The Imbiba team combines deep operational expertise with investment experience - all exclusively focused on the UK leisure and hospitality sector. We believe this combination provides a significant competitive advantage to our investee companies.
John Connell, Chairman
John is a serial leisure entrepreneur who built and sold two UK pub groups prior to founding Imbiba in 1997 as a specialist investor, focused on the bar, restaurant and hospitality sectors.
John has been Chairman of numerous Imbiba investments since 1997.
Simon Wheeler, Partner
A chartered accountant, Simon trained at a Big Four practice before moving into industry with Cadbury Schweppes.
From 1997 Simon was Finance Director of the early Imbiba investments before transitioning to a Non-Executive Finance Director role, recruiting FDs into the respective businesses, ensuring high quality reporting and margin control across all Imbiba businesses.
Brian Phillips, Partner
Brian has over 30 years private equity experience, developing a wide range of businesses, initially at Bridgepoint, before founding Greenhill Capital (renamed Kester). Brian has completed over 40 private equity investments and overseen many more. His leisure market investments include Cafe Rouge, Bella Italia, Vue Cinemas and Rileys, amongst others.
Brian is currently Chairman of Purple Dragon and focuses on sourcing new investment opportunities for Imbiba and deal execution.
Fraser Bradshaw, Partner
Fraser has 30 years' experience in strategic marketing within client companies and communications agencies. As former Managing Director at McCann Erickson, he has worked in UK and international markets developing business and brand plans with a focus on the leisure industry. Fraser is founder and Chairman of digital and creative agency saintnicks.
Fraser works with all Imbiba portfolio businesses on their respective brand, marketing and digital strategies, and demand generation initiatives.
Darrel Connell, Partner
Prior to joining Imbiba, Darrel was formerly a Director at Foresight Group, a market leading UK lower mid-market private equity firm with £3bn of assets under management. Darrel led the firm's consumer and leisure coverage and was a Non-Executive on the board of multiple high growth consumer businesses.
Darrel is currently a Non-Executive on the Board of Purple Dragon, Vagabond Wines and Farmer J and focuses on sourcing new investment opportunities for Imbiba and deal execution.
Lizzie Ryan, Director
Lizzie has over 10 years’ experience working in M&A and private equity. Prior to joining Imbiba, Lizzie worked at Foresight Group as a Senior Investment Manager focusing on consumer & leisure investments, where she sat on a number of portfolio company boards as a non-executive director, and at Synova Capital and Deloitte LLP where she focused on mid-market transactions.
Lizzie focuses on sourcing new investment opportunities opportunities and deal execution, and is a fully qualified Chartered Accountant (ACA).
Andrew has 30 years hospitality and leisure experience. Prior to joining Imbiba, Andrew was Managing Director of Be At One working with the founders and private equity partners to grow the company from 10 to 39 sites then managing a trade sale in 2018 to Stonegate pub company. Andrew has a broad range of operational experience having worked for hospitality companies such as Whitbread, Spirit Group and JD Wetherspoons and in leisure with Esporta and American Amusements.
Andrew provides operational guidance and expertise to portfolio businesses.
Kieran has over 25 years hospitality and leisure experience. Prior to joining Imbiba, he was Property Director for YO!Sushi acquiring over 70 sites in both UK and the US. He brings significant acquisitions experience from his work with Mitchells and Butler, Whitbread and as former Property Director at Black Sheep Coffee. Kieran provides property expertise to portfolio businesses across site negotiation, management of landlords, lettings, real estate appraisal and site selection.
Angus is an Investment Analyst at Imbiba, researching key market sectors for existing and prospective investee companies, implementing due diligence and financial modelling within the team.
Prior to Imbiba, Angus worked in equities at Barclays Capital. Angus graduated with a BA Classics from Durham.
Karen Jones CBE
Founder of Food & Fuel
CEO TGI Friday's
Chairman of ETM & Barburrito
Non-Executive Director, Ole & Steen
CFO, The AA
Former Head of Leisure, Permira