The Board is responsible for successfully leading the Group in delivering long-term sustainable value to shareholders and making a positive contribution to wider society. The Board establishes the Company’s purpose, values and strategic objectives and ensures that sufficient financial and human resources are in place for the Group to meet its objectives.


The board

Stephen Harrison

Chief Executive Officer

About Stephen:
Stephen successfully steered the business through a divestment process from former owner HeidelbergCement into private equity ownership in 2015 and led the IPO onto the London Stock Exchange as a listed company in 2016. Before his current role, Stephen held a variety of senior management roles within the construction products industry for more than a decade supplying the infrastructure, commercial and residential construction markets.

Stephen was appointed as Managing Director of Hanson Building Products, the predecessor to Forterra in 2012, having joined Hanson plc in 2002. Stephen studied Economics at Kingston University in London and holds an MBA from Cranfield School of Management. He has served as a Non-Executive Director of several key construction sector trade associations.

Committee Memberships:
Risk Committee

Ben Guyatt

Chief Financial Officer

Job role/responsibilities:
Prior to his appointment as CFO, Ben held the role of Director of Finance and Company  Secretary, playing a key role in the separation of the business from HeidelbergCement and the subsequent listing on the London Stock Exchange drawing upon his previous experience working for the business and financial acumen which are also used to help keep the Board updated and to enable them to make informed decisions. Ben joined Hanson plc in 2006 and held a variety of senior finance and strategy roles within Hanson and HeidelbergCement. Previously Ben held financial management roles at insurance broker, Heath Lambert. Ben is a Chartered Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree with honours in Accounting and Finance from the University of the West of England.

Committee Memberships:
Risk Committee

Katherine Innes Ker

Senior Independent Non-Executive Director

Job role/responsibilities:
Katherine has gained extensive executive and non-executive experience across a range of sectors in a career spanning over 30 years. Katherine began her business career as a city financial analyst and has since held many non-executive directorships with a particular wealth of experience in the housebuilding sector. Katherine was a Non-Executive Director of Taylor Woodrow / Taylor Wimpey for 10 years and subsequently of St Modwen Properties. She is currently a Non-Executive Director of Vistry plc.

This experience allows Katherine to provide valuable insight into our sector and our markets from a customer perspective. Katherine has over 20 years experience as a Chair of Remuneration Committee, and as a Senior Independent Director. Katherine is a Graduate of Oxford University, holding a Masters degree in Chemistry and a Doctorate in Molecular Biophysics.

Committee Memberships:
Audit Committee, *Remuneration Committee, Risk Committee, Nomination Committee
*Denotes Committee Chairman

Vince Niblett

Independent Non-Executive Director

Job role/responsibilities:
Vince was previously a Partner at Deloitte where he held a number of senior roles including membership of the UK Board of Directors and Global Managing Director, Audit & Enterprise Risk Services before retiring in 2015. During his career at Deloitte, he served some of the firm’s most significant public company clients, working with them on commercial and strategic issues as well as providing audit services.

Vince uses his significant financial experience to both guide and challenge the Board on important decisions as well as offering advice on governance and compliance matters. Vince is a Chartered Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics from Reading University.

Committee Memberships:
*Audit Committee, Remuneration Committee, Nomination Committee
*Denotes Committee Chairman

Martin Sutherland

Independent Non-Executive Director

Job role/responsibilities:
Martin has over 20 years of international experience at senior management or director level in technology and manufacturing businesses focused on the government and commercial sectors. Martin is currently the Chief Executive officer of Reliance acsn who are specialists in IT security management. He held the position of Chief Executive Officer at De La Rue plc from 2014 to 2019. Previously he held various roles at Detica plc, becoming Managing Director in 2008 on its acquisition by BAE Systems plc, Andersen Consulting and British Telecom.

Martin brings his experience as a CEO in both public and private companies to Board discussions on operational and strategic matters, as well as providing practical advice based on his expertise in the application of technology. As the Non-Executive Director responsible for employee engagement he attends and feeds back from the Employee Forum. Martin holds a Masters degree in Physics from Oxford University, and a Masters degree in Remote Sensing from University College and Imperial College London.

Committee Memberships:
Audit Committee, Remuneration Committee, Risk Committee, Nomination Committee

Justin Atkinson

Non-Executive Chairman

Job role/responsibilities:
Justin has a proven track record of driving performance with over 25 years of experience at senior management or director level of businesses, across a range of disciplines including engineering and construction. Justin provides the Board with strong leadership skills having spent 11 years as Chief Executive Officer of Keller Group plc the international ground engineering contractor, having previously served as Chief Financial Officer and Chief Operating Officer.

Over the past 5 years Justin has also gained a wealth of Non-Executive Director experience. Justin trained as a Chartered Accountant at Deloitte Haskins & Sells (Scotland) (now part of PwC). Justin is a Chartered Accountant, holds a Bachelor’s degree in Accountancy from Glasgow University and the advanced management programme qualification from INSEAD.

Committee Memberships:
Remuneration Committee, Risk Committee,
*Nomination Committee
*Denotes Committee Chairman

Divya Seshamani

Independent Non-Executive Director

Job role/responsibilities:
Over a career spanning 21 years, Divya has experience at senior management or director level across a diverse range of businesses including those in infrastructure, energy, sustainability and manufacturing and is currently Managing Partner of Greensphere Capital LLP, a global sustainable investment private equity firm. Divya has a particular strength and interest in the environment and sustainability – in 2019, she was appointed by the Secretary of State to Her Majesty’s Government Council of Sustainable Business where she leads the Net-Zero Carbon initiative and is advising the Board on this increasingly important topic. Previously, Divya was an Independent Non-Executive Director at Marine Current Turbines Limited, a Council Member of the Royal Institute of International Affairs (Chatham House) and was a Partner at the global private equity house, TPG. Divya has also held investment roles at Singapore’s sovereign wealth fund (GIC), Unilever Ventures and the Parthenon Group. Divya holds a Bachelor of Arts degree and Masters of Arts degree in Politics, Philosophy and Economics from Oxford University and a Master of Business Administration degree from Harvard University.

Committee Memberships:
Audit Committee, Remuneration Committee, *Risk Committee, Nomination Committee
*Denotes Committee Chairman

Ashley Thompson

Company Secretary

Job role/responsibilities:
Ashley qualified as a solicitor in the corporate team of Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer and then moved in-house before joining Forterra as the Company Solicitor in 2015. Before becoming a solicitor, Ashley has previously worked in the petrochemical industry as an engineer and within manufacturing at Triumph Motorcycles and then as a Detective Constable. Ashley holds a Bachelor of Engineering degree and a Masters in Law.


Downloadable versions of our board and committee terms of reference as well as our Tax Strategy are available below:

The executive committee

Our Executive Committee supports our Board, and possess a diverse range of skills and experience, ensuring we are ideally equipped to meet our long-term goals.

Adam Smith

Commercial Director

Adam joined the Group in March 2016 as Commercial Director. Prior to that, Adam was National Sales Director at Jewson, Sales and Marketing Director at Tata Steel and held the role of Managing Director, as well as various other senior management positions, at Corus Colorsteels. Adam holds a Master of Business Administration degree from Warwick Business School and a Bachelor of Science with honours degree in Physics from Manchester University.

George Stewart

Operations Director

George joined Forterra in 2013 as Operations Director. Prior to that, George was UK Industrial Director for Monier Redland UK Limited, and held a number of senior operations roles, including with Nestle UK, Smith and Nephew Medical and Motorola UK. George holds a Bachelor of Science with honours degree in Chemical and Process Engineering from the Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh.

Darren Rix

Managing Director – Bison Flooring

Darren joined Hanson plc in 2007 and held a number of senior finance roles, including Financial Controller for the Building Products and Cement divisions. From July 2015 Darren held the role of Group Controller at Forterra and was appointed Strategy and Development Director in July 2017. Darren is a Chartered Management Accountant and holds a Bachelor of Arts Degree with honours in Economics from the University of Leicester.

Shahbaz Idris

HR Director

Shahbaz joined the Group in August 2020 as HR Director. Prior to that, Shahbaz was Global SVP Human Resources at GKN Driveline, where she was responsible for operational and functional HR across the division. Shahbaz has over 25 years HR experience, gained primarily in the automotive / manufacturing / engineering industry. Before joining GKN, she also held senior roles at Federal Mogul Corporation. Shahbaz holds a BA (Hons) from the University of Wolverhampton, a Masters degree from Coventry University and is a qualified member of the Chartered Institute of Personnel & Development.

Matthew Day

IT Director

Matthew joined Hanson plc in 2005 as IT manager for Hanson Building Products, the predecessor to Forterra. Matthew then held a number of IT leadership roles within HeidelbergCement and was appointed Forterra’s IT Director on the separation from HeidlebergCement in 2015. Matt has 20 years of experience in senior IT roles with responsibility for overseeing major transformation and change programmes in sectors including manufacturing, construction and retail.

Peter Varnsverry

Strategy Director

Peter joined Forterra in early 2019 but has had previous involvement with the business in interim and consulting roles. Prior to joining Forterra Peter has held senior interim and permanent positions in a number of businesses with manufacturing at their core including Airbus, Federal-Mogul and more recently Triumph Aerospace. Peter has had prior experience in the pre-cast and offsite manufacturing industry as Head of Manufacturing with Laing O’Rourke and holds Masters degrees from Coventry and Huddersfield Universities.