Board of Directors & Leadership Team

John Martin St. Valery

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Having founded Links Group in 2002, John has spearheaded the growth of a Partnership into the corporate structure that now exists. Eighteen years living and working in the UAE and Qatar has given John a unique and unrivalled insight into the commercial opportunities in this rapidly developing region.

An entrepreneur who also has been recognised as a corporate governance specialist, John has been involved in the establishment and ongoing local partner services of hundreds of companies ensuring that the interests and assets of the foreign party are always fully protected whilst maintaining a strict duty of care for local partners involved.

Previous senior management roles with Citibank and Kodak were preceded by an eight year period with the Metropolitan Police in London.

Today John advises many group companies at board level, particularly in the areas of entrepreneurship, corporate governance and business development.

John is the current Chairman & CEO of the British Business Group, Dubai & Northern Emirates – a wholly voluntary position he was nominated and voted into by his peers.

John Martin St. Valery

Founder & CEO

Board Member

Julie Irving

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Following a main board level directorship with a major international airline, Julie relocated to Dubai in 2002 as Managing Director of an airline supply company. After successfully completing the re-engineering of the Middle East operation, Julie formed her own consultancy, focusing on small to medium sized business enterprises in the Middle East.

Julie joined Links Group as Chief Operating Officer in 2006 having previously been an independent advisor to the Board for strategy planning. The operational excellence attributed to the group is a result of Julie’s firm application of Plc standards. Julie advises a number of group companies at board-level, specialising in strategy review and implementation.

Julie Irving

Shareholder/Director

Board Member

Nick Edmunds

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Nick joined Links Group as Chief Operating Officer in March 2017 following the strategic partnership with Equiom Group. Before joining Links Group, Nick was founder and CEO of Aldridges, assisting clients solve market entry and business development challenges across the Middle East and Africa.

As a former British Army officer who has lived and worked in the Middle East since 2003, Nick’s experience in the region includes business development and commercial management across wide range of sectors including; security and risk management, consulting, oil and gas, renewables, transport, construction and government. Nick’s particular expertise is helping companies achieve growth in challenging markets through geographic expansion and/or business line diversification.

Nick’s role within Links Group is to support the CEO and executive leadership team to deliver the overall business strategy.

Nick Edmunds

Chief Operating Officer

Board Member

John Highfield

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John is a Chartered accountant (ICAEW) from the UK, who has been working in the UAE in senior Finance positions since 2006. He brings a wealth of board-level and commercial experience to Links Group. As Group Finance Director & Company Secretary, John holds the financial and fiduciary responsibilities of the business with a particular focus on operational excellence and client satisfaction.

Prior to joining Links Group he held senior positions in the Construction and IT Services sectors, with both national and international exposure. John is an accomplished decision maker, motivated to deliver the highest quality results and levels of customer satisfaction.

John Highfield

Group Finance Director

Board Member

Wayne Merrick

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Wayne is Group General Manager at Links Group, having joined in early April 2011 as a consultant.

Following a successful 8 years with the UK’s largest regional publisher as Sales and Marketing Manager, Wayne relocated to Qatar in late 2008. The following year he was appointed Country Business Development Manager in Qatar, with a multi-national industrial services provider in the Oil & Gas Industry.

Wayne was promoted to General Manager for Qatar in October 2011, and two years later Wayne moved to Abu Dhabi to adopt the General Manager’s position in Links Group’s Abu Dhabi office. His continued success led to a further promotion, in November 2014, to Head of Consulting for both UAE and Qatar.

Wayne has a 2:1 honours degree in Sport and Business Management from the University of Birmingham (UK).

Wayne Merrick

Group General Manager - Operations

 

Neil_Wilson

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Neil is the Country Manager for Qatar. He brings with him over 13 years of experience of doing business in the Middle East. Neil’s experience is in international trade, having developed business from America and Europe through to the Middle East and Far East. He has also held commercial positions where he was responsible for developing business in the Arabian Gulf; as well as managing a network of sales agents in 16 different countries around the world.

Neil’s most recent role was working with industry, government, research institutes and professional bodies within the UK in order to increase science and innovation capability. He was involved in a Ministerial-led international research programme, which strengthens research and innovation partnerships between the UK and 15 emerging (knowledge) economies.

Neil was also a member of Her Majesty’s Diplomatic Service serving in Mozambique, Iran and Saudi Arabia.

Neil Wilson

Country Manager - Qatar

 

Erin Haynes

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Erin has recently joined Links Group as Head of Human Resources having previously worked internationally in the US, Europe and Asia, primarily for small and medium businesses. Erin is highly experienced in helping organizations to review, plan and implement people priorities in line with business drivers and plans.

As Head of HR, Erin’s role is to ensure that Links Group, as a body of dynamic and trained professionals is consistently delivering on its core values and positively collaborating to effectively drive the business forward. There is a lot involved in making that statement come to life every day and clients will see the benefit of that work with every interaction they have with Links Group staff members.

Erin holds a BSc in Psychology from the Florida Institute of Technology in the US and a MA in Human Resources Management from Keele University in the UK. She is also a Member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD).

Erin Haynes

Head of Human Resources

 

Jo Andrews

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Jo joined Links Group as Head of Business Development in March 2017.  Prior to joining the management team, Jo was a consultant in the region, supporting businesses in identifying and resolving key challenges and developing efficient sales growth.

In her capacity as Head of Business Development Jo is responsible for driving group strategy and business development across the group, building and enhancing key strategic relationships and to oversee client management and strategic coordination; together with elevating our sales proficiency and performance as Links Group continues to grow and develop. 

Jo brings with her a wealth of commercial and sales leadership experience, including more than 10 years within blue chip organisations such as GE Capital, IG Group and American Express. 

 

Jo Andrews

Head of Business Development

 

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