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 all 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 works closely with Darrel on investment origination and execution.



Fraser Bradshaw, Partner

Fraser has 25 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 and focuses on sourcing new investment opportunities for Imbiba and deal execution.


Imbiba Advisory Board - office chairs

Advisory Board

Karen Jones CBE
Chairman Hawksmoor
Founder of Food & Fuel
Tom Davies
CEO Brakespear
Karen Forrester
CEO TGI Friday's
Graham Turner
Chairman of ETM & Barburrito
Non-Executive Director, Ole & Steen
Martin Clarke
Former Head of Leisure, Permira