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Meet The Team

Board of Directors

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Andrew Walton, Executive Chair

Born and raised in Newcastle, Andrew founded Connect in 1989 with the aim of providing the highest level of care to people with musculoskeletal problems. He qualified as a physiotherapist from Northumbria University in 1985 and worked at Edinburgh’s main teaching hospital, The Royal Infirmary, for three years. He then returned to Newcastle to take up a post in Sports Medicine.

Andrew combines his clinical expertise and commercial experience to develop innovative new ways to meet patient needs and commissioners’ budgets. A passionate believer in the value of effective physiotherapy practice, he is an active member of The Chartered Society of Physiotherapy (CSP) and a regular contributor to the development of improvements in professional practice.

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Jon Lowe, Managing Director

Jon joined Connect in September 2014 and was appointed MD in July 2015, and is now focused on leading the business through the next period of growth and development. He has held a number of Executive and Non-Executive board positions in the healthcare sector, each with a consistent theme of enabling integrated health and care services. Prior to this he was Managing Director at Tunstall Healthcare for 9 years having led the business through consistent and significant periods of strong growth.

Jon has a thorough understanding of healthcare reconfiguration, to support the introduction of innovative services and technologies that will reduce the cost of healthcare delivery whilst improving outcomes and efficiencies.

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Dr Graeme Wilkes, Medical Director

Dr Wilkes joined Connect in 2007 from General Practice and Sports Medicine, initially working as GP with Special Interest and Clinical Lead for Connect. Graeme gained entry to the specialist register for Sport & Exercise Medicine in 2011 and now is Connect’s Medical Director and works clinically as a Consultant in Sport & Exercise Medicine (SEM).

Graeme’s experience both as a GP in inner city Newcastle and as a GP lead for cardiovascular services in the Primary Care Group era, has placed him in a position to understand how the community provision of NHS healthcare works. This knowledge and exposure to commissioning from the provider side with Connect, has provided a full insight into the challenges facing the NHS from both perspectives.

Mike Turner, Operations Director

Mike joined Connect as Operations Director in July 2016. Originally qualifying as a Chartered Accountant, he moved into management consultancy and during 12 years with Deloitte and KPMG, he worked with a broad range of organisations to improve their operational effectiveness.

Latterly Mike spent 3 years working in the NHS managing an improvement function working across organisational boundaries to design and implement changes that would deliver significant savings and improve effectiveness and patient experience. He is also Trustee of Healthworks North East, a social enterprise working to reduce health inequalities.

Mike’s focus is to ensure that Connect’s operational delivery is efficient and effective, maximising patient outcomes and ensuring value for money for our customers.

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Lisa Davidson, HR Director

Lisa joined Connect in January 2016 as Human Resource Director. As a Chartered Fellow of the CIPD and Change Management Practitioner, she brings with her a wealth of experience in organisational change and colleague engagement, which will ensure that we continue to have a motivated team, with the right skills and behaviours to take us forward.

Lisa has held a number of senior HR positions in the UK, Middle East and India, across a variety of industries including social housing and care. With a clearly defined HR strategy, Lisa is committed to making Connect a great place to work. Colleague engagement is high on our agenda, as with motivated colleagues, we can ensure clinical effectiveness, operational efficiency and successful patient outcomes.

Lee Ali, Finance Director

Lee joined Connect as Finance Director in July 2017. Prior to joining the company, Lee was European Finance Director for Vertellus; a PE backed global manufacturer of specialty chemicals. During his 10 years at Vertellus, Lee was the global finance leader for the Fine Chemicals business (>$250m revenue) and regional leader for all aspects of finance, M&A activity, IT and supply chain.

Lee has also worked in a range of finance positions in EMEA within the manufacturing, service and FMCG sectors; from global listed companies though to owner managed businesses. Lee is a Chartered Management Accountant, having qualified and trained with P&G, and Venator Materials PLC post-graduation.

Lee brings extensive financial leadership and experience in growth strategy, combined with driving productivity and leadership of business support functions.

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Mike Parsons, Non-Executive Director

Mike is the Founder of Barchester Healthcare, Chair Barchester Foundation, Non-Exec Director of McCarthy and Stone and Connect; Chairman of That Device and Albion Care Communities Fund.

As Founder of Barchester Healthcare, the residential care sector’s only premium brand of true scale, Mike Parsons continues to play a hugely influential role in the UK health sector.

Mike formed Barchester Healthcare in 1992 after a career in advertising, transforming it from a single Care Home operator to a billion pound organisation with 200 homes throughout the UK. He retired as CEO in the summer of 2013 and took up various non-executive roles.




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Lucy Armstrong, Non-Executive Director

Lucy is Chair of the Enterprise Research Centre, a multi university body focused on the understanding of growth in family and private business in the UK. She was also visiting professor of Innovation and Enterprise at Newcastle University. Her day job is as Chief Executive of The Alchemists, which works with high growth mid-corporate businesses to accelerate their development and success.

She was a member of the government’s Business Bank Advisory Board and chaired Capital for Enterprise, its forerunner, responsible for over £4bn of government backed debt and equity for small and medium sized businesses.

She is the first Chair of the Independent Professional Standards Council for the Asset Based Finance industry and deputy chair of NCFE, the national qualifications organisation. She chaired the CBI’s national Small and Medium Business Forum from 2010 to 2013 and Northumbria University until 2012.

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