The members of the Guide Dogs Executive Board bring great individual expertise and experience to their roles. Together, they ensure that Guide Dogs delivers the best possible service to blind and partially sighted people across the UK.
Tom Wright CBE, Chief Executive
Before becoming Chief Executive, Tom led the merger of Help the Aged and Age Concern England in 2009 to create Age UK. He was their Chief Executive for over eight years and was also chair of the Richmond Group of 14 leading health charities.
Tom has extensive experience in the health and social care sector and is on the Board of NICE. He is also a trustee of the Leeds Castle Foundation and the charity Doteveryone, fighting for a fairer internet. Tom also led the creation of VisitBritain from the merger of the British Tourist Authority and the English Tourism Council and was their Chief Executive.
His professional background is in marketing and consumer services as Managing Director of Saga and as Director of Center Parcs. His personal interests include history and running marathons.
Deirdre Evans, Chief Financial Officer
Emma Foulds, Director of Marketing, Digital and Influencing
Before joining Guide Dogs, Emma was a director at Brand Learning, Accenture, providing strategic consultancy to companies including M&S, AstraZeneca, Beiersdorf and Barratt Homes. Emma has been a trustee of Crisis for seven years, helping them with marketing, brand and communications.
Prior to this, she was at Procter and Gamble and managed a number of their beauty brands including Max Factor, Olay and Oral B. In her spare time, Emma is Mum to three children and attempts to go to the gym.
Mike Hold, Director of People and Business Services
Mike joined Guide Dogs in 2011 after a long career in the Pharmaceutical Industry. Although initially qualified as a Chemist, Mike has spent most of his career working in people centred roles in Human Resources and Organisation Development arena. Mike leads the People and Performance directorate which has responsibility for HR, Learning and Organisation Development, Volunteering, Health & Safety and Legal & Compliance.
Esther Jackson, (interim) Director of Marketing, Digital and Influencing
Maria Novell, Director of Fundraising
Maria joined Guide Dogs in 2008, working in a variety of fundraising roles prior to becoming Director in January 2018.
Before coming to Guide Dogs, Maria worked in marketing roles in commercial organisations, before moving to the third sector with positions at the RNLI and the British Liver Trust.
Maria is a member of the Institute of Fundraising and for the last year has Chaired a coalition of 35 Charities.
Wendy Rankin, Director of Mobility Services
After graduating from Edinburgh University in 1985 with a B.Sc. degree in Agriculture, Wendy started her career in Guide Dogs by joining the Dog Care and Welfare team in Forfar. Over her 33 years within Guide Dogs Wendy has pursued her passion in service provision first as a practitioner (Guide Dog Mobility Instructor) and then into management, leading client service teams.
In 2013 Wendy moved into a new area of service provision from the guide dog service to becoming the Service Director for Children’s services. Providing leadership and direction to this new sister charity, Blind Children UK, to its integration into Guide Dogs in 2016 where we currently support around 1600 children and young people.
In 2016, Wendy took on the interim role of Acting Director of Mobility Services to drive forward and deliver the 2017 organisation’s plan including a step change in how we train our dogs.
David Warren, Director of Transformation and Strategy