MEET OUR TEAM

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.

Kevin Schofield

Director of Communications and Digital

Kevin Schofield was a political journalist for 20 years in Scotland and England, working for a range of titles including The Herald, Daily Record, The Sun and PoliticsHome. In that time he covered a number of general elections as well as the Scottish independence and Brexit referendums.

He joined the Betting and Gaming Council in May, 2020.

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.

Michael Denoual

Deputy Director of Communications and Digital

Michael has worked for a number of Members of Parliament over the last decade including advising Sir Kevin Barron whilst he chaired the House of Commons Standards Committee. Most recently he was the Senior Policy Advisor for the Authors' Licensing and Collecting Society.

He joined the Betting and Gaming Council in March 2020.

Peter Craske

Corporate Communications Manager

Peter has extensive experience in communications and politics. He has worked for elected representatives and political parties in the UK, Europe and America. Peter also worked in the charity sector where he led a European-wide animal welfare campaign that changed EU law.

He manages communications and liaising with our members, and joined the BGC when it launched in 2019.

Camilla Toogood

Government Relations Manager

Camilla joined the Betting and Gaming Council in May 2020 as part of the public affairs team.

Previously, she worked for a global public affairs consultancy supporting clients in several sectors, covering a range of issues.

Camilla spent three and a half years in Parliament running the DUP Whips’ Office and before that, working for a Conservative MP.

Nicole Garrett

Regulatory Affairs Manager

Nicole is Regulatory Affairs Manager at the Betting and Gaming Council (BGC). Nicole leads on a range of projects relating to the industry’s Safer Gambling Commitments, including data sharing initiatives and online product design. Prior to joining the BGC, Nicole worked at UK Parliament for five years as a Senior Parliamentary Assistant. She joined the BGC in April 2020.

Stella Dalton

Policy & Regulatory Affairs Manager

Stella has extensive experience in the gambling sector, her earlier career spans more than two decades, predominantly as Casino Manager at leading high end London casinos and in Resourcing & Development, specialising in training, compliance and licensing.

Stella joined the BGC in 2019 following transition in her role as Regulatory Affairs Manager at The Remote Gambling Association.

Prior to this, Stella spent 9 years at GamCare as Head of Education & Prevention leading on the charity’s collaborative work to promote social responsibility and player protection standards in the UK and International.

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