Our Board Of Directors

Members of the executive team are invited to attend board meetings every three months. The Board of Directors combines executive and non-executive insight to govern the organisation effectively.

The Chair ensures The Motor Ombudsman’s compliance with OA and CTSI requirements, and that The Motor Ombudsman has a clear strategy for the delivery of service standards – with effective management for its current and future needs. The Chair leads the Board and ensures that it meets its statutory and corporate responsibilities and is effective in its decision making. In addition, he provides the necessary oversight to ensure that the information supplied to the Board is of sufficient accuracy and quality, including in terms of the clarity of content and the purpose and actions required.

The Chair formulates the Board agenda in advance, ensuring that there is sufficient time for important issues to be discussed, and making sure that there is an appropriate balance between strategic matters and operational and assurance business. The last quarter’s financial performance, key activities undertaken, the long-term business plan, and existing and future projects are reviewed, amongst other principal agenda items.

Ron Gainsford (OBE)


Ron joined the Chartered Trading Standards Institute (CTSI) as its CEO in February 2002. His professional background is in trading standards and local government with broad experience in local authorities and in UK, EU and international regulation of trading standards and associated consumer protection issues. He has also previously held the position of  Chair of the Independent Compliance Assessment Panel (ICAP), and has been a Vice President of CTSI since 2013.

Seftton Samuels

Director & Secretary

Seftton is a practising solicitor, with over 20 years’ experience of commercial and consumer issues across the automotive sector. He has served on the board since 2008, previously responsible for the consumer affairs team that administered the earlier Office of Fair Trading codes that evolved from the Motor Industry Code of Practice, into today’s Ombudsman service. Seftton has also served as Director and Secretary on the main board of the parent company SMMT Ltd, since 2000, and is currently SMMT’s Operations Director.

Bill Fennell

Managing Director, Chief Ombudsman

Bill has worked in the motor industry for almost three decades, and has held senior roles at JLR, BMW and Rover, amongst other vehicle manufacturers. Bill has a first class reputation of enhancing consumer satisfaction, and his current position is the Managing Director and Chief Ombudsman of The Motor Ombudsman

Mike Hawes

Board member

Mike became Chief Executive of the Society of Motor Manufacturers and Traders (SMMT) in September 2013. He has more than 20 years of experience in policy and public affairs, the majority of which has been spent in the motor industry. He joined the SMMT from Bentley Motors where he held a number of PR, corporate and public affairs roles.

Prior to that, he also worked for both Toyota and Bentley’s parent company, Volkswagen AG, where he developed the European and global knowledge needed for this challenging role.

Frances Harrison

Non-Executive Director

Frances is a member of the Legal Services consumer panel, a former member of the Financial Services Authority consumer panel, vice chair of the Brighton and Hove Citizens Advice Bureau and a policy adviser to the training organisation, Developing Youth Practice. She is a member of the Finance and Leasing Association’s Lending Code Group. Frances has worked for the National Consumer Council as Head of Policy Research and Development, the National Association of Citizens Advice Bureaux as a specialist support officer and local authorities where she has managed consumer advice services. She chaired Consumer Congress and the Institute of Consumer Affairs and has represented consumers on government working groups.

Simon Smith

Non-Executive Director

Simon has worked in various Commercial and Senior Management roles in a range of industries for the past 32 years. His career started as a marine broker in Lloyds of London, and he went on to hold a number of roles in the Insurance and Risk Management sector, where he was latterly a Director of Aon Risk Services. He was co-founder of a successful software business in the Aerospace sector which was recently acquired by an international Avionics supplier. Simon has also served as Committee Member on Corporate Governance boards and Operational Review boards. Simon currently holds several Non-Executive Director and Business Advisor roles across a number of industries and is also Trustee and Chair of Trustees to a number of charities.


You can read more about our Management Team here.