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Brigid Simmonds OBE

Chairman

Brigid Simmonds has been the Chair of the Betting and Gaming Council since it was established in 2019. She was previously Chief Executive of the British Beer & Pub Association for ten years and before that Chief Executive of the umbrella organisation Business in Sport and Leisure (BISL).

She is a Vice-President of the Sport and Recreation Alliance and is also a board member of the Tourism Alliance. She was for five years a member of the Government’s Future High Streets Forum, a Board member at Sport England and a Director of Leicester City Football Club. In June 2006 she was awarded an OBE for Services to Sport.

Michael Dugher

Chief Executive

Michael was appointed as the BGC’s first Chief Executive in December 2019. He was previously CEO of UK Music and a member of the Government’s Creative Industries Council.

Michael was MP for Barnsley East for seven years from 2010, during which he served in the Shadow Cabinet including as the Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. Before that, Michael spent most of the previous decade working in Whitehall in a variety of senior roles as a Special Advisor, including at No. 10 Downing Street as Chief Political Spokesman to the Prime Minister.

Born and brought up in Doncaster in South Yorkshire, Michael has had a lifelong love of sport, in particular football, cricket and horse racing. In 2020 he was named by the Racing Post as one of the ‘top ten most influential people’ in racing.

Gary Follis

Executive Director, Corporate Affairs

As the Executive Director for Corporate Affairs, Gary leads on communications, government relations and membership.

Gary joined the Betting and Gaming Council from the Association of British Bookmakers, and has previously held senior positions in corporate affairs for the Nationwide Building Society and Santander.

He has also worked as a Special Advisor and Chief of Staff for the Shadow Chancellor of the Exchequer.

Wes Himes

Executive Director, Standards and Innovation

Wes was recently the CEO of the Remote Gambling Association (RGA). Prior to that he was a Managing Partner with Instinctif Partners and before that founder and CEO of the Policy Action.

Wes started the interactive Gaming, Gambling and Betting Association (iGGBA) in 2000 which later became part of the Remote Gambling Association.

Joff Cooke

Chief Operating Officer

As COO, Joff oversees operations, corporate governance support and membership.

Formerly a leader of of multi-million-pound educational organisations, Joff joined the executive team from the University of Exeter Students' Guild, where he formerly served as CEO.

Joff has led fundraising programmes and the management of trustees, having also worked as the CEO of Falmouth and Exeter Students' Union and Plymouth University Students' Union.

David Willetts

Director of Communications and Digital

David joined the BGC in January 2022 with an outstanding career across both government and journalism, having previously worked in journalism for The Sun for over a decade before joining the Ministry of Defence.

Michael Denoual

Deputy Director of Communications and Digital

Michael joined the Betting and Gaming Council in March 2020.

Previously, he worked as a senior communications and policy advisor for an author’s rights group supporting their advocacy work.

Michael also spent over five years in Parliament working for a number of Labour MPs.

Alex Reeves

Head of Public Affairs

Alex joined the Betting and Gaming Council in July 2021.

He previously worked for nearly four years at a global strategic communications firm where he provided public affairs counsel to a number of clients, from FTSE100 companies to SMEs, across multiple sectors.

Alex also spent three years at the Industry and Parliament Trust, managing the Fellowship Programme. He began his career at Conservative Campaign HQ working on a General Election Campaign.

Luella Laville

Deputy Policy Manager

Luella is Deputy Policy Manager at the Betting and Gaming Council. She assists with the Policy and Regulatory Affairs work at the BGC, including leading on Safer Gambling Week.

Luella joined the BGC in July 2021 as a Policy Officer after graduating from the University of Bristol with a degree in English Literature and Philosophy.

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