We are working to bring you the best programme possible, so more speakers will be added as their sessions are confirmed.

Martin Blaxall, corporate reporting and communications, AstraZeneca

Martin joined AstraZeneca in 2009 as Director, corporate reporting and communications.  He had previously worked at British Gas plc and its successor companies, leaving National Grid as head of corporate communications. Martin has worked on annual reports on and off throughout his career, and survived the many challenges the project continues to throw up.  His experience also includes corporate branding and sponsorship, internal and external communications as well as organisational and other business issues, particularly during periods of corporate transformation.

Thomas Churchill, investor relations executive, Premier Farnell plc 

 Thomas has been investor relations executive at Premier Farnell plc since June 2011, where he is responsible for the group’s IR communications activity, including its annual report.  Premier Farnell plc is a FTSE 250, global high service technology & electronics distribution company. Prior to joining Premier Farnell, Thomas was a client manager at consultancy RD:IR where he worked closely with a broad range of corporate clients.  


John Dawson, head of investor relations, National Grid

Over the course of seventeen years as head of investor relations at five different companies John has seen and done most things in the profession. Acquisitions, defences (ICI and Cadbury), buy-backs, placements, strategic reviews, restructuring, succession planning and, of course, over 35 results statements, speeches, presentations and thousands of one on one meetings with investors. Now at National Grid, John is also the former Chairman of the IR Society and remains heavily involved in developing an understanding of the value this important profession brings to companies.




John Godfrey, corporate affairs director, Legal & General Group Plc

John Godfrey is Corporate Affairs Director at Legal & General Group Plc. Having joined the company in 2006, he has been involved in Solvency 2 ever since. This has included working on the implications of S2 for infrastructure and other forms of investment, its relationship to Commissioner Barnier's growth Green Paper, LTIFs and the Public-Private Finance initiative.  Educated at Lochaber High School and Oxford University, he was formerly a banker, Special Advisor to Home Secretaries Douglas Hurd and David Waddington, and a candidate for the UK and European Parliaments.

Melanie McLaren, executive director, Codes and Standards Financial Reporting Council 

Melanie is an experienced business leader with strong financial and professional services background and in-depth expertise in risk, regulation and assurance. An experienced chartered accountant, between 1999 and 2009 Melanie was a partner at PricewaterhouseCoopers within their financial services assurance practice. In May 2010 Melanie joined Friends Provident as interim chief risk officer, before becoming business risk director in September of that year. Between August 2011 and June 2012, Melanie was interim chief risk officer of the enlarged Friends Life Group.



Marina Plessas, principal advisor, digital media, Rio Tinto

Marina has 15 years’ experience in the digital space across London and Sydney, including six of those at Rio Tinto. She has managed a number of corporate sites, along with online reporting suites, mobile and social media campaigns, and has a real passion for user experience. As principal advisor, digital media at Rio Tinto her most recent challenge has been amalgamating thirty sites across the business into one global site, riotinto.com.




Andrew Sawers, freelance financial journalist

Andrew is a freelance financial journalist specialising in issues relevant to CFOs. For 12 years he was editor of the award-winning Financial Director magazine. Andrew studied accountancy and economics at the University of Glasgow before taking up a stockbroking career in the City of London. He is a Fellow of the RSA, the Royal Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures and Commerce.


 Jennifer Sundberg, managing director, Board Intelligence

Jennifer is the managing director of Board Intelligence, a business she has led since its inception in 2002. Jennifer was named The Times young business woman of the year and alongside her work with company boards, she plays an active role shaping governance policy in the UK and in Europe. Jennifer is a member of the advisory board of FINCA, a charity that issues over $500m in micro finance loans each year. For five years she authored a column for Management Today and she is a regular speaker at conferences and business schools.


Peter Swabey, policy & research director, Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA)
   Peter is policy & research director at the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (ICSA). Based in London, he is responsible for developing the profile of the Institute to members, regulators, policymakers, employers and other stakeholders by delivering thought leadership and lobbying campaigns aligned to ICSA strategy and promoting strong governance as the vital ingredient for success in organisations. Peter, who joined ICSA in 2013, has almost 30 years’ experience of the share registration industry.

Freddie Woolfe, associate director, Hermes EOS 

Freddie joined Hermes in 2008 and is sector lead for pharmaceuticals. He also sits on Hermes’ consumer goods and retail team. His role involves meeting and challenging leaders of some of the largest companies in the UK on ESG, strategic and financial issues. He also has a strong interest in sustainability integration, both within the investment process and at the corporate level. He is a regular speaker on sustainability and corporate governance issues and sits on a number of investor-related advisory bodies.