainment groups, from 2008 to 2017. Whilst at GVC, Richard played a key role in the implementation of the Company's acquisition strategy during that period, together with its move from AIM to the premium segment of the London Stock Exchange's Main Market. Entain is currently included within the FTSE 100 index. He was also a non-executive director and chairman of the Audit Committee of Sportech Plc from May 2017 to October 2018.

Richard, a Chartered Accountant, is also currently a non-executive director of two AIM-quoted companies; ENGAGE XR  Holdings plc, a virtual reality (‘VR’) technology company and Insig AI plc, a data science and ESG solutions company.


Sian Herbert

Non-Executive Director

Skills brought to the Board: Audit, Financial Crime and Risk and Regulation and change management


Sian Herbert has had an extensive City career spanning 35 years within audit, financial crime, risk and regulation, and change focusing on the financial services and technology sectors.  She gained 25 years’ experience at PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP (‘PwC’), including fifteen years as Partner, stepping down in June 2020.  At PwC, Sian was a partner within the forensic services group, becoming an established expert in financial services, e-money and payment services, advising on financial crime, risk, regulatory change and the impact of technology.

As well as being a member of the ICAEW, Sian is also a Member of the Hong Kong Society of Accountants.  Since July 2020, Sian has held a position as a Non-Executive Director and Chair of the Audit Committee of HBL Bank UK Limited and has recently been appointed to the Board of Mitsubishi HC Capital UK PLC as the Audit and Risk Committee Chairs.

Christopher Bones

Non-Executive Director

Skills brought to the Board: Branding, digital growth and business consultancy

Chris has held senior executive positions at major companies including Diageo and Cadbury. He was also Principal/Executive Dean of the Henley Business School from 2004-2010.  Chris co-founded Good Growth Ltd (‘Good Growth’), a successful e-commerce consulting business whose clients include Diageo, Kraft Heinz, WH Smith, Pets at Home, ITV, Boohoo, Channel 4, and others. Good Growth has grown into a successful SME powering rapid digitally-fuelled growth in both B2C and B2B businesses across Europe and North America and he brings this experience to the Board in support of Equals’ growth. Chris sold his shares in Good Growth in 2021 and now has a solely non-executive career.  He is chair of the Remuneration Committee for Equals PLC.  His other roles are that of Chair of the Chartered Institute of Legal Executives and as a Non-Executive Director of The Pipeline, a specialist consultancy and training organisation focusing on the development of women and managers from ethnic minority communities into executive leadership positions in business, public and third sector organisations.  He is also a non-executive director of the Glasgow Colleges Regional Board.  Chris won the UK’s Management Book of the Year prize in 2012 and was awarded an honorary doctorate from Aberdeen University, from which he holds his undergraduate degree.