Strategic Oversight is provided by the Presidents, who each represent their Service, and the Vice-Presidents, who are the current and former Chairmen/Honorary Treasurers. This group meets formally at least twice a year and is kept abreast of current developments by the Chief Executive Officer. The group comprises:
Vice Admiral Sir Richard Ibbotson KBE CB DSC DL – Senior President
A Yorkshireman who joined the Navy in 1972, Vice Admiral Sir Richard Ibbotson retired in 2011 as Deputy Commander in Chief. He was an underwater warfare specialist who spent much of his career at sea.
His achievements included an MSc in Defence technology, the award of a Distinguished Service Cross following mine clearance during the first Gulf Conflict, command of British Forces Falkland Islands, the award of the NATO meritorious service medal for counter terrorism work post 9/11, and command of Britannia Royal Naval College at Dartmouth.
His current roles include Chairman of South Devon NHS Foundation Trust, engagement with Plymouth University (from whom he received an Honorary Doctorate in 2010) and Deputy Lord Lieutenant of Devon.
Lieutenant General Andrew Figgures
Educated at Loughborough Grammar School, Welbeck College and St Catharine’s College, Cambridge, Andrew Figgures was commissioned into the Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers in 1970. In 1995 he was appointed Commander of Equipment Support at HQ Land Command from where he was deployed to Bosnia, for which he was awarded the CBE.
In 1998 he went to the Royal College of Defence Studies and was then appointed Director of Operational Requirements (Land). In 2000 he was appointed as Capability Manager for Manoeuvres and then in September 2003 he was deployed to Iraq as Senior British Military Representative and Deputy Commanding General, Multinational Force, Iraq. In 2004 he became Technical Director at the Defence Procurement Agency and Master-General of the Ordnance. In 2006 he became Deputy Chief of the Defence Staff (Equipment Capability).
From 2009 to 2016 he was Chief Executive of the British Transport Police Authority.
Air Marshal Sir Baz North KCB OBE MA FRAeS
Air Marshal Sir Baz North graduated from Trent Polytechnic and then served in the RAF from 1982 to 2016; joining as a helicopter pilot. Baz commanded 78 Squadron in the Falkland Islands, the Special Forces unit on 7 Squadron and 33 Squadron, where he led Operation BARWOOD, the UK’s contribution to the flood relief effort in Mozambique in 2000.
He was the Commander of the Joint Helicopter Force in Northern Ireland and later the Air Officer Commanding 83 Expeditionary Air Group, leading all UK air operations in Iraq and Afghanistan. Other appointments included being: Head of Air Resources and Plans in the Ministry of Defence; Air Officer Commanding 22 Training Group; a member of the Air Force Board firstly as the Assistant Chief of the Air Staff and then as the Air Member for Personnel and Capability. He also served as a Non-Executive Director of the Civil Aviation Authority and as a member of the UK Space Council.
Baz is a Liveryman of both the Company of Air Pilots and the Gold and Silver Wyre Drawers, and a Fellow of the Royal Aeronautical Society. He was made Nottingham Trent University Alumnus of the Year in 2011. Since retiring Baz fulfils many voluntary roles: the Honorary Air Officer of 2503 Squadron RAuxAF; a Trustee of the Nuffield Trust; President of the Royal Air Forces Association; a Vice-Patron of the Gallantry Medallists’ League; a director of the RAF100 Appeal; giving evidence to the House of Commons Defence Select Committee; and a member of the Nottingham Business School Advisory Board.
Dominic served with what became the Light Dragoons from 1984 to 1988 in Cyprus and Germany and then became an investment manager. From 1992 to 2001 he managed the Officers’ Association’s investment portfolio at Mercury Asset Management, where he was also head of the group that invested for charities. After leaving Mercury in 2001 he had a variety of investment jobs and set up Thistledown Investment Management in 2009.
He was a Trustee of the OA from 2002 and Chairman from 2006 to 2015. He sits on the Board of the Armed Forces Common Investment Fund and heads its investment sub-committee.
Mrs Jocelyn Lynch
Jocelyn Lynch spent over 30 years in financial services; first, building businesses with the military at Strand Insurance and Wilsons Hogg Robinson, both market leaders in offering general insurance and financial planning products to officers in the Army and the RAF. As a company director, she then set up and built the financial planning arm for Horwath Clark Whitehill (now Crowe Clark Whitehill), Chartered Accountants, with branches in Reading, Kent and the City, over 12 years. She specialised in tax and investment planning for high net worth clients, and advised several charities and professional bodies such as the Institution of Civil Engineers and The Salvation Army.
Now retired, she mentors at The Prince’s Trust, and has been actively involved in their major fundraising scheme. She has also been a mentor and visiting lecturer at Oxford Brookes University’s Business School.
Captain Patrick Mitford-Slade OBE
Following service in King’s Royal Rifle Corps/Royal Green Jackets 1955-1968, Patrick Mitford-Slade became a stockbroker with Cazenove & Co. He was on the Council of London Stock Exchange 1976-1991, including a period as Deputy Chairman from 1982 to 85. He was Chairman of various City and Stock Exchange Committees, including the Projects Committee for Big Bang in 1986 and also served as non-Executive Director with investment companies and banks 1996-2008.
He was Chairman of Governors at Reed’s School 2002-2008 (now a Joint President), Chairman at St Luke’s Hospital for the Clergy 2001-2011 (now a Vice-President), Chairman Royal Green Jackets Regimental Trustees and then Rifles Regimental Trustees 2005 to 2012. He was Honorary Treasurer of the Royal Commonwealth Ex-Services League from 1993 to 2005 and subsequently Honorary Recorder until 2016 (now a Vice-President). He was a member of The Royal British Legion Benevolent & Strategy Committee 1998-2005. He became a Trustee of the OA in 1983, acting as Chairman from 1985 to 2000 and became a Vice-President in 2000.
Alex Spofforth BA FCA
Chairman of the Executive Committee
Alex Spofforth BA FCA
Alex was educated at Bradfield College, from which he was a member of the GB Athelings Rifle Team to Canada; then Durham University (during which time he toured Northern Ireland, entertaining the troops with a Durham University revue group).
A partner at Spofforths LLP, a firm of Chartered Accountants in Sussex, he has a wide portfolio of clients including many property and construction, and media businesses as well as a number of charities (including the Coldstream Guards Regimental Funds for some 20 years, and its Association; also the British Schools Exploring Society).
He has been company secretary of Project Hougoumont Limited, a charitable company raising funds for the restoration of the Hougoumont chateau at the field of the Battle of Waterloo.
Based at Spofforths Brighton office, Alex was Chairman of the Southeast Technical Advisory Committee of the Institute of Chartered Accountants in England and Wales (ICAEW), and is now on the Council of ICAEW, sitting on various technical sub-committees and sustainability initiatives. In Spofforths, Alex has also chaired the firm and currently acts as an adviser and mentor to clients on Sustainable Business strategies.
Trustees on the Executive Committee are:
Air Vice Marshal Steven Chisnall
Ben Farrell MBE
Commissioned into the Irish Guards, Ben Farrell held commands during the invasion of Iraq, in Kosovo, Macedonia, Bosnia, Northern Ireland and Afghanistan.
He was awarded an MBE for his service in Kosovo. He commanded The Irish Guards between 2008-2010. He then held a variety of strategy roles in the Ministry of Defence for a number of years and led the team responsible for the day to day running of the British military operation in Iraq for two and a half years. He has a Master’s degree from Cranfield University.
He joined the John Lewis Partnership as Group Head of Operational Risk Management in 2011 and was responsible for developing the John Lewis Partnership’s resilience and awareness of future risks to successful trading. In February 2014 he took up his current role as Head of Operations for John Lewis.
Jonathan Holdsworth was commissioned into The Queen’s Own Hussars in 1992 and served in Germany. He was Group Operations Director for a global media company based in London before getting involved in a couple of start-ups in 2016. He was appointed a Trustee of the OA in May 2012, particularly to support the Employment Department.
Commander John Lea RN
Major General Martin Rutledge CB OBE
Major General Martin Rutledge’s 35 years of Military service included commanding a battlegroup during the Bosnian conflict; a lengthy period underground in the operational headquarters during the Iraq and Kosovo campaigns; several tours in Whitehall; serving as Security Adviser to the Kosovo Government as they gained independence and holding a £2.8bn infrastructure PFI to account as the lead customer. In his last role, with responsibilities for much of the Army across Wales, Central and Eastern England, he was especially engaged in support to Service casualties and their families, and in particular the Personnel Recovery Programme.
He has been Chief Executive of the ABF The Soldiers’ Charity since Feb 2012 and sits as a Trustee/Director on the boards of the OA, Cobseo, FIMT, the Armed Forces Common Investment Fund, the Army Dependants Trust and others.
After a brief first career in commercial property, Richard Sankey attended RMA Sandhurst and was commissioned into the 9th/12th Royal Lancers, now The Royal Lancers following amalgamation in 2015. He left the army in 1998 and studied for an MBA at Cass Business School before moving into the investment management industry. He has worked for several companies in this field and is currently with Psigma Investment Management advising charities, endowments and other institutional investors on their portfolios.
He is a member of the Drapers’ Livery Company in the City of London and sits on the committee of the Old Tonbridgian Society.
Alastair Singleton JP
Alastair Singleton read Modern Languages at Cambridge, followed by a three year contract with the Royal Hong Kong Police, serving as a Detective Inspector in headquarter units. He spent eight years in HM Diplomatic Service, covering variously Southern Africa, the Far and Middle East, and spent a long period as an Arabist, working out of the Cairo Embassy. On leaving, he obtained an MBA from INSEAD (the European Institute of Business Administration).
He became an executive search consultant in 1988, initially as Operations Director in the UK’s largest consultancy, and latterly as a Founding Partner of Hanover Fox International. He has broad experience of interviewing and advising officers leaving the Services, and extensive charity governance/trustee exposure, including with VSO, CleanupUK and Keep Britain Tidy.
Mrs Diana Stephenson
Following a degree in Psychology and English from Keele University, Diana Stephenson obtained a postgraduate Diploma in Industrial Relations at the London School of Economics and joined Gallahers as a management trainee. After subsequently working for the public relations consultancy, Good Relations, she formed her own agency, Flagship Consulting, in 1994, where she is now Chairman. In 2010 she became a founding Director of Annuity Direct Ltd, a specialist independent financial advisory firm, which was bought by the investment powerhouse Fidelity. She was subsequently asked to stay on to run Fidelity’s retirement marketing and did so until March 2016 when she left the company.
In 1994 she was appointed by the Cabinet Office to Chair the South London Branch of the CEPD (Committee for the Employment of People with Disabilities) and appointed to sit on the Strategic Advisory Board of Mencap in 1998. She also runs a specialist interview training service for graduate and senior executives to coach them on interview and presentation techniques.
Mrs Deanne Thomas
Deanne Thomas trained as a chartered accountant, working predominantly in food manufacturing. During a 20 year career working in PLCs, she was promoted from Trainee Accountant to Financial Controller to Commercial and Operations Director. She then spent a number of years as a consultant providing valuable financial skills during business reorganisations. She has also volunteered with the Prince’s Trust as a Business Mentor for former prisoners.
In 2007 she moved away from industry and joined Sailors’ Children’s Society. As Chief Executive, she leads the team providing financial, emotional and practical support to over 450 disadvantaged children of seafarers throughout the United Kingdom.
Further details on the governance, resourcing and operations of the Officers’ Association are to be found in our Annual Report and Accounts.