Conference Chair

For over a decade Steph McGovern has reported on business and finance from around the world; from international summits to small business success stories. She is an established part of the BBC Breakfast team, covering business developments daily, and also regularly taking to the sofa as main co-host.

During the financial crash Steph was the lead producer of financial news, working with then Business Editor Robert Peston at the forefront of the award-winning coverage of the credit crunch and banking crisis. She soon began broadcasting herself, and Steph has presented on 5Live, Radio 4 and on the Chris Evans show on Radio 2.

Steph's Breakfast duties include meeting first-hand those on Britain’s business frontline. Speaking to factory workers and FTSE 100 CEOs, Steph’s mission is to uncover and explain what’s going on in the real economy.

Taking business away from news coverage Steph launched her own children's TV show looking for the next generation of entrepreneurs, Pocket Money Pitch on CBBC. She is also the co-host of a new BBC One prime time show Shop Well For Less.

Off-screen Steph is also involved in BBC community projects such as BBC Outreach and BBC School Report. She is also a mentor for young people in her native Teesside and regularly runs workshops for schoolchildren around the North East. A former champion Irish dancer, Steph still keeps her foot in, often attending international competitions, where she helps to coach dancers.

Just Eat -Director of Restaurant Services
As Director of Restaurant Services for Just Eat, Robin is responsible for driving deeper engagement with the 27,500 restaurant partners of the UK’s leading online food delivery marketplace. Robin was hired in 2016 to create a new department tasked with providing exclusive access to our restaurant partners to leading international brands who are offering their products and services at scale.

He has worked for over 13 years in the commercial divisions of Marks & Spencer and Tesco where he led teams in buying, merchandising and trading across all channels in non-food categories of up to £0.5bn and most recently led the transformation of the Tesco Home business. He has developed and bought own brand and branded product ranges sourced from around the world.

Robin is a very proud father of three, husband (of one) and keen (but fairly rubbish) triathlete.

Excellence, Achievement and Learning Ltd - Product Specialist – Special Projects
After competing an engineering apprenticeship with the MOD Allan worked in a range of roles in fabrication and welding engineering in and around the East Midlands before taking up a further education lecturing role in Nottingham.

After moving to a college in Suffolk as Head of School of Mechanical Engineering Allan managed the mechanical engineering and work based learning curriculum which involved working with local employers to ensure apprenticeships and the curriculum offering aligned to their needs. Allan left further education in 2003 to take up a role with Excellence, Achievement and Learning Ltd (EAL) to develop new qualifications in partnership with employers and the further education sectors

Most recently Allan led on EAL’s move into the rail engineering sector and currently works within the Commercial department of EAL on special projects supporting employer needs in support of levy and Apprenticeships.

For the past 25 years Gary Meehan has helped ‘best in class’ food equipment manufacturers, distributors and chains make better use of digital systems, applications and technology to streamline operations and enhance the customer and channel experience with their brand. As a strong advocate for the benefits associated with ‘smart connected kitchens' he spent the last four years leading the development of a common information, asset and lifecycle management ecosystem for the food service industry.

As both a speaker and a consultant Gary actively promotes greater collaboration within the industry surrounding connected equipment, highlighting the benefits that an ‘open standard’ offers to all segments—including manufacturers.

Broadcaster & Political Commentator
Michael began his career in the Conservative Party research department, developing policies for reducing the role of the state. He then became an advisor to the Secretary of State for Energy, working on privatisation schemes in oil, gas, electricity and coal.

Winning a parliamentary seat in the 1984 General Election, Michael was soon appointed a Government Whip and then Under-Secretary at the Department of Health & Social Security. In turn he was promoted to Minister of State for Transport then Local Government, where he oversaw the abolition of the poll tax. He entered Cabinet as Chief Secretary to the Treasury, controlling public spending and managing departmental allocations. He became Employment Secretary two years later  and finally took over at Defence. In total he served for thirty years in national politics with over a decade as a minister in the Thatcher and Major governments.

The former MP and cabinet minister Michael Portillo is now firmly established as a popular broadcaster and political commentator. Alongside television series on Spain, rail travel around Britain and Europe, and the natural world, he shares the sofa for a sardonic look at politics on This Week and weighs up ethical dilemmas on Radio 4’s The Moral Maze.

Often considered the greatest leader the Conservative Party never had Michael talks about the problem with politicians and the humbling effect of his famed rejection by the voters of Enfield and Southgate.

MCA - Director of Insight
Steve has worked in catering and hospitality business, consumer and market research for over 12 years, with specialist interest in consumer insight, competitor benchmarking and key performance indicators. He carries out Commercial Due Diligence assignments for clients, and leads all bespoke research projects and market entry studies. Steve’s team produce the MCA annual market reports, consumer eating out behaviour analysis and menu tracking. Prior to joining MCA, Steve worked for several years in retail analysis, for Verdict Research, where he was Head of Analysis & Publications across the retail spectrum. He started his career with Sainsbury’s, where his roles included Store Location Research and Competitor Intelligence.

WIRED Magazine - Product Editor

As Product Editor at the technology and innovation magazine WIRED, Jeremy is responsible for the magazine’s coverage of all manner of physical products, from smarthome hubs to cars, footwear to phones, drones to interior design.

As well as writing and editing WIRED’s coverage, Jeremy also consults directly with a wide range of businesses delivering an outside perspective on the latest developments and how products might better be designed. He looks at the very latest in intelligent industrial design and product innovation and by considering how companies create new products, where they get it wrong and right, how technology is applied well and poorly, he helps companies and individuals to understand innovative thinking, how they can adopt it, and how their lives and businesses might change.

Jeremy also examines the effect new products will have on businesses. From the embedding of AI in almost every product possible to the future of voice control, quantum computing and the interconnection of everything, he looks at the unexpected ways new innovations are changing established markets and industries by incorporating good design, focusing on the user experience, and only using technology when it adds something.

Passionate about the power of design, Jeremy looks at the very latest breakthroughs in design and user interfaces. He considers what these shifts mean and what an organisation can learn about future threats and opportunities as well as how to improve their own offerings.