Features / People

Bristol Power List 2020

By ellie pipe, Friday Jan 31, 2020

Bristol in 2020 is changing fast. While creativity and innovation flourish across sectors, our city is also working to bridge divides, build a sustainable and inclusive future, and find a fitting way to come to terms with its slave trade history.

But just who are the people with the power and influence to shape the city? Bristol24/7 has put together a list of 50 movers and shakers set to make their mark in 2020.

In alphabetical order:

Ross Ancell

Businessman Ross Ancell is master of the Society of Merchant Venturers. Photo courtesy of Ross Ancell

The chairman and majority shareholder of Churngold Construction Holdings Ltd, Ancell is also the current master of the Society of Merchant Venturers, an affluent, influential and secretive Bristol society dating back centuries.

Andrew Billingham is leading the development of the proposed arena in Filton. Photo courtesy of Bristol Sport

Appointed managing director of the proposed YTL Arena to be built in the Brabazon Hangers on the former Filton airfield, Billingham is tasked with overseeing the development of a “world class venue”.

Spencer Blackwell

Spencer Blackwell is a prominent campaigner and organiser of Trans Pride South West. Photo courtesy of Spencer Blackwell

The co-organiser of Trans Pride South West, an annual event with a national profile, Blackwell is a campaigner for LGBTQ+ rights.

Sir Simon Bollom

Sir Simon Bollom provides billions of pounds worth of equipment to the armed forces. Photo courtesy of the Ministry of Defence

The CEO of defence equipment and support at the Ministry of Defence in Filton Abbey Wood, Bollom is responsible for delivering £10 billion worth of equipment and support to the UK’s armed forces.


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Gavin Bridge

Gavin Bridge is a developer involved in a number of initiatives to shape the city. Photo courtesy of Cubex

The co-founder and executive director of Cubex, the developers behind Finzels Reach, Bridge has a leading role in a number of initiatives and is an advisor to the Watershed Capital Project Board.

Barbara Brown

Barbara Brown ensures underrepresented groups have a voice. Photo from LinkedIn

As director of Bristol Women’s Voice, Brown takes a leading role in amplifying the voices of women from all communities. She also sits on the board of Black South West Network.

Marti Burgess

Marti Burgess is a lawyer who sits on a number of boards in Bristol. Photo courtesy of Marti Burgess

A corporate partner at national law firm Bevan Brittan LLP, Burgess is also co-owner of Lakota and helped turn it into an internationally renowned venue. She sits on a number of boards, including the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership and St Paul’s Carnival CIC.

Jaya Chakrabarti

Jaya Chakrabarti is leading the field on open data. Photo courtesy of Jaya Chakrabarti

The CEO of Semantrica Ltd and TISCreport, Chakrabarti led the creation of the world’s largest open data platform, which works to tackle slavery in supply chains. She is also board member of Home Office Transparency in Supply Chains Modern Slavery Strategy & Implementation Group and has developed an afforestation app, VANA.

Yola Carter

Yola Carter was nominated for four Grammies last year.  Credit unknown

A musician, singer and songwriter, Carter was nominated for four Grammies in 2019 and has recently been profiled in the New York Times.

Alison Cooper

Alison Cooper is due to step down from her role as CEO of Imperial. Photo courtesy of Imperial Brands

The CEO of Imperial Brands, the giant tobacco factory with its global HQ in Bedminster, Cooper announced she will be stepping down once a replacement has been found. She has held the position for nine years and led the FTSE 100 company through turbulent times.

Asher Craig

Deputy mayor Asher Craig has taken a lead role in providing opportunities. Photo by Ellie Pipe

One of Bristol’s two deputy mayors, Craig is also cabinet member for communities, equalities and public health. She has also pioneered projects, including the Stepping Up programme, providing leadership training opportunities for underrepresented groups.

Mya-Rose Craig

Nature lover Mya-Rose Craig is fast gaining a national profile. Photo by Ellie Pipe

The youngest Briton to be awarded an honorary doctorate, Craig is a nature lover and campaigner who founded Black2Nature, to engage underrepresented groups in nature, and has hosted national conferences for leading wildlife organisations to tackle the lack of diversity in the sector.

Kathryn Davis

Kathryn Davis is tasked with showcasing Bristol on the world stage. Photo from LinkedIn

As head of tourism for Destination Bristol, Davis heads the strategic development of the visitor economy in Bristol and works on a global scale to develop the region as a premier leisure and business tourism destination.

Harry Destecroix

Harry Destecroix is set to expand Bristol’s only science incubator. Photo courtesy of Unit DX

The co-founder of Unit DX, a science and deep tech incubator set for expansion, Destecroix also co-founded Ziylo, a company sold to a pharmaceutical giant in a multi-million deal, and went on to found Carbometrics.

James Durie

James Durie is an influential voice on many local projects. Photo courtesy of Business West

The chief executive of Business West and Bristol Chamber of Commerce & Initiative, Durie sits on a number of influential boards in the region, including the West of England Local Enterprise Partnership (LEP).

Reverend Vivienne Faull

Reverend Vivienne Faull is the 57th Bishop of Bristol. Photo by Lydia Melville

Appointed as the 57th Bishop of Bristol in 2018, Faull oversees the 71 Church of England Schools that come under the Diocese of Bristol as part of her role. She is also a member of the House of Lords.

Mena Fombo

Mena Fombo heads up a number of organisations and is an international ambassador for Bristol. Photo by Angela Dennis

The founder of Black Girl Convention and co-founder of Blak Wave TV production company, Fombo also heads up Eight, Knowle West Media Centre’s creative agency, and was named an international ambassador for Bristol in 2019.

Fiona Francombe

Fiona Francombe is a leading figure in film production. Photo courtesy of The Bottle Yard Studios

The site director of the Bottle Yard Studios, Francombe is also on the board of The Production Guild of Great Britain, the UK’s most prestigious membership organisation for film and TV production management professionals.

Phil Gibby

Phil Gibby has an influential role with Arts Counci England. Photo from LinkedIn

The south west director of Arts Council England, Gibby is responsible for the allocation of funds to organisations across the region.

Jane Ginnever

Jane Ginnever champions women in business. Photo courtesy of Jane Ginnever

The founding director of Shift Consultancy played an integral role in launching Bristol’s Women in Business Charter. Ginnever also sits on the One City Plan economy board.

Amy Golding

Amy Golding was the youngest female CEO of a $100m company in the UK. Photo courtesy of Opus Talent Solutions

Appointed CEO of Opus Talent Solutions in 2017, Golding became the youngest female CEO of a $100 million company in the UK.

Dave Harvey and Tom Paine

Dave Harvey and Tom Paine are the pair behind many major Bristol festivals and events. Photo by Sophia Spring

As co-founders of Team Love, the duo are the driving force behind some of Bristol’s biggest festivals and events, including Love Saves the Day, the Downs Festival and the return Eat Drink Bristol Fashion in May 2020.

Lawrence Hoo

Lawrence Hoo will bring CARGO to Bristol this year. Photo by Ellie Pipe

A poet and activist, Hoo is the creator of CARGO, a new immersive multi-media experience that offers an alternative narrative to the story of the transatlantic slave trade, which is due to be installed on College Green in spring 2020.

Sado Jirde

Sado Jirde has spoken out about the need to grow an inclusive economy in Bristol. Photo by Ellie Pipe

The director of Black South West Network, Jirde takes a leading role on citywide discussions around inclusive growth and was responsible for setting up a business network for black, Asian and minority ethnic professionals.

Stephen Lansdown

Businessman Stephen Lansdown is the founder of Bristol Sport. Photo courtesy of Bristol City FC

Co-founder of FTSE 100 company Hargreaves Lansdown, Lansdown is also the founder of Bristol Sport, which his son Jon manages, and a majority shareholder of Bristol Bears, Bristol Flyers and Bristol City FC.

Barra Mac Ruairí

Barra Mac Ruairi oversees management and development at Bristol University. Photo courtesy of GVA (YouTube)

Formerly Bristol City Council’s strategic director for place, Mac Ruairí was in charge of the arena project before resigning to become the new divisional director of design and development at YTL UK Development, owners of the Brabazon Hangars. He has now been appointed by the University of Bristol to oversee the management and development of buildings and grounds, including the new Temple Quarter campus.

Grant Mansfield

Grant Mansfield is an influential voice in film production. Photo courtesy of Plimsoll Productions

The CEO and founder of Plimsoll Productions, Mansfield is a board member and governor of UWE Bristol. He played a role in the successful bid to Channel 4, which has recently opened a new creative hub in Bristol.

Steph Marshall

Steph Marshall is head of regional and local programmes for the BBC. Photo courtesy of BBC

With operational responsibility for the BBC’s services in the South West and West, Steph Marshall is responsible for a huge amount of output across a multitude of channels. She was previously editor of Points West and also worked on BBC Breakfast.

LaToyah McAllister-Jones

LaToyah McAllister-Jones is responsible for the organising of St Paul’s Carnival. Photo by Martin Booth

Appointed executive director of St Paul’s Carnival CIC in 2019, McAllister-Jones is also a change management consultant and coaches other leaders as an action learning facilitator. She sits on the boards of United Communities and Bristol Festivals.

Kerry-Anne Mendoza

Kerry Anne Mendoza is the founder and editor-in-chief of The Canary. Photo from Twitter

A writer, journalist and social commentator, Mendoza is also the founder and editor-in-chief of The Canary, an independent, national left-wing website.

Sacha Mirzoeff

Sacha Mirzoeff leads Channel 4’s new creative hub in Bristol. Photo by Paul Groom

The founder of Marble Films and a former BBC documentaries executive, Mirzoeff has been appointed factual commissioning editor and head of Channel 4’s new Bristol creative hub.

Louise Mitchell

Louise Mitchell is overseeing the multi-million-pound redevelopment of one of Bristol’s most famous venues. Photo courtesy of Bristol Music Trust

The chief executive of Bristol Music Trust, Mitchell is currently overseeing the multi-million-pound transformation of the soon-to-be-renamed Colston Hall.

Colin Molton

Colin Molton has overseen some of the biggest decisions in Bristol City Council. Photo courtesy of Clarke Willmott (YouTube)

Employed through recruitment firm Penna, Molton was Bristol City Council’s highest-paid executive director and oversaw the controversial decision over the future of Temple Island. A successor has been appointed but he remains in place at the council indefinitely.

Terence Mordaunt

The owner of Bristol Port Terence Mordaunt is also chair of a prominent climate science denial group. Photo courtesy of Bristol Port Company

The owner and chairman of Bristol Port, Mordaunt also became director and chair of a prominent national climate science denial campaign group, the Global Warming Policy Foundation in late 2019.

Zara Nanu

Zara Nanu joined world leaders in Davos to speak about gender equality. Photo by Ellie Pipe

The co-founder and CEO of Gapsquare, Nanu is a leading expert on gender pay gap analysis. She joined world leaders in Davos in January 2020 to talk about gender equality.

Chinonyerem Odimba

Chinonyerem Odimba is chair of Theatre Bristol. Photo from Twitter

A celebrated playwright, theatre director and poet, Odimba was appointed chair of Theatre Bristol, an organisation that champions arts and culture, in 2019.

Alice Peacock

Alice Peacock is the MD of Alastair Currie Events and president of Bristol Junior Chamber. Photo by Judith Parkyn Photography

The managing director of Alastair Currie Events, Peacock is also president of the Bristol Junior Chamber (2019-2020) and committee lead of networking group Bristol Young Professionals.

Stephen Peacock

Stephen Peacock is Bristol City Council’s executive director of growth and regeneration. Photo courtesy of Bristol City Council

Appointed in September 2019 as Bristol City Council’s executive director of growth and regeneration, Peacock will take the lead on major projects such as the transformation of Temple Meads, Western Harbour redevelopment plans and identifying sites for housing.

Clare Reddington

Clare Reddington is an influential voice in arts in the city. Photo by Jon Aitken

The CEO of Watershed, Reddington is also a visiting professor at UWE Bristol, chair of Emma Rice’s Wise Children theatre company, and a trustee at the Royal Shakespeare Company and British Council.

Marvin Rees

Marvin Rees will stand for re-election as mayor of Bristol in May. Photo by Ellie Pipe

Elected as mayor of Bristol in 2016, Rees has ultimate decision-making power on council matters. During his term in office, he has put major infrastructure ideas on the table, including the redevelopment of the Cumberland Basin and a mass transit system, and oversaw the controversial decision to move arena plans out of the city centre. He launched the One City Plan in January 2019 in a bid to build inclusive growth. Rees will stand for re-election in May 2020.

Simon Roberts

Simon Roberts is a prominent voice in sustainability in Bristol and the UK. Photo from LinkedIn

As chief executive of the Centre for Sustainable Energy, Roberts is one of the key people responsible for ensuring Bristol meets its pledge to become carbon neutral by 2030. He also acts as a special advisor to government, academic and industry bodies and is the chair of Thrive Renewables and non-executive director of Bristol Green Capital Partnership CIC.

Julia Ross

Julia Ross is head of the NHS commissioning service. Photo courtesy of NHS Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloustershire CCG

The chief executive of the Bristol, North Somerset and South Gloucestershire NHS Clinical Commissioning Group, Ross is tasked with leading the organisation as it goes through unprecedented changes.

Ed Rowberry

Ed Rowberry is currently chair of the One City Office. Photo from Twitter

Alongside being chief executive of Bristol & Bath Regional Capital CIC, Rowberry is currently working part-time on secondment as chair of the One City Office, launched in January 2019 to develop the mayor’s One City Plan.

Nikesh Shukla

Nikesh Shukla is an award-winning author.  Photo by Jess Connett

An influential, award-winning author, screenwriter and fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, Shukla uses his international platform to speak and write on issues of race and immigration.

Kevin Slocombe

As head of the mayor’s team, Kevin Slocombe is an influential figure in City Hall. Photo from Twitter

Appointed as Marvin Rees’ top adviser in 2016, the head of the mayor’s office previously ran Jeremy Corbyn’s press team. He earns more than the mayor and sits on a number of strategic boards, including transport.

Anna Starkey

Anna Starkey has led We The Curious through a number of changes. Photo by Ellie Pipe

The chief creative officer of We The Curious, Starkey has overseen a dramatic shift in culture within the organisation once known as AtBristol. She is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts, Manufacture and Commerce and trustee of the British Paraorchestra and Friends.

Andy Street

Andy Street is chair of City Funds and FareShare South West, among other responsibilities. Photo courtesy of Andy Street

The director of SLR Consulting Ltd, Street also set up and chairs FareShare South West. He is the chair of the recently-formed City Funds, an initiative designed to tackle inequality, as well as a number of organisations, including Crisis Centre Ministries homelessness charity.

Nigel Toon

Nigel Toon is the CEO of Graphcore. Photo courtesy of Graphcore

A leading tech entrepreneur, Toon is the CEO and co-founder of Graphcore, an artificial intelligence and machine learning tech company that is one of Bristol’s three unicorns, valued at more than $1billion.

Bevis Watts

Bevis Watts uses his platform to speak our about the need for changes in the banking industry. Photo courtesy of Triodos Bank

The CEO of Triodos Bank uses his global platform to call for major changes in the banking industry. He has also had positions on a number of regional boards.

Kalpna Woolf

Kalpna Woolf heads up a number of projects that aim to promote diversity and inclusion. Photo courtesy of Kalpna Woolf

The founder and CEO of BeOnBoard and 91 Ways, Woolf is the former head of production for BBC Bristol who uses her platform to champion diversity and inclusivity.

Who have we missed? Email ellie@bristol247.com to continue the debate; and visit www.bristol247.com to read about who we hope will make this list in the future.

Read more: Bristol People of the Year 2019

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