Universe Group appoints Adrian Wilding and Graham Bird to the Board

Universe Group plc (LON:UNG), a leading developer and supplier of retail management solutions, payment and loyalty systems, has announced the appointment of Adrian Wilding as Chief Financial Officer and Graham Bird as a Non-Executive Director.

Adrian Wilding is an experienced CFO with experience in B2B and B2C financial services, with experience of working in both listed and private equity-led businesses. Adrian has worked with the Company on a consultancy basis in recent weeks and will formally join the board on 1 May 2021. Carmel Warren, previously interim CFO, leaves with the board’s thanks for her contribution as interim CFO.

Adrian’s experience includes the start-up to exit, as both CEO and CFO, of CR7 Services Limited, a business supplying payment hardware and proprietary software to retailers, and SaaS payment processing services to blue chip organisations and other participants in the payments industry. Prior to this, he held senior roles within Just Retirement Group plc, Unum Limited and Riverstone Management. Adrian is a chartered accountant by training.

Graham Bird is a chartered accountant, having qualified with Deloitte, and has over twenty years’ experience in corporate finance and public markets. He is currently the Chief Financial Officer of Escape Hunt plc, the largest international operator of escape rooms, which is quoted on AIM. From 2015 to 2019, he served as a Managing Director at Gresham House plc, where, in addition to supporting the growth of Gresham House plc, he was responsible for establishing and managing the successful strategic equity business unit which focuses on both quoted and unquoted equity investments using the principles and practices of private equity. He is a member of the investment committee for Gresham House Strategic Public Equity funds, acting in an advisory capacity.

Graham is currently non-executive director of Spaceandpeople plc and held the same position at Journey Group plc until late 2016. He has held senior positions at SVG Investment Managers and Paypoint plc, having previously been a director in the corporate finance department of JP Morgan Cazenove. He will join the board on 1 June 2021 and will chair the audit committee.

As previously announced, Jeremy Lewis will formally hand over as CEO to Neil Radley on 1 May 2021.

Andrew Blazye, Executive Chairman, commented:

“I am very pleased to welcome Adrian and Graham to the board. I am sure that their experience will be a great benefit to the Group as we look to deliver on our ambitions for the current financial year and beyond.

“We expect to report our results for the financial year ended 31 December 2020 next week and look forward to providing a further update on our outlook and strategy in the coming months once Neil and Adrian have settled into their roles.”

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